City Weekly reported in July that the Central Utah Art Center in Ephraim had been given an eviction notice by the city, which had for years subsidized the contemporary art museum and provided a rent-free space. Now, CUAC is rallying support through a petition drive to try and back the city off from the Aug. 20 eviction date.
Since 2005, directors Adam Bateman and Jared Latimer helped CUAC evolve from a modest artist’s cooperative to a showcase that Bateman says drew in 9,000 visitors a year to see exhibits from national, international and local Sanpete County artists all on the same walls. Recently, however, the city informed CUAC that it's failed to meet its obligations for community outreach and has decided to evict the tenants from the space in a move Bateman says amounts to “censorship.”
The oasis of challenging, bold and occasionally offensive art in Ephraim now stands to be blotted out by the current city administration, which is why CUAC is calling on supporters to help with donations to aid a possible relocation and to also forward a petition on to Ephraim City government.
“CUAC intends to put pressure on Ephraim City to honor the 20 year agreement CUAC has had with the city to allow free usage of CUAC’s buildings and to commit to renewing funding at the $30,000/year level the City had already committed to,” the petition reads.
The petition cites CUAC’s achievements including doing outreach with 450 elementary school children a year, having hosted 142 Utah artists and that CUAC and its visitors put $200,000 into the local economy every year.