Daily Bytes | Mixed Media

CUAC Evicted & Other Mixed Media

The Central Utah Art Center in Ephraim, Utah

The big local art news last week (while we were on vacation) was the announcement that the Central Utah Art Center is being evicted from its Ephraim home in August. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune and the City Weekly, for the past six years the CUAC has occupied the historic ZCMI Granary on Ehpraim’s main street rent-free; in addition they have received $30,000 in annual support. In exchange the CUAC was to provide local art education programming. The city says it can no longer provide financial support, and feels the Center hasn’t kept up their end of the bargain, dating to conversations last year, to bolster their educational programming. CUAC director Adam Bateman says the decision was taken because city leaders disagreed with the type of artwork being shown. (Read more at the Salt Lake Tribune and The City Weekly).

A review of the current work can be found in our July 2012 edition of 15 Bytes. You can view the work yourself in Ephraim now through August 18th, when the CUAC will throw a “Farewell Ephraim” event, featuring a screening of “Footloose.”

7/2 Trent Alvey: “Synchronicity”Showing human impact on environment

7/12 Glass artists, Guadalupe students team up to create artwork.

7/12 Springville Museum of Art hosts 39th Annual Quilt Show

7/12 Bountiful/Davis Art center mounts ‘Conversations in Culture’

7/16 Out & About: Small-town Oakley’s art show worth the stop

7/16 The Ogden Eccles Community Art Center has selected winners for its 38th Annual Statewide Competition.

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  1. An arts organization like the Central Utah Arts Center would do better to have two managers: an artistic director with Adam Bateman’s ambition and scope AND an administrator to rein him in, practice diplomacy, and generally take care of business. As the Art History prof at Snow College and then later as a contributor to 15 Bytes, I was in the best position to witness the growth and self-destruction of the CUAC. It nearly ended under Bateman’s first tenure as director, when it became clear that no one can talk to him: one can only listen. Jared Latimer brought sound policy and sensitivity to the community to the CUAC. His departure could have led in two directions: replace him, or bring back a regime characterized by, as one of Utah’s best-known and most popular artists said to me the other day, ‘insensitivity bordering on contempt for the public.’

    It pains me to read the CUAC’s website, where you can learn how the CUAC saved the CZMI Granary from demolition, then built it into something that the ungrateful City of Ephraim now wants to destroy. No one currently connected to the CUAC had anything to do with saving the building, remodeling it, or turning it into a public art space. The ‘enemies’ CUAC points to have footed the bill into six figures over twenty years. They have tolerated a lot of leeway in the Center’s interpretation of its mission, and a fair amount of personal abuse from some of its personnel. I’m sure they think they are acting to protect their investment, the thousands of hours of volunteer work by their constituents, and arguably even the goals of the present administration, which refused to see that they need to compromise or seek a new base of support.

    Any thoughtful person will see that freedom of speech has nothing to do with the CUAC’s eviction: it’s a smokescreen to cover the blatant highjacking of a community resource for a minority’s goals. This story, like all news, is far richer and more complex than a reporter can come to understand in a couple of quick interviews. For a little deeper look, check out my version at http://postgeoff.com/?m=201207. We’re being told we haven’t heard the end of the Central Utah Art Center yet: would it were so. The current directorship has shown no propensity to build anything. Instead they were content to spend down capital someone else earned. All I expect to see rise from their ashes are a few valuable lessons. Maybe it’s not to soon to start learning them.

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