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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, September 21, 2012

Escalante Canyons Art Festival / Everett Ruess Days

The annual Escalante Canyons Working Art Festival and Everett Ruess Days will be held September 28-29, with events in the towns of Escalante and Boulder.

The festival website has this summary:

Last year’s festival was a huge success on all fronts. More than 75 artists from near and as far away as Florida and Hawaii participated in the Plein Air Competition. Vendors selling art, photography, fabric goods, ceramics, and food were busy with customers both Friday and Saturday. The entertainment ranged from locals acts – the Griffin Family, the Mecham Sisters and Boulder’s Quarrelling Society Ladies to Flagstaff musicians Dave McGraw & Crow Wing.

We are awarding $8000 in prizes this year! Included are 21 cash prizes, an ad in Plein Air Magazine for the Artist’s Choice Award, and two Best of Show Purchase Awards of $1500.00 each (one in Watercolor/Mixed Media and one in Oil/Acrylic).

Our Paint-Out this year will be called “Paint the Town,” and held on Wednesday, September 26 with sign-in at the Escalante Town Park (100 North and Center Street) beginning at 9:00 am. Judging will occur at 5:00 pm in the Lions Club Pavilion, also in the park.

Keynote speaker at the festival will be Dr. Scott D. Sampson, Ph.D. He will talk about the many dinosaur fossil finds in the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Sampson is research curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah.

Remarkably, different varieties of giant dinosaurs appear to have lived in the north and south of Laramidia. The strongest evidence of these isolated dinosaur “provinces” comes from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which has recently revealed a previously unknown assemblage of dinosaurs. How were so many giant animals able to co-exist on such a diminutive landmass? Why were most of these dinosaurs adorned with bizarre bony features such as horns, crests, domes, or spikes?

Scott Sampson will address these questions and more, exploring some of the latest ideas and controversies reviewed in his recent book, Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life.

The Escalante Canyons area has been the subject of countless works of art, from amazing photographs to inspiring landscape paintings to moving prose. The festival honors Everett Ruess, the legendary "vagabond for beauty."

In November 1934, at age twenty, Everett Ruess disappeared from the rugged canyon country near Escalante, Utah, and was never seen again. Everett Ruess was an artistic, adventurous young man who set out alone several times to experience the beauty, as well as the fury of nature in the American West. During the 1930s, he met and discussed art with painter Maynard Dixon, and with well-known photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange. He was lured first by the splendors of Yosemite and the California coast and later by portions of the lonely Red Rock Country of Utah and Arizona.

In his final letter to his brother, Ruess wrote:

… as to when I revisit civilization, it will not be soon. I have not tired of the wilderness... It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty... This had been a full, rich year. I have left no strange or delightful thing undone I wanted to do.


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