About the UMFA

Installation of French Tapestry, UMFA1951.101

The UMFA’s mission is to inspire critical dialogue and illuminate the role of art in our lives.

Utah’s Fine Arts Destination

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah is your destination for global visual arts. From ancient objects to the latest contemporary works, the UMFA galleries showcase the breadth and depth of human history and creativity. The Museum’s collection of nearly 20,000 original works of art is the most dynamic in the region. As the fine arts museum for both the state and the University, the UMFA is a vibrant hub for cultural exchange among campus and community audiences.

What’s in it for you? A wake-up call for your senses, a conversation starter, a fresh take on the world—through ongoing exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions from around the world, talks and panel discussions by renowned artists and thinkers, gallery tours, art making and other creative activities for families and adults, films and lectures, resources for U of U students and faculty, and award-winning outreach to K–12 teachers and schools around the state.

The UMFA: What Will You Discover?

Explore fresh perspectives on European, Pacific, Mesoamerican, Ancient Mediterranean, and American and regional art, new dedicated galleries for JapaneseAfrican, and Chinese objects, and the latest modern and contemporary art.

The UMFA is about more than objects—it’s about helping you connect in meaningful ways to great art and ideas, to the fascinating history of human culture and creativity, at your own pace. Interactive stations and wall texts share up-to-date research and inspire your own interpretations. When you need to recharge (yourself or your devices), take a break in the Trailhead, Lookout, and Basecamp conversation areas, where you can discover even more about the art around you. 

No matter how young you are, what you know, or where you’re from, works of art are one-of-a-kind human creations that tell unique stories, evoke memories, inspire conversations, and open possibilities. Come see for yourself. Plan your visit today.

Key Facts

  • The UMFA is the only institution in the region that collects, exhibits, interprets, and cares for an extensive collection of original artworks representing a diverse range of global cultures from the ancient to the contemporary.
  • The UMFA is located in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building on the University of Utah campus between Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
  • The Museum traces its start to 1914, when a small art gallery opened in the University’s Park Building on Presidents Circle. The gallery was renovated in the late 1940s to accommodate a substantial gift of art from Winifred Kimball Hudnut, daughter of a prominent Utah pioneer family. The new gallery was incorporated as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and reopened in 1951.
  • Frank Sanguinetti, hired in 1967, was the Museum’s first professional director and led a period of dramatic expansion of both the collection and facilities. In 1970 the UMFA moved into the University’s new Arts and Architecture Center, and in 2001 into the 74,000-square-foot Marcia and John Price Museum Building, the UMFA’s current home.
  • The Price Building was designed by Machado and Silvetti of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Prescott Muir Architects of Salt Lake City. It won the 2000 Honor Award for Urban Design from the Boston Society of Architects and the 2000 Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture from the New England chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
  • In 1972 the UMFA was the first university museum west of the Mississippi to be accredited by the American Association of Museums, now the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
  • David Dee, executive director from 2002 to 2009, led the now significantly expanded UMFA through a pivotal period that included the professionalization of staff and operations, key acquisitions of art across the Museum’s collections, and the presentation of some of the Museum’s most popular exhibitions, including Monet to Picasso from the Cleveland Museum of Art (2008).
  • The UMFA is one of three American Alliance of Museums (AAM)-accredited museums in Utah. (The others are the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art at Utah State University.)
  • In February 2005 the Utah State Legislature declared the UMFA the state’s fine arts museum, confirming the importance of the Museum's role as a center for art, culture, and education in the state.
  • Gretchen Dietrich has led UMFA as executive director since 2010. Under her leadership, the Museum has flourished, with increased attendance, audience engagement and community outreach, higher revenues and new institutional support, and an elevated national profile. From 2015–2018, Dietrich served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). In fall 2019 she was selected to join the inaugural board of directors for Art Bridges, a new foundation dedicated to expanding access to American art across the country.
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