SUMA's Free Art Hikes Begin June 16

Published: June 01, 2012 | Read Time: 4 minutes

In summer 2011, dozens of art enthusiasts trekked into the southern Utah landscape with various established regional artists to discover how an artist interprets vistas into art. Once again, this summer, art devotees can join artists on three different hikes that explore the creative process for the 2012 SUMA Art Hikes program.

Beginning on Saturday, June 16, hikers can join renowned artist Steve Yates with a trek into the Dixie National Forest from the Leeds Creek Kiln Trail. The Art Hikes have been created by the Southern Utah Museum of Art’s (SUMA) Community Engagement Committee to build public awareness for the proposed museum. All Art Hikes are free and open to the entire community.

SUMA Art Hikes have been created to provide an opportunity for the southern Utah community to discover the special places where local artists gain inspiration for their art. Participants will get to hike to these inspiring locations with the artist as well as a representative from the Public Lands who will educate and enlighten the hikers to learn more about these unique locales. In addition, all participants are encouraged to bring their own art supplies (sketch books, pencils, pastels, watercolors or whatever a hiker’s media) and cameras to capture the natural beauty of the region for themselves.

For the first hike in the series, Yates will lead hikers down the Leeds Creek Kiln Trail in Dixie National Forest, where he plans to use photography as the medium for capturing the landscape. He will discuss how to effectively use a viewfinder to capture a specific area of the landscape which an artist can use back in the studio and translate onto the canvas. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cameras to the hike.

A Colorado transplant, Yates defines Cedar City as home. His connection to the Southern Utah community and the beauty of the landscape that surrounds him provides ample ammunition to inspire his creations. A lover of art from his earliest years, Yates said he could still remember when he was a child and would draw images of spirits, which his parents would dutifully tuck away for safekeeping. Fascinated with the paranormal and the unexplained Yates said his artistic endeavors have always teetered on the edge of the unusual. His surreal exploitation of canvas through digital media offers an enamored public new material to gobble up beyond that of the typical Southern Utah landscape imagery. It expresses the many layers of reality Steve sees in the world around him.

“Sometimes it sort of comes out like a stream of consciousness. Sometimes there is an underlying theme. I have always thought that what we see isn’t always what we get when it comes to reality.” Though the thought is not an original concept, the idea is one that has always captured Yates' attention. The brilliant results have continued to tickle the playful minds of his admirers. Yates hesitates to place specific meaning on a piece he has created as he knows that art is just as personal for the viewer as it is for the creator.

Additional tours this summer include hiking through the wonders of Kolob Canyon with Anne Weiler-Brown on Saturday, June 30, and exploring the Summit Petroglyphs with Todd Prince on Saturday, July 14.

SUMA Art Hikes are free, though contributions to the SUMA fund are welcome as SUU endeavors to bring this premier art and arts education facility to Southern Utah. All ages are welcome. Hikers will meet at Cedar City Main Street Park, east side (near main pavilion) at 9 a.m. Participants are welcome to bring their own art supplies. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Hikers must provide: own transportation to hiking site, an adequate lunch, sturdy hiking shoes or boots, knapsack, a minimum one quart of water per person, rain jacket, personal first aid kit, sunscreen and layered, comfortable clothing. Walking sticks and insect repellant are recommended but not required.

The SUMA Community Engagement Committee thanks those individuals and organizations that have helped make the Art Hikes happen: Anne Smith, SUU instructor for Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism and coordinator for the University's Outdoor Education Series; the National Parks Service; and the Cedar City and St. George offices of the Bureau of Land Management.

Detailed information can be obtained by calling 435-586-5462 or visiting

To make a contribution to SUMA, please contact Donna Law, director of CPVA development, at 435-865-8182 or Contributions can be made online at

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