Utah’s first museum for the visual arts, this beautiful Spanish Morrocan Style building would be worth visiting even if there were no art. Dedicated as a “Sanctuary of Beauty and a Temple of Contemplation ” by David O. McKay, the Museum houses over 2,000 works; 1,500 of which are Utah art. The impressive collection of 150 years of Utah fine art, twentieth-century Soviet Socialist Realism and American art, and 15 exhibitions per year are displayed throughout 29 galleries.
The history of the Museum began in 1903, with the donation of two works of art to Springville High School by Cyrus E. Dallin and John Hafen. Dallin became famous for his heroic depictions of the American Indian, and Hafen for his sensitively rendered impressionistic landscapes. In 1907 several Utah artists agreed to donate paintings to the school, including James T. Harwood, John B. Fairbanks, and Mahonri M. Young. The students became interested in art and collecting, and began purchasing paintings and sculptures through an “Art Queen” program. Each student paid a penny per vote. The girl with the most votes was named queen, and the funds were used to purchase artwork for the Museum’s collection.
Cultural and educational offerings at the Museum have expanded over time in response to community desires and needs. A Paris Salon-style exhibition was put on in 1921 by the High School students, which has continued as the Annual Spring Salon to this day. In 1925 the Museum, then called the High School Art Gallery, became incorporated. Generous donations from the Smart, Steed, and Lund-Wassmer Collections have strengthened the Museum’s permanent collection. By 1935 the collection had grown so much that the students and townspeople raised $100,000 during the Great Depression to construct the present facility. The Museum has since been expanded and modernized with the addition of the Clyde Wing in 1965, and the George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Wing in 2004. The latest addition doubled the size of the facility, adding 20,000 square feet to the Museum.
Springville Museum of Art
126 East 400 South Springville, UT 84663