The Central Utah Art Center, the embattled contemporary art venue that was evicted from its space in Ephraim City in Sanpete County this summer, may have to change its name after it settles into its new location in Salt Lake City.
For six years, CUAC offered a venue where the art of international, national and Sanpete County artists shared the walls, and which CUAC co-founder Adam Bateman says attracted 9,000 visitors a year to rural Ephraim. Over the summer, however, Ephraim evicted CUAC from the building (pictured) they had leased from the city, citing CUAC underperforming on community-art-education outreach efforts -- a claim Bateman scoffs at, saying some of the edgier exhibits weren’t liked by city government and that the eviction amounted to censorship.
Now Bateman says CUAC is close to finalizing a lease on a new art installation in Salt Lake City and hopes to kick off an exhibit at the Salt Lake City location at the end of the month. The exhibit he says will “be themed around the post-apocalyptic end of CUAC and new beginnings.”
As for the change of location, Bateman says that Ephraim was the only city big enough in Sanpete County to support them, forcing them to look elsewhere for a new location. While Bateman is not ready to disclose the new location until the paperwork is finalized, he is confident about the move. He also hopes to keep a less-than permanent presence in Sanpete County so he can continue to support artists from central Utah.
As for Salt Lake City, he says there is a lot of support and a good population base to patronize a new location. He also hopes to collaborate with other art galleries, museums and other groups, he says, to help Salt Lake City contemporary-art community come together and increase their standing in the Salt Lake Valley.
“I think that Salt Lake City compared to other cities of its size is underserved in terms of contemporary art,” Bateman says, “and one of things CUAC is about is creating critical mass.”