There's a time and a place for everything - including viewing visual art. The time? Now. The place? The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), as well as the Pierpont and Courtyard galleries.

On display through April 15 at UMFA are the "The Salt Lake City School District Collection of Utah Art" and "The Hidden Museum: Treasures from the Storage Vaults."The Pierpont Gallery is spotlighting creative wall sculpture by Jim Jacobs and drawings and paintings by Jon Bowcutt. Downstairs in the Courtyard Gallery, handsome woodcuts by Harry Taylor dot the walls. These two shows will continue through April 27.

But have it your way. Wait until after those dates, and then try to see the exhibits. To do so, you'll have to visit the district office and a number of public schools throughout the Salt Lake City School District, explore the vaults at UMFA with a flashlight to find the hidden treasures, and travel to Ogden and St. George to visit the studios of Jacobs, Taylor and Bowcutt.

Organized to celebrate the district's centennial year, the Salt Lake City School District Collection is now hanging in UMFA's Thomas Gallery (northeast corner).

Over the past 100 years, the district's art collection has accumulated in several different ways. Some were painted for the schools during the Depression when Utah artists participated in Works Progress Administration projects. Many were donated by Utah artists who taught in the district over the years. Others were received as gifts from artists and patrons living in the district.

Names of early Utah painters dot many of the works: Dan A. Weggeland, James T. Harwood, Lee Greene Richards, B.F. Larsen, John Henry Moser, Minerva Teichert and others.

And there are paintings by more recent Utah artists Florence Ware and Harrison Groutage.

Among the pleasant surprises in this show are watercolors by Rose Howard Salisbury and Elverta Jacobsen. And Ware's delightful "Hollyhocks" proves that 50 years ago she was as fascinated with hollyhocks as many Utah painters are today.

"The Hidden Museum: Treasures from the Storage Vaults" has been found and is now on display in the changing exhibition gallery (northwest corner).

In the spotlight are selections from UMFA's American Collection that cover more than 90 years of art and a potpourri of styles and media.

The show ranges from the traditional turn-of-the-century art of Lee Green Richards and Albert Wenzell to contemporary works by Frank Stella and Robert Rauschenberg.

Setting the mood for the "hidden treasures" theme is Eugene Bermer's "Dark Medusa at Sunset" (1969). And taking up a lot of wall space are several works that, due to their large size, could not have been well-hidden in the vaults: Leonard Baskin's woodcut "Man of Peace" (1952); Joseph Raffael's "Arapaho" (1970); and two 4-by-8-foot works - a watercolor of the Colorado River by Susan Shatter and an oil on canvas by Leonard Lehrer.

Adding other dimensions to the show are Richard Johnston's contemporary table and Frank Fleming's humorous sculpture "Penguin Pulling a Frog Cart."

UMFA is located on the University of Utah campus. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 2-5 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call 581-7049.

- The place for the next exhibitions is the building on Pierpont Avenue that houses the Pierpont and the Courtyard galleries.

But the time to visit is not on Sunday through Tuesday. The galleries are only open on Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.

Jacobs' bas-relief wall sculptures have immediate appeal. In this new series, he has worked exclusively with plywood, a material that interests him because of its inherent "banality." But in the sculptor's hands, banality is quickly transformed into original, fresh and novel sculptures.

In previous series, Jacobs has combined corrugated tin, screen wire and other building materials. But limiting his materials to plywood has definitely brought more cohesiveness to his work. Certainly his attention to design, value and texture has also helped to unify his work.

Jacobs has also experimented with plywood as a painting surface. His monochromatic approach, often in tints and shades of brown, enhances his designs. In "Steps," he introduces both yellow and green, but so subtly that the colors become an integral part of the composition.

Bowcutt moves directly from one stylistic extreme to the other - from photo-realistic drawings to non-objective paintings. Apparently he's not interested in the myriad styles in between.

Using basically the same palette in all his large paintings, Bowcutt introduces the viewer to a variety of symbols. But images are nebulous and edges hazy. The viewer interprets them much as he would a Rorshach test.

In an attempt to explain his work, Bowcutt says, "We're all looking for clues . . . the secrets that help us unlock the riddles that lie within us. These images are glimpses of friends and places that have given me some sense of understanding."

Taylor is another artist who not only moves comfortably from realism to abstraction but uses symbolism. This imagery comes from his own private world as well as from his travels.

As he draws his designs on wood, cuts away areas with a V-gouge and prints his creations in color, he is extremely conscious of design.

"Design, design, design - this is how I begin my work, whether objective or non-objective," he said.

And he's also fascinated with line.

"I love lines. I'm obsessed with lines - thick ones, thin ones, lines that surround forms or cross forms, lines that travel from the top of the block to the bottom or lines which zig-zag violently around. All give me pleasure."

Taylor also tries to put a little humor in his work. "I like to pull a leg now and then," he confesses.

Although his show contains a number of impressive colored woodcuts, four that particularly appealed to me were "I Love Nature," "Ballet West," "Spring" and "Cezanne Visits Monet at Giverny."

Courtyard and Pierpont galleries are located at 153 and 159 Pierpont Ave. For more information, call 363-4141 and 363-5151.