UMFA Opens New Exhibit Featuring Utah Muralists

Sep 30, 2021

From left: muralists Miguel Galaz, Bill Louis, Luis Novoa, Zully Davila, Evelyn Haupt, Alan Ochoa, and Vaimoana Niumeitolu.
Credit Utah Museum of Fine Arts

The year 2020 is marked by the COVID pandemic. While many things shut down, art continued to thrive in Utah cities.

Artists, like Miguel Galaz, said art was a way to cope with the unknown.


“I feel like just art in general was kind of like this healing process for many of us,” Galaz said.


Groups like Roots Art Kollective painted murals throughout the pandemic as a way to strengthen community identity. Senior Curator at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Whitney Tassie noticed the Kollective and others like them.


“In this moment of isolation that these artists were out there creating these artworks to process what we were going through,” Tassie said. “And that really stuck with me and excited me.”


That excitement turned into action as the UMFA reached out to Roots Art Kollective and created a new exhibition. “2020: From here on out” is an exhibit featuring four murals from four Utah artists or groups.


“We wanted it to be inclusive of many interests, needs, desires, that exists in our community,” Tassie said.


In order to do this, each artist went through a selection process, workshops, and design approvals. They even listened to stories about 2020 from people who called into the exhibit hotline. These stories are still being collected and can be heard at the exhibit.


This process gave voice to multiple perspectives, but Roots Art Kollective member Alan Ochoa said connecting with others was the best part.


“Within our theme or our piece, and then the artists, there was this whole theme,” Ochoa said. “We were all in this together.”