Hiking through a Ceramicist's Clay

Published: September 29, 2014 | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU Geology Professor Johnny MacLean & Ceramist Rachelle BonnettThe unique landscape of southern Utah, rich with clay deposits, is the foundation for the final 2014 Southern Utah Museum of Art Hike. For the first time an Art Hike has been developed in conjunction with an exhibition at SUU’s Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, specifically 50 from 6: Contemporary Ceramic Art from Six Rocky Mountain States. For its autumn 2014 Art Hike, the SUMA Community Engagement Committee merges science with art in Clay,led by Dr. Johnny MacLean, SUU assistant professor of geology, and ceramicist Rachelle Bonnett (right). The hike will be to clay deposits in Parowan Canyon area.

Scheduled for Saturday, October 4, the hike begins at 9 a.m. on the east side of Main Street Park in Cedar City. This will be an easy, one-mile hike. MacLean will talk about how the earth forms clay while Bonnett describes how it evolves into pottery. Though free, the number of hikers is limited; reservations are required. To reserve your spot, please contact the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery at gallery@suu.edu or 435-586-5432. The Art Hikes have been created by the Southern Utah Museum of Art’s (SUMA) Community Engagement Committee to build public awareness for the museum, scheduled to open in 2016.

Dr. Johnny MacLean, a professor of geology at SUU since 2010, uses his professional background in the environmental consulting industry and the oil and gas industry to provide authentic learning opportunities for geology students. Such learning opportunities often involve SUU's local setting near the fabulous geologic exposures of the American Southwest. Fieldwork has become an integral part of geology majors' experience, and MacLean couldn't be happier about it. He holds degrees from the University of Montana, Syracuse University, and Furman University.

Rachelle Bonnett completed a BFA in Studio Art at New Mexico Highlands University; and is currently working towards an MFA in Arts Administration at Southern Utah University. She grew up in Southeast Alaska, which profoundly affected her view of the natural world, sense of adventure, and fuels her personal creativity. With a background in visual arts, her biggest inspiration as an artist has been recreating experiences, connections, and nostalgia of place. She enjoys working with ceramics, sculpture, and mixed media; while dabbling here and there with painting and photography.

SUMA Art Hikes have been created to provide an opportunity for the southern Utah community to discover the locales where artists gain inspiration. Participants will hike with the artist as well as a representative from the Public Lands such as the National Park Service, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or Utah Division of Natural Resources who will educate and enlighten the hikers about these locales.

Sponsored by The Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, 50 from 6: Contemporary Ceramic Art from Six Rocky Mountain States runs September 25 through November 8 at the Gallery in the Braithwaite Building on the SUU campus. Exhibition hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

To make a contribution to the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), please contact Donna Law, director of development for the arts, at 435-865-8182 or law@suu.edu. Contributions may be made online at suu.edu/pva/suma.

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