For 19 days of last fall, world-renowned artist Patrick Dougherty and a team of BYU volunteers constructed “Windswept” inside the BYU Museum of Art. The resulting art exhibit is a massive sweeping, flowing structure of willow branches for visitors to explore. “Windswept” creates an environment reminiscent of childhood and embodies the goal of Utah Valley’s best art museum — to create a space where everyone can enjoy art on their own terms.
“We’re trying to break down the ‘art museum elitist’ thinking and instead focus on everyone being welcome. We have something for everybody. Even if you don’t think so, we probably do,” says Kylie Brooks, marking and PR manager.
Utah Valley Magazine readers have voted the BYU Museum of Art — affectionately called “the MOA” — the No. 1 Best Art Museum for three years in a row.
“We’re a quiet spot to relax and feel inspired by beautiful artwork. It’s a great place to rejuvenate yourself,” Kylie says.
The MOA balances that artful tranquility with public events that raise the energy levels. At the monthly “Art After Dark” event, a band plays live music, the museum provides food and 1,500 to 2,000 people show up to experience art in a new way.
“It’s more ruckus than people might think an art museum might be. We love events like that, but we also love having quiet exhibitions and providing a variety of opportunities to come to the museum in a comfortable space,” Kylie says.
In January, they began a new event called Yoga at the MOA, where people can come for a yoga class beneath the art installation “Plexus no. 29” by Gabriel Dawe. People bring their yoga mats to stretch, gazing up at the rainbow string art piece.
The MOA also hosts educational events like gallery talks and lectures by the artists and museum educators. More interactive offerings include Monday night activities for wards or families and date night scavenger hunts.
The MOA team also caters to their wide audience through extra materials. From July 2018 to March 2019, they welcomed an exhibition of enlarged Pulitzer Prize photographs that debuted at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and made its first touring destination at the MOA. The exhibit featured photographs significant to American and world history. Aware that several photographs displayed difficult subjects — like Vietnam War scenes and Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald — the MOA team created a gallery guide for families with tips for talking to children about the difficult subjects these photographs might bring up.
Willow branch sculpture by Patrick Dougherty
Now until October 19, 2019
Art celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
Now until October 5, 2019
“Where the River Widens”
Contemporary and earthy art produced by Danae Mattes
Now until October 19, 2019
“In the Arena: The Art of Mahonri Young”
Art produced by the man behind the This Is The Place Monument
May 17 until September 21, 2019
A collection of pieces exploring the identity of America and Americans.
Opening May 31