Museum adds art finesse to Utah County

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    By HEATHER LARSE

    A prestigious art museum in Utah County is like a temple in Las Vegas — they both seem a little out of place.

    However, the Springville Art Museum holds its own as an institution that promotes Utah artists as well as displaying internationally-renown collections.

    The Springville Art Museum was founded in 1903 and is the oldest art museum in the state of Utah.

    The museum is now host to the Spring Salon — the most prestigious annual art exhibition in Utah. The exhibit will feature 224 works of art by 214 living artists. The works were selected from 819 entries.

    “It is not an easy show for artists to be accepted in,” said Vern Swanson, director of the museum. “(The art) runs the gamut of traditional to modern to visionary.”

    Swanson said the Spring Salon is named after the salon shows in Europe.

    The museum owns a large art collection as well as featured works on long-term loans.

    One unique collection consists of Soviet Socialist realist paintings.

    The Springville show reflects the depth and quality of Soviet realism and helps show the way to greatness for our young Utah artists, Swanson said.

    Despite its prestige, many people are not aware of the museum’s existence.

    “It’s been disappointing to find that 85 percent of BYU students have never heard of the museum,” said Sharon Gray, associate director and curator of education at the museum.

    Gray added that BYU art students are an exception to the rule in that they are very aware of the museum.

    Swanson said the museum’s purpose is to help Utah artists.

    “Even when we’re not doing Utah art, we’re doing it to encourage Utah art,” he said.

    Because the new museum has grown so much, a new wing will be constructed. The Centennial wing will give more room for art that has been in storage. It will also allow the museum to be handicap accessible as well as climate controlled, Gray said.

    A third of the cost has already been raised for the new wing. The museum is having an Art Ball to raise more money.

    BYU is also getting involved in the activities. On Wednesday, the museum will host a BYU Night free of charge.

    The museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Wednesday until 9 p.m. Sundays it is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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