A cloud made up of the cloud — a mass of desktop files shaped to resemble non-digital fluffy formations. A surreal mountain landscape that turns into a layered crepe cake. A playful homage to 1950s garden magazines. These are just some of the inventive pieces by the current Artists in Residence at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

UMOCA, Artist in Residence Program, Utah, Annelise Duque
By Annelise Duque

Since 2013, UMOCA’s Artist in Residence program has provided a crucial support system for local artists. Let’s face it: it’s not easy to survive as an artist in Utah. Yes, there’s plenty of local interest in the arts, but there are plenty of obstacles, too. It is still a relatively small community that doesn’t always have established networks for creators. The program provides artists studio space, workshops with other professionals and the opportunity to showcase their work in a dedicated gallery space at UMOCA. Basically, the goal is to build a strong community and keep great artists in the state.

The program’s current roster highlights the wide-ranging diversity of local artists. All of the residents are Utah-based, but their backgrounds, styles and mediums are all distinctive. The Utah art world is wide enough to include politically provocative ceramics from Houston native Horacio Rodriguez and abstract paintings by the Korean artist Yujin Kang, and, as the entire industry reels from the coronavirus pandemic, UMOCA is setting the foundation that allows these creatives to thrive.


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