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Warhol Foundation gives UMOCA $120,000 grant

SALT LAKE CITY — The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has given $120,000 to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

UMOCA's grant is the largest two-year program support grant given by the Warhol Foundation to any arts organization in the country in 2011, according to a news release.

In making its award, the Warhol Foundation praised recent changes at the museum, noting that "UMOCA is at an exciting moment in its history; its new leaders are ambitious in their vision for its programs and exhibitions and committed to deepening connections with the local, national and international contemporary art community."

"We are deeply honored and grateful for this support from the Warhol Foundation," UMOCA Executive Director Adam Price said in the news release. "With these additional funds, we will be able to provide more and better opportunities for residents of and visitors to Utah to explore the contemporary cultural landscape."

UMOCA has enjoyed a string of recent successes, with its audience growing from 19,000 in 2009 to 101,000 in 2011. Volunteer support from the community has also grown, with the museum's annual volunteer hours increasing from approximately 150 in 2009 to 6,000 in 2011.

Much of the museum's new energy has resulted from changes in its curatorial program, which now seeks to exhibit work that speaks to the interests of Utahns and other residents of the Intermountain West.

This month, UMOCA is featuring the results of "Let Them Eat Cupcakes," a performance on Friday by Los Angeles artist Elizabeth Tobias, who gave homemade cupcakes to museum visitors willing to have their thoughts and memories of hunger included in the museum exhibition. In May, UMOCA will open a photographic exhibition, "The Invincibility Fable," by Orem artist Mark Hedengren.

UMOCA is located at 20 S. West Temple and is open Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The museum is closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free. For more information, call 801-328-4201 or visit