Utah Valley University (UVU) will openits new UVU Museum of Art at Lakemount on May 13 with The Art of Belonging, which includes three new art exhibitions that are part of a community-based initiative and collaboration of artists committed to the inclusion and representation of Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC). The initiative will run through September 16.
The museum will also host a community celebration on May 13 featuring activities for visitors of all ages and abilities, a community dance party, and a multicultural showcase by “Remembering Our Culture” (ROC) representing dances from Native American, African, Polynesian, Latino/a, and Asian cultures, honoring and celebrating the strength of cultural diversity.
The Art of Belonging will feature local, national, and internationally recognized artists who will demonstrate how art museums can work toward social, racial, and economic justice. It will include artist talks and panels, educator workshops, collaborations with university faculty, and a live performance art series.
The exhibition is the result of a two-year collaboration between UVU museum staff, Mexican artist, curator, art educator Jorge Rojas, and Artes de México en Utah executive director and cultural advocate Fanny Guadalupe Blauer.
“We’re excited to launch the museum on an innovative new platform based on community-based partnerships and designed to celebrate the contributions of our culturally diverse communities,” said Museum Director Lisa Anderson. “We’re proud to showcase these important artists’ work and to engage our audiences in exploring themes of belonging in art and culture.”
The exhibitions and activities are free and open to the public. However, tickets are required to the opening celebration on May 13. See The Art of Belonging for event activities and ticketing. Visit uvu.edu/museum for more information.
Featured exhibitions and programming include:
- The Art of Belonging: Statewide Juried Exhibition
– Juried and curated by Fanny Guadalupe Blauer and Jorge Rojas
- Maruch Santíz Gómez: Beliefs of our Forebears
– Curated by Fanny Guadalupe Blauer and Jorge Rojas
- Jorge Rojas: Material Meditations
– Curated by Taylor Wright
- The Art of Belonging: Performance Art Series
– Curated by Jorge Rojas
About the exhibitions and programming:
The Art of Belonging:Statewide Juried Exhibition features over 50 pieces of artwork in various media by 40 Utah artists who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). Artist demographics include Native American, African American, Asian, Latin American, Mexican, Mexican American, Latinx, Pacific Islander, Brazilian, as well as BIPOC artists in the LGBTQ+ community. The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, photography, video, and mixed media.
Maruch Santíz Gómez: Beliefs of Our Forebears
Maruch Santíz Gómez was born in the village of Cruzton, San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico. She is a photographer, weaver, textile designer, and farmer, and identifies as part of the ethnic group Tzotzil Maya.
Her artistic style is evident within the composition, frame, and lighting of her photographs. Her work showing practical objects related to everyday life mirrors the traditions of understanding the environment, landscapes, and surroundings of her culture.
In 1998 Santíz Gómez was named the indigenous revelation of the end of the century and gained international recognition after her participation in the 1995 Johannesburg Biennial.
Of her work Santíz Gómez says, “It is very important that we indigenous people take photographs of our own cultures so that other indigenous people in Mexico and other countries know us. In this way we can preserve and show our traditional cultures and share them, so that future generations can learn and remember.”
Maruch Santíz Gómez: Beliefs of Our Forebearsis sponsored by the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Mexican Cultural Arts Alliance.
Jorge Rojas: Material Meditations presents recent abstract works reflecting the artist’s decades-long experimentation with materials and his engagement with Minimalism — while infusing these influences with his Mexican roots and understanding of Mesoamerican art, materials, and cosmovision.
Corn Mandala: Belonging For more than 10 years, much of Rojas’s sculptural and performance work has celebrated the spiritual significance of maize for Indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. Corn Mandala: Belonging is the seventh in an ongoing series of ephemeral, site-specific installations where the artist uses colorful natural corn kernels to produce patterns and symbols deeply rooted in Mesoamerican, Native American, and in this case, Polynesian tradition. By creating a new design that brings together symbols from several cultures, Corn Mandala: Belonging honors Native and migrant cultures living in and contributing to the richness of this region.
Rojas is also exhibiting two born digital performance videos titled Chac Mool and Dance for our Departed.
About Remembering Our Culture (ROC)
Remembering Our Culture (ROC) is a program established to help multicultural students attain post secondary academic excellence while showcasing and sharing their unique heritage through song and dance. For over 20 years, ROC has brought diversity of cultures together on the same stage in an electrifying cultural showcase performance through dynamic choreography that exudes the spirit of the student’s ancestors.
The Art of Belonging: Performance Series
Heartland Collective: Roundabout
Saturday June 3, 1:00 – 3:30 pm
In Roundabout, Heartland Collective collaborates with Utah Valley University’s Department of Dance to welcome the community to the new UVU Museum of Art. This roaming performance will move through the outdoor and indoor spaces of the historical Lakemount Manor, bringing energy and joy in celebration of belonging. The audience will be invited to follow the artists in a series of location specific performances that culminate in an outdoor dance party.
Mitsu Salmon: Somatic Tracing
Saturday June 24th, 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Somatic Traces explores the largely hidden history of Asian labor in the United States, particularly the work done on the transcontinental railroad. Mitsu Salmon focuses on how a body can contain and release history, place, and affect to allow for transformation and re-imagining. Her large-scale movement-based color field paintings, performative objects, and soundscapes echo this act.
Punto de Inflexión: Vanished Vibrations
Tuesday July 18, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Vanished Vibrations is asite-specific dance performance inspired by ongoing research on the embodied memory of female-gendered violence victims in the Mexican context.
Punto de Inflexión is co-founded and co-directed by Stephanie García. PROArtes México was co-founded by Stephanie García and Peter Hay in order to promote exemplary Mexican art internationally.
Jorge Rojas: Untitled
Tuesday August 1, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Rojas has performed live and via livestream for over fifteen years, presenting his work in Mexico, Canada, and across the United States. His performance art focuses on a number of topics ranging from spiritual histories, interpretations of ancient rites and customs, and abuses of power.
The Art of Belonging collaborator bios
Jorge Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, curator, and art educator from Morelos, Mexico. Rojas was six years old when he and his family moved from Mexico City to Provo, Utah, moving back and forth between the states and Mexico every five or six years. He studied art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in multiple public and private collections.
From 2015 – 2021, Rojas served as director of learning and engagement at Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Artists of Utah/15 Bytes named Rojas one of Utah’s Most Influential Artists in 2019.
In 2022 he was selected as a Visual Arts Fellow for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, and received the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Artist Award. Rojas’s combined practice as an artist, curator, and educator align with his passion for working with arts institutions and communities towards social, racial and cultural justice.
Fanny Guadalupe Blauer
Fanny Guadalupe Blauer is the current executive director of Artes de Mexico en Utah, an organization with a strong foundation in building communities and a sense of belonging through the creation of art and the appreciation of the Mexican identity, historical connections, and living traditions.
Guadalupe Blauer believes that other people’s stories can help us find ourselves. Blauer’s passion is to work and advocate for acknowledgement and visibility of cultural diversity in our community. She has led diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives acting as a community liaison and cultural interpreter for several museums in Utah including the NHMU, UMFA, The Leonardo, and UVU Museum of Art.
Guadalupe Blauer is part of the National Alliance for Mexican Arts and Culture led by the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. She holds a degree in accounting and a diploma in Anthropology of Art.
About UVU Museum of Art at Lakemount
The UVU Museum of Art (formerly Woodbury Art Museum) is an institution recognized for engaged and diverse exhibitions, programs and partnerships. Since the museum’s founding in 2002, it has been an important place for the stewardship of art and education in the community.
In 2023, the Museum moved from the University Place to the Bastian estate, known as the Lakemount Manor, which was generously donated to Utah Valley University by the Bastian family.
The museum provides students with learning opportunities through courses and internships on the way toward their degrees in interdisciplinary arts. It also provides unique and innovative programs and exhibitions that cultivate community appreciation for the arts. For more, visit uvu.edu/museum/.