SUU Professor Dr. Aton Earns Evans Handcart Award

Published: July 19, 2016 | Author: Abigail Wyatt | Read Time: 1 minutes

Dr. James Aton, professor of English at SUUDr. James Aton, professor of English at Southern Utah University, recently won the Evans Handcart Award for his book The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones: Landscape Artists of the Canyon Country.

Aton was a good friend of Jimmie Jones, a famous western landscape painter, and first wrote about him for Southwest Art magazine in 1985. Later, in 2009, Aton and Dr. Jon Smith, a broadcasting professor at SUU, produced a film about the life of Jimmie Jones. The following year Aton was approached by publisher Gibbs Smith, one of the top publishers of art books in the West, to write the award-winning biography about Jones.

Aton hopes that his book will help show readers that Jones was one of the best landscape painters the West has ever seen.

“When I found out that I won the award I felt honored, humbled and thrilled,” said Aton. “The university, my department and my colleagues have supported all my research over the years. Without that help I couldn’t have written this book, nor any others.”

His book was selected by a five-member jury from the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies at Utah State University.

One juror said “[Aton’s book] is rich in detail and photographs. It can be read as an art history of real significant merit.”

His biography about Jones complements the recently dedicated Southern Utah Museum of Art on the SUU campus that houses 15 of Jones’ paintings, 14 of which were gifts to the university. 

The Evans Handcart Award includes a prize through an endowment created by the family of David and Beatrice Evans in 1983. He will use this money to help fund his research for his upcoming book Crimson Cowboys: The Remarkable Odyssey of the Claflin Emerson Expedition.

Tags: English

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