Festival Hall Gallery Celebrates the Cedar City Art Committee

Published: June 13, 2017 | Author: Ashley H Pollock | Read Time: 2 minutes

Deborah Snider with studentSince January 2015, Museum Studies students at Southern Utah University have been working on a major research project regarding the Cedar City Art Committee. The Committee, made up of volunteers and local dignitaries, existed from 1940 until 2013. In honor of the Committee’s dedication, current SUU students established an up-to-date inventory and documentation of the artwork hanging at the Festival Hall Gallery, purchased an installation system, designed an informational take-away brochure for visitors, produced consistent signage, and hung a permanent commemorative plaque in the Gallery. On Friday, June 30, as part of the Cedar City Arts Council’s Final Friday Gallery Stroll & Art Map, there will be a small reception at Festival Hall for Committee members, artists, and the community. The reception will take place from 5-8pm on the second floor of the Heritage Center. The public is invited, and this event is free of charge.

Deborah Snider, Associate Professor Emerita of Art Education at Southern Utah University, supervised students who worked on this project. She stated, “What seemed at first to be an insurmountable task for my students ended as a rich experiential learning opportunity for them. We are delighted to focus attention, again, on this exceptional group of Committee members whose goal was to elevate the status of the visual arts in Cedar City for over seven decades.”

In 1940, a visionary junior high school art teacher, Eugene Jorgensen, proposed the idea to initiate an annual community art exhibition featuring the work of selected local, regional and national artists. The Cedar City Art Committee was born to coordinate this exhibition. By 1966, the exhibition was recognized as one of the most important shows of its kind in the West, and when the last exhibition took place in 2008, it was celebrated as one of the most enduring community arts efforts in the country.

When the Committee obtained non-profit status, its members set their sights on locating a permanent gallery space and aspired to establish Cedar City as an art mecca in Southern Utah. Among the numerous goals listed by the Committee were: 1) to purchase artwork that would build a permanent collection for the public, and 2) to provide opportunities for the Iron County School Board and local schoolchildren to invest in artwork for their schools.

This project was made possible with generous grant funds from the Utah Division of Arts & Museums “Random Acts of Art” program and the Cedar City Corporation. If you are interested in further information regarding the Cedar City Art Committee, please visit the Barbara A. Matheson Special Collections Department in the Gerald R. Sherratt Library on the campus of Southern Utah University.

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