A century ago, University of Utah administrators opened a small art gallery in the Park Building on Presidents Circle. That small collection has grown to become the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the official fine arts museum of both the university and the state of Utah. The UMFA collects, interprets, and preserves a collection of 19,000 objects, ranging from antiquities and European masterworks to art of the American West and international contemporary art.
To mark this milestone, UMFA is celebrating Art is 100--100 years of collecting at the U--with a series of parties and programs that highlight artworks, events, and people who have influenced the making of the museum. Events begin Wednesday, April 16 with an "Art Swap Party," and continue through spring, summer and fall 2014.
"Art is 100" 2014 Special Events at UMFA:
- Free SMAC Art Swap Party, Wednesday, April 16, 4-7 p.m.
The Students' Museum Advisory Council (SMAC) marks Art is 100 with an art swap party on the UMFA patio. Celebrate 100 years of collecting art on campus by swapping or making some art while enjoying refreshments and live music.
- Free Third Saturday for Families: Art is 100 Anniversary Finger Puppets, Saturday, May 17, 1-4 p.m.
The University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts have been collecting and exhibiting portraits for 100 years. During this free Third Saturday event, families will use portraits as inspiration for puppets.
- Art is 100 Gala, Thursday, May 29, 6 p.m.
The UMFA's Art is 100 Gala is this year's must-attend event for Utah art lovers. Enjoy gourmet food; pop-up performances University of Utah singers, dancers, musicians, and visual artists; and a special preview of Creation and Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine. For tickets, visit the UMFA website or call 801-585-0464.
- Free UMFA Family Day, Saturday, July 19, 1-4 p.m.
This free family day celebrates 100 years of art at the University of Utah. Get inspiration for your own art-making projects from UMFA's amazing collection of 5,000 years of human creativity, and enjoy fun performances.
- Art is 100 After-Hours Party, Friday, October 3
Celebrate Art is 100 and the premiere of American sculptor Tony Feher's new Great Hall installation with hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and dancing to live music. For tickets and more information visit the UMFA website or call 801-585-0464.
Image courtesy UMFA
Tax prep is the most unwelcome rite of spring, and I know from personal experience that tax filing mistakes can be an expensive hassle. Unless your return is extremely simple, it's a good idea to get expert advice before filing your taxes. Utah families earning $52,000 or less annually can get free tax preparation help before the filing deadline of April 15 through VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, at sites throughout the state.
VITA consultants will help families file online for free and will advise taxpayers whether they qualify for the EITC, Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be worth thousands of dollars. Families earning $58,000 or less can prepare their own taxes for free through VITA.
If your income is higher or you have a more complex tax situation, it pays to get advice from a qualified tax preparer. About.com's guide to tax planning, William Perez, has useful advice for how to find quality tax preparation assistance.
April is National Poetry Month, and the City Library is hosting a Teen Poetry Extravaganza this Saturday, April 5 from 2-4 p.m. Nathan Cummings, a National Student Poet, will lead a free interactive poetry workshop followed by a set of poetry reading with local poets Willy Paloma and Sara Caldiero. Nathan is one of five National Student Poets selected by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the Institute of Museum Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Young writers of all ages are encouraged to participate in the workshop, which encourages teens to embrace poetry as a vital and expressive art form.
Blue Man Group remains an original and groundbreaking entertainment event, even though the group has been performing around the world for almost 25 years. I first saw the Blue Man Group when it was an Off-Broadway phenomenon in the 1990s, but since that time the Blue Man experience has gone worldwide. The mind-blowing production is coming to Salt Lake City next week, April 1-6 at Kingsbury Hall.
The Blue Man Group's show is hard to describe, but it combines percussion, lighting effects, props, audience interaction, stunts and comedy for an enchanting, high-energy multidimensional experience. For their latest tour, the group has added new high-resolution screens and a giant LED curtain, combining new performance pieces with Blue Man Group classics.
Kingsbury Hall, on the campus of the University of Utah, is one of Salt Lake City's oldest and most popular arts venues and is included in the National Registry of Historic Places. The hall showcases touring productions and locally produced dance, music, film, comedy and theatre events.
Blue Man Group at Kingsbury Hall
April 1-6, 2014
1395 E. Presidents Circle · SLC, UT 84112
Image courtesy Blue Man Group
After months of delay, Salt Lake City's new Loveland Living Planet Aquarium opens today in Draper, with three times the space of their old location.
The new location features many of the same exhibits and animals as the former location, but with exciting new features and a lot more space for both animals and visitors. The aquarium's main exhibits include Discover Utah, Ocean Explorer, Journey to South America and Penguin Encounter. There is also an education area and a space for traveling exhibits.
The Discover Utah exhibit features freshwater aquatic species, amphibians and mammals indigenous to Utah. This includes the aquarium's three North American River Otters. The Ocean Explorer Gallery showcases marine species such as octopus, stingrays and seahorses. The highlight of this exhibit is the 300,000 gallon shark tank with a 40-foot walk-through tunnel.
Journey To South America is an exhibition of rainforest species such as Amazon river giants, free-flight tropical birds, Caiman, a giant Anaconda, Electric Eels and poison arrow frogs. The Penguin Encounter will feature up to 50 birds and may include several penguin species. The aquarium houses the only 4D theater experience in Utah, presenting nature films that include sensory effects such as wind, mist, scents, leg and back ticklers and seat movement.
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
12033 South Lone Peak Parkway Draper, UT 84020
Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Photo courtesy Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
Now that spring is almost here, I've started to think about finding some new activities for my sports-loving kids. The Salt Lake area offers dozens of youth sports and activity programs for every interest, so kids can benefit from the exercise, learning, confidence, work habits and social skills that sports can provide.
I've put together a long list of youth sports programs in the Salt Lake area, so you and your child can begin thinking about healthy activities this spring and summer. Two programs I'm excited about are Utah Crew, a crew rowing program for teens that is currently signing up participants for the spring season, and Momentum Indoor Climbing, Utah's largest climbing gym, which is getting ready to open a new location in the Millcreek area.
Image courtesy Momentum Indoor Climbing
Green is everybody's favorite color this week, with long-awaited sunny weather to enjoy and St. Patrick's Day celebrations this weekend. There are plenty of St. Patrick's Day events for everyone in Salt Lake City this year, including family fun events like the St. Patrick's Day parade at the Gateway, Celtic music concerts at The Depot and Peery's Egyptian Theater, and evening celebrations at Salt Lake's Irish-themed pubs. Whatever you do this weekend, take time to celebrate, connect with friends, and enjoy beautiful SLC!
Image by ballyscanlon
I've watched crew rowing competitions on TV during the Olympics and thought it would be fun to try, but I didn't think crew rowing opportunities existed in Utah. So I was surprised recently when I learned about Utah Crew, a crew rowing program for youth ages 13-18 in the Salt Lake area. Rowing offers a winning combination of fitness, teamwork, and the chance to be in a natural environment. Utah Crew does indoor training at West High School and outdoor training at the Great Salt Lake and the Surplus Canal on Salt Lake City's west side. Kids can learn the basics of rowing for recreation, or join a competitive team.
If you'd like to find out more, Utah Crew is having an information meeting for their upcoming spring season Monday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library, Room A. The address is 210 E. 400 S. You can check out Utah Crew at their website, or email email@example.com to find out more.
Image courtesy Utah Crew
"Chocolate: The Exhibit," on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah now through June 1, takes visitors on an engaging journey through the history of one of the world's favorite foods as it has evolved over more than 3000 years. The exhibit begins before visitors even enter the gallery, with the smell of chocolate letting noses know they're on the right track. Once through the doors, visitors enter a tropical rain forest, the home of the cacao tree that provides beans once considered so valuable they were used as currency.
The next section of the exhibit explains cacao's early history in the Americas, where it was used to make spiced and fermented drinks consumed by elites in Mayan and Aztec society. As cacao spread by trade throughout the Americas, it became accessible to ordinary people. The exhibit details the earliest evidence of cacao use in the United States, from a Pueblo village site near Blanding, Utah. Chemical traces of the cacao bean have been found in pottery from the site, dating to about 800 C.E.
Once the Spanish began colonizing the Americas, they brought cacao beans back to Europe, where they were made into sweetened hot chocolate, initially an expensive drink consumed by royalty. Chocolate was not made into a solid candy until the 1850s. The final portion of the exhibit is devoted to chocolate's modern history, including marketing, manufacturing, and packaging.
After making my way through the exhibit, I was definitely in the mood to taste some chocolate, and fortunately there is plenty available in the gift shop at the end of the exhibit. Visitors can buy and take home local chocolate, made from carefully selected beans by Salt Lake area food artisans.
If you can, I would recommend signing up for a chocolate tasting, which includes the opportunity to talk with a museum facilitator, plus samples of locally made chocolate. The tastings are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. During the run of the exhibit, the museum will offer lots of fantastic chocolate programming, including "Chocolate Blasts" - short lectures by chocolate makers, archaeologists, and other experts on this amazing bean. The Chocolate Blasts are available every Saturday, and every 2nd and 4th Friday.
Saturday and Sunday March 22-23, the museum will host an "Ultimate Chocolate Festival" with bean grinding demonstrations, art activities, Mayan dance performances, and dozens of chocolate treats to taste."Chocolate, The Exhibit" is included with museum admission, and tastings are $1 extra.
Natural History Museum of Utah
301 Wakara Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108
Photo by Marsha Maxwell
Real Salt Lake started the 2013 season with a revamped starting lineup and ended it with a somewhat improbable appearance in the MLS Cup final. The 2014 season begins with fewer player changes, and although head coach Jason Kreis has moved on to expansion team New York City FC, he has been replaced by his longtime assistant coach, Jeff Cassar.
Cassar has been with RSL as a coach since 2007, after an MLS career as a goalkeeper for the Dallas Burn, Miami Fusion, and New York Metrostars (now Red Bulls). Cassar is the only former goalkeeper to become a head coach since the inception of the MLS. He lives in Sandy with his wife and three children.
The team's roster continues to evolve, but new players listed as active in the current lineup include Luke Mulholland and Jordan Allen:
- Luke Mulholland, midfielder, was born in Preston, England and has played most recently with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
- Jordan Allen, midfielder, was born in Rochester, New York and most recently played for the University of Virginia. Allen developed as a player at the RSL-Arizona Academy.
RSL will start the regular season with two games in California, facing the LA Galaxy March 8 and the San Jose Earthquakes March 15, both at 8:30 p.m. MST and both televised on ABC 4. RSL's first home game is Saturday, March 22, when they will host LA Galaxy at 2 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Update: RSL won their 2014 season opener with a goal in the 80th minute by Joao Plata.
Photo: Jeff Cassar, courtesy Real Salt Lake