The 1899 “Art Bill”, created by the Utah legislature, was the first state-funded arts council in the nation. The law’s purpose was to advance the interest of fine arts; expand the influence of art in education; sponsor an annual art exhibition; present public lectures on art; and establish a state art collection.
State of Utah Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection
Utah’s state-owned art collection began in 1899. Alice Merrill Horne was a candidate for the state legislature on a platform of support for the arts. Once she was elected to the House of Representatives she sponsored a bill to create a state arts organization and to establish a state collection of artwork. In honor of that sponsor, the collection was named the “Alice Art Collection.” The continued acquisition of artwork by Utah artists comes from purchases selected by the Collection Acquisition Committee and generous donations from patrons and artists.
The collection continues to grow annually by purchases and donations and provides impressive documentation of the history of Utah art. The collection is on display at the Governor’s Mansion, the Glendinning Home, the Rio Grande Depot, the State Capitol building, the Scott Matheson Courthouse, and other state buildings. Selections from the collection are also included in the Traveling Exhibition Program.