Tickets still available for Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show silver anniversary gala

ST. GEORGE – Tickets are still available for the Silver Anniversary Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show and Sale Opening Gala, which will be held on Friday, Feb. 17.

The Sears Dixie Invitational, which has been a mainstay at DSC, will feature nearly 300 works from 170 renowned artists from Utah and the United States. Award categories for the show include oils, watercolor, pastels and other media. In addition, the show regularly features several bronze works.

“The 25th Anniversary edition of the Sears Dixie Invitational promises to be the most exciting art show and sale ever,” says Kathy Cieslewicz, curator of the Sears Art Museum Gallery. “Over the years, the reputation of the show has lead to profound growth of the show. As always it’s an opportunity for artists to reach a new professional level, and for patrons to become art collectors. The quality of the show continues to attract the finest artists and art collectors from around the country.”

This year’s Invitational events will begin on Friday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m., in the Eccles Fine Arts Center Concert Hall with a free art symposium for all interested artists, conducted by 2011 Purchase Prize and Best of Show winner Jerry Read Hancock. Hancock’s dual award-winning effort marked the first time in the Invitational’s history that an artist swept both honors. The awards were for his painting “Burst of Light.”

For Hancock, it was his first Sears Dixie Purchase Prize award victory, which earned him the honor of serving as the adjucator for this year’s 25th-Anniversary Sears Dixie Invitational. “Burst of Light” also claimed the blue ribbon in the Oil Other category.

A native of Ogden, Utah, Hancock worked in the education field as a teacher and guidance counselor for 32 years. Since retiring, he has devoted his time to producing art, particularly pieces devoted to farm life. It should come as no surprise that much of his subject matter reflects the surrounding he grew up in. Horses and cattle are a favorite subject.

“I enjoy the beauty of country life,” Hancock said. “There is a ‘spirit’ and sense of peacefulness that is seen in the nature of domestic life. I try to convey to the viewer my reaction and feelings about the subject.”

The Invitational’s opening gala dinner and pre-sale will follow the symposium at 6 p.m., in the Eccles Fine Arts Center Grand Foyer. Tickets for the gala may be purchased by calling Susan Taysom in the DSC Institutional Advancement Office at 435-652-7905. The program for the evening will include dinner and musical entertainment provided by world-renowned ragtime pianist and comedian Mimi Blais.

Known as The New Queen of Ragtime, Blais is a musical performer, composer, arranger, writer, comedian and singer whose imagination knows no bounds. A native of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, her passion for ragtime music has led her to travel across the United States and Canada, where she has received one standing ovation after another.

“For 25 years people have looked forward to enjoying this outstanding show beginning every Presidents Day weekend,” Cieslewicz noted. “The enthusiasm felt at the Gala continues to be contagious as buyers race to obtain their favorite artwork. Many have very prestigious collections as a result of this Invitational.”

Since the inaugural Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show in 1988, a portion of each painting purchased has been allocated to help fund the art gallery in the Eccles Fine Arts Center. The Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show made its debut in that new gallery in 2005, and appropriately enough, the gallery bears the name of the show’s founders, the late Robert N. and Peggy Sears.

Cieslewicz echoed the desires and goals for the Invitational set forth by the Sears family, which are to display and sell quality art to the college and the community, to raise funds to support the Sears Gallery, and for winning paintings to become part of the DSC Permanent Art Collection. Cieslecwicz went on to say that the show would not be a success without the wonderful talents and enthusiasm of the many artists who have shared their best works with the thousands of patrons who have enjoyed the show over the past two-plus decades.

“First time visitors and loyal patrons will be surprised by the quality and range of artwork styles and prices. There will be something for everyone,” Cieslewicz added. “The Sears Art Museum Gallery continues to feature fine art exhibits throughout the year and we look forward to experiencing the Dixie Sears Invitational for the next 25 years and beyond. It’s a legacy the Sears family and DSC can be proud of.”

The exhibit will open to the public Saturday, Feb.18, and will be on display through Sunday, March 25. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Call (435) 652-7905 for more information.

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