Adam Price leaving as executive director of Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

Adam Price • Fund-raising, attendance increased during his three-year tenure.
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Adam Price has orchestrated a lot of changes in his three years as executive director of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art — including changing the name of what used to be the Salt Lake Art Center.

Now, Price is taking some time off.

"I promised my wife I'm going to take at least 60 days to rest, relax and go back to the gym," Price said Tuesday, as museum officials announced Price's departure from his job before the end of the year.

"I inherited the institution at the height of the Great Recession," Price said. "It's been a lot of labor over the last three-plus years."

Price leaves UMOCA "in much better condition than he found it," said Roy Jespersen, president of UMOCA's Board of Trustees.

According to UMOCA, fund-raising is up nearly 50 percent during Price's tenure, which began in 2009, while the museum's audience has increased 500 percent to more than 100,000 visitors annually. "Those are 100,000 people who have gotten to see some of the best contemporary art in the world," Price said.

Price also orchestrated programs that took art to the people, such as Art Truck at UMOCA, which brings commissioned art free to area schools, and artist Luke Jerram's "Play Me, I'm Yours" installation that put pianos on downtown Salt Lake City streets last summer.

Among Price's other accomplishments:

• The creation of a new national prize for contemporary painting.

• A reduction in the museum's operating overhead, and a reduction of the cost-per-visitor rate from $44 to $8.50 a head.

• The hiring of two curators — from Los Angeles and Berlin — to bring nationally- and internationally-recognized artists to Utah.

• The launch of a new artist-in-residence program, designed to give long-term support to Utah artists trying to build a national career without moving away.

Price previously practiced law with the firm of Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough. He will stay on as a "special advisor" at UMOCA to help the museum's transition to a new director, whenever one is found. He said he's "looking at opportunities," but hasn't committed to any new job yet. ­—

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

Where • 20 W. Temple, Salt Lake City; 801-328-4201

Hours • Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Admission • Free

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