SUMA Welcomes First Stillman Sculpture Grove Acquisition

Published: October 21, 2015 | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUMA welcomes first Stillman Grove acquisition to SUU

A sower cultivates the land and its potential growth. How fitting that the first piece of sculpture gifted to the Southern Utah Museum of Art’s (SUMA) forthcoming Stillman Sculpture Grove is entitled “The Sower.” The remarkable acquisition reflects the incredible growth and construction of the Museum which is be the art work’s final home. Cast in bronze and created by Jane DeDecker, this exquisite figure has found a temporary home on Southern Utah University’s upper campus between Old Main and the Braithwaite Building.

On hand for the installation was donor Larry Stillman, and his wife Liane, who thanked DeDecker, who was also in attendance. “The Sower” made its SUU debut on Thursday, October 15, 2015. SUU President Scott Wyatt welcomed the Stillmans and DeDecker to campus and, on behalf of the university, thanked them for their generous donation and art respectively. Also in attendance for the installation were Shauna Mendini, Dean of SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, Reece Summers, Museum Director, and SUMA Board Members.   

Expressing his pleasure with this new acquisition, President Wyatt remarked, “’The Sower’ is a beautiful representation of what we do. We plant seeds that lead to a wonderful harvest. In our case, a harvest of understanding, compassion, opportunities, and skills for a complex and global world.”

Jane DeDecker’s sculpture of “The Sower” depicts the historical figure rhythmically stepping through the deep rich brown earth as he scatters his precious seeds. According to the artist, “The rough terrain or the heavy draping satchel holding his seed does not daunt him. Instead, he moves gracefully forward with his eyes thoughtfully focused on the work ahead. The earth and the toiler are one furrowing-pushing with strength through the soil to lay down the seed, which renews the earth with life. The sculpture quietly reflect the attitude of a sower’s job. As he gives the earth its texture, carved and molded by his sensitive hands, the artist, too pushes with her hands in the earthen clay to give the sower his form, his purpose of being.”

Born in Marengo, Iowa, Jane DeDecker received her early training at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She went on to study stone carving under Canadian sculptor Robert Game and bronze casting with Robert Zimmerman, foundry owner of Battle Mountain Bronze in Minturn, Colorado. A former arts educator, Jane is now a self-employed artist and owner of The DeDecker Studio in Loveland, Colorado. Her commissioned works are on display throughout the United States. For more information about Jane and her art, visit

The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), a state-of-the-art museum, will feature approximately 5,300 square feet of exhibition space composed of five exhibition spaces: the Braithwaite Gallery, the Rocki Alice Gallery, the Austin and Magda Jones Gallery, the Grace Adams Tanner Gallery and the Jim Jones Gallery which showcases work by the renowned Utah artist who inspired the museum. SUMA will exhibit international and regional art, as well as that by SUU art and design students and faculty. The museum will have dedicated space for collection storage, conservation and research. The building design will allow visitors to witness the behind-the-scenes operations in the Maud Trismen Mason Collection and Conservation Studio. The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Education Suite includes classroom space for hands-on educational activities for K-12 school groups, and workspace for the SUU graduate and undergraduate students who will operate the museum. SUMA is part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at SUU which is predicted to further establish Cedar City as a regional arts mecca. In addition to SUMA, it will serve as the home to the new Engelstad Shakespeare theatre and a new Eileen & Allen Anes Studio Theatre and an artistic/production building for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The Center also features a tree-lined walkway and, in addition to the Stillman Sculpture Grove, a Shakespeare sculpture garden. The Center will offer many public gathering spaces ideal for receptions and special events.

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