Visual Arts

10 Years at the Pioneer Center: The St. George Art Museum Celebrates

Meandering in Moki Canyon by Roland Lee

St. George may be the place to be this month. If you’re down there to check out the redrock, you’ll also find a lot of art to see. Of course, there’s both the St. George Arts Festival and the Z-Arts Annual Open Studio tour this month (see page 3). Two artists who like to create canvases as textured as the local landscape can be seen in Springdale, at the gateway to Zion’s park; the Sears Gallery at SUU will feature area instructors and students. You’ll even find something contemporary at the La Verkin Studio/Gallery of Corey B. Strange (see bottom of this column for all exhibits). At the center of this frenetic art activity is the St. George Art Museum, which celebrates its ten year anniversary in the Pioneer Center for the Arts this month with three exhibitions highlighting the exciting things going on in this corner of the state.

Through July 7th in the Museum’s Mezzanine Gallery you’ll encounter a two-person exhibit from a couple of pillars of Southern Utah’s art community: ceramicist Glen Blakely and painter Roland Lee. Blakely, an MFA graduate from Brigham University, was the first director of the St. George Art Museum and has taught as a professor of art at Dixie College since moving to the area in 1976. He has served in many roles in the community, and has been active in the national ceramic scene.

Ceramic by Glen Blakely

Glen says that “as a potter, I take earth, water, and fire and make ‘rocks.’ Then I fire a coat of glass over the rocks and call them pots. You can see them, touch, them, hold them, break them, give them away, or use them up. As a teacher and educator, my responsibility is to make the world a more beautiful and safe place to live, while helping my students, family, and friends attain a fullness of joy and happiness.” As part of this exhibition, Blakley will be giving a free 3rd Thursday Art Conversation on June 21 at 7pm at the Museum.

Roland Lee is a mainstay of the art scene in Utah’s Dixie. His colorful watercolors of the area landscapes have become popular locally and nationally. ”Roland Lee’s Canyon Country” is a potpourri of personal images from my forays into the canyons of southern Utah. Some of the places may seem familiar, others may not. Some are majestic, while others are intimate.

Like Blakely, Lee is a BYU graduate (1971). He worked for a couple of years as an illustrator in southern California, but quickly tired of the crowded city and moved to St. George. He devotes full-time to painting and teaching from his studio located in historic downtown St. George. (our May edition will feature a full-length article on the artist). Lee will be giving a free 3rd Thursday Art Conversation on April 19 at 7pm at the Museum.

Daisy Rhapsody by Deanne Halley

The Museum has also pulled out a number of selections from its permanent collection to celebrate its position in the community. These are on exhibit in the Legacy Gallery in an exhibit titled Permanent Collection Gems: Flowers & Fish. This exhibit, fifteen pieces by fourteen artists, begins the process of exploring the various aspects of the Museum’s permanent collection for visitors. The Flower part of the exhibit consists of two dimensional paintings in various media depicting flowers both formally and informally. The Fish part of the exhibit consists of mostly three dimensional art in a wide variety of media: ceramic, glass, batik, gourd, wood, and mixed media.

This year, as part of their 2007: Legacy II for the Next Ten Years, the St. George Art Museum is highlighting area art groups each quarter. This quarter the spotlight is on the Visual Arts Association, a membership body open to organizations and individuals concerned with the exhibition, interpretation and development of visual art. The group “functions as a catalyst, sharing expertise and knowledge and campaigning for a healthy visual arts destination area.” Membership is open to all levels of artists throughout the tri-state region. VAA’s commitment to its founding mission of encouraging emerging artists is supported by the many educational opportunities offered through workshops, classes and special programs. The VAA will be giving a free 3rd Thursday Art Conversation on May 17 at 7pm at the Museum.

An image of three works by Pearl Meadows



Categories: Visual Arts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *