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Artwork lenders agree to extend BYU's 'Sacred Gifts' exhibit

Published: Sunday, April 27 2014 12:20 a.m. MDT

Guests have the opportunity to view artwork by Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz at BYU Museum of Arts Sacred Gifts. Guests have the opportunity to view artwork by Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz at BYU Museum of Arts Sacred Gifts." (Provided by BYU Museum of Art)

BYU’s Museum of Art’s “Sacred Gifts" is going to continue giving the rare opportunity to view the works of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz a little while longer.

The museum announced in a news release that the exhibit has been extended through May 26, two weeks past its original closing date. In addition to an extended exhibition run, the museum will expand hours. Museum hours will be changed to 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, beginning May 1.

Hilarie Ashton, marketing and public relations director at the museum, said the art lenders were “willing and understanding” when discussion began regarding an extension.

“I think one of the biggest motivators for all parties in negotiating an extension was the enthusiasm we saw from patrons who saw the exhibition,” Ashton said in an interview with the Deseret News. “They caught our vision.”

"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" by Heinrich Hofmann. (Provided by BYU Museum of Art)

More than 190,000 guests had visited the museum as of mid-April to view the exhibit, and thousands more had already obtained tickets for the coming weeks, according to the news release.

Ashton said that through the course of the exhibit, many of the art lenders have gained additional perspective into how much the Utah community enjoys the paintings. Many of the lenders visited the exhibition in March and participated in a symposium, which provided them an opportunity to see guests responding to the works of art.

“It was just really exciting for them to discover how excited our patrons were about this,” Ashton said.

Many visitors have expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to view the works through thank-you notes that the museum has sent back to the lenders. Additionally, the museum created a crowdfunding campaign to contribute to the conservation and preservation of the art. A news release stated that nearly $60,000 had been raised and will be given as a gift to the exhibit’s nine lending institutions.

"The Sermon on the Mount" is a well-known painting by Carl Bloch. (Det Nationalhistoriske Museum Frederiksborg)

“The exhibition is all about gifts,” Ashton explained. “It’s about a series of sacred gifts: the lending of art, our gift of a free exhibition to the community, the God-given talent of artists, the ultimate gift of the Savior that’s the central theme of the exhibit and the opportunity to give back to the institutions through conservation.”

And in the process of participating in the exhibit, some of the lenders have, in turn, been given the opportunity to see their art in a new light.

Karin Kristensen, pastor at Nørresundby Kirke in Nørresundby, Denmark, spoke during the March symposium about her church’s involvement in the exhibit. The church is home to Frans Schwartz’s “Agony in the Garden.” She compared having the piece in the church to having something in a home that isn’t often given excessive attention but that is loved because it’s always been a part of the home. She explained that four of the exhibit organizers visited her church and referred to the painting as a “treasure” and asked if it could be a part of the “Sacred Gifts” exhibit.

Guests at BYU Museum of Arts Sacred Gifts Guests at BYU Museum of Arts Sacred Gifts" have the option of using an iPad app designed for the exhibit to obtain additional information about the artwork. (Provided by BYU Museum of Art)

“And this was the beginning, for me and for the congregation, to see a well-known thing in our home church with new eyes,” Kristensen said during the symposium.

According to a news release, tickets for the first week of the extension, May 12-17, will be made available May 4, and tickets for the second week, May 19-24 and 26, will be available May 11. Tickets are required for entrance. Standby tickets are available in person at the museum as space permits and must be redeemed on the same day at the designated time.

Visit sacredgifts.byu.edu or call 801-422-8258 for additional information about the exhibit or to obtain free tickets.

Email: wbutters@deseretnews.com, Twitter: WhitneyButters

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