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Adam Price trades SLC for Omaha

by on January 8, 2013

Former Utah Museum of Contemporary Art director Adam Price will leave in mid-February to lead the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha.
Price, who announced his departure from UMOCA last month, says the Bemis, which offers an extensive residency program for artists, is a “good next step” for him as an arts administrator.
Price, a Harvard-trained lawyer, entered the Utah contemporary art scene through his 337 Project, in which street artists swarmed over a soon-to-be-demolished building creating a transitory art gallery. 337 is seen by many Salt Lake artists as a milestone in the city’s cultural development.
Though the new position is administrative and involves the usual fund-raising responsibilities, Price says the Bemis’ generous residency program — offering 36 residencies each year — will give him an opportunity to interact more with artists as they create.

“I loved 337,” he says. “The Bemis gets me back closer to that—I enjoyed working closely with artists during the creative process.”

It sounds nice and the Bemis has money and cred—Christo is on the board, but Omaha? So is it a step down or up? The Greater Omaha area includes about 1.2 million people compared to the Wasatch Front’s 2.5 million. The gallery space of the two museums is about the same, though the Bemis is spread between a couple buildings.

Price’s legacy to Salt Lake is contemporary art programs that take art outside the walls of the museum to engage the public, including a lawn art competition and the “Fallen Fruit” exhibit that mixed museum art works with family mementos and conducted tours of Salt Lake’s remaining fruit trees.

It’ll be interesting to see if UMOCA’s exuberant outreach continues under its new regime.


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