Bastian mansion turned into UVU art museum

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A 39,000-square-foot private mansion with nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms built in 1993 for Bruce and Melanie Bastian is now the Utah Valley University Museum of Art at Lakemount Manor.

Bruce divorced Melanie a year after the mansion was built after being married for 18 years when he came out as gay. He has since become a major donor to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ causes, including the fight for same-sex marriage. Bruce built another mansion five miles north in Orem.

Bruce Bastian co-founded, with Alan Ashton, the company behind the word-processing software WordPerfect in 1978. The success of WordPerfect made him one of the country’s wealthiest people — with a spot, for a time, on the Forbes 400 list.

The UVU Museum of Art at Lakemount Manor is preparing to unveil its first exhibition, “The Art of Belonging.” The exhibit focuses on BIPOC culture, with works from local, national, and international artists that “demonstrate how art museums can work toward social, racial, and economic justice,” according to a release from UVU. The exhibition is in three parts, curated by artist and educator Jorge Rojas and Fanny Guadalupe Blauer, executive director of Artes de Mexico en Utah.

The exhibition is part of a larger UVU initiative to explore “themes of belonging in community and culture.” Six rooms and a hallway have been converted into gallery spaces, with one part of the exhibit solely curated by Rojas, another of Rojas’ work curated by Taylor Wright, and the third a statewide juried exhibition featuring 50 artworks in various media from 40 Utah BIPOC artists. Among the pieces in the juried exhibition is an acrylic painting by Crystal Callison depicting expressionless people, a piece with glass beading on canvas from Bianca Velasquez, and two rooms with video projections of pieces.

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