Announcing Zion’s Centennial Artists

Zion National Park’s Centennial Celebration of Art

November 5-10, 2019
By Lyman Hafen

Honoring Zion National Park’s 2019 Centennial, the Forever Project, in partnership with the Park, have planned a distinct celebration of art and history during our traditional plein air art week, November 5-10, 2019. Along with our featured artist, Arlene Braithwaite, we’ve invited ten artists from among the featured artists of our first ten years to participate in this year’s celebration as “Centennial Artists.” This year’s event is shorter, modified, and more streamlined to fit in with the other great things happening during the Zion National Park Centennial. We’re calling it: “100 Objects – 100 Images,” and it will juxtapose the legacy of art in the canyon with the park’s history. It is designed to continue, in a new and exciting way, the great tradition of art in the park established over the first ten years of our plein air event.

Arlene Braithwaite was selected last year to be our Featured Centennial Artist in 2019. In addition, our committee has selected ten Centennial Artists to paint in the park during the week. Our full slate of invited artists this year includes:

Featured Zion Centennial Artist

  • Arlene Braithwaite

Zion Centennial Artists

  • John Cogan
  • Michelle Condrat
  • Bill Cramer
  • Cody DeLong
  • George Handrahan
  • Buffalo Kaplinski
  • Roland Lee
  • James McGrew
  • Kate Starling
  • Suze Woolf

Many of the traditional elements of the Zion Plein Air week will be held with the 11 invited artists. A keynote presentation by Arlene Braithwaite will be on Wednesday evening. There will be artist demonstrations on the Museum patio by the Centennial Artists on Wednesday and Thursday. There will be a lecture on Thursday evening. The opening reception will be on Friday evening. And the traditional paint-out and silent auction at the Zion Lodge will be on Saturday. Stay tuned to our website for more details.

In addition this year, the park curator is staging a concurrent Museum exhibit of 100 historic objects to commemorate the park Centennial, and to add an extra dimension to the art exhibit. Contemporary art, and historic objects, will be on display for everyone who attends the activities during the week. Art aficionados will get a dose of history, while history buffs will get a dose of art. The two will overlap as several historic Zion paintings will be brought out of the archives especially for this exhibit.

The Centennial Artists will create five original Zion Paintings, including a large designated “Centennial Painting,” which will all be included in an online virtual exhibit beginning September 15, and continuing through the end of the event in November. Those paintings, along with the plein air work created by the Centennial Artists during the week, will be hung in the Zion Museum Auditorium for actual exhibit/sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 8, 9, and 10.

We are especially excited to host these eleven outstanding artists whose variety of styles and mediums express the wonder and beauty of Zion Canyon across a wide spectrum of interpretation. They are each artists who have connected deeply with visitors over the years, not only through their remarkable art, but through their pleasing personalities and their willingness to share their thoughts on painting and on what the park means to them.

Some, like Roland Lee, Bill Cramer, Cody DeLong, John Cogan, and George Handrahan, have participated in nearly every Zion art event over the last ten years. Suze Woolf has not only been a perennial favorite in Zion, but was also an artist in residence in the canyon. Michelle Condrat has dazzled visitors with her unique style for several years, as has James McGrew, who when he isn’t painting, works as a park ranger in Yosemite. The most abstract painter of the group, Buffalo Kaplinski, is returning to Zion after a few years’ absence. His work has excited many attendees as it opens their eyes to new ways of seeing the park. The elegant, majestic and powerful pastels by Arlene Braithwaite are among the most beloved work produced in Zion. She, along with Kate Starling, who stands among the greatest painters in the history of Zion, were among the original artists in the Zion event. In fact, with Arlene’s pastels, Kate’s oils, Roland Lee’s watercolors, and the work of each of the other invited artists, we have the bases covered when it comes to the finest contemporary art in Zion.

This year’s art celebration is designed to commemorate the first 100 years of Zion as a national park, recognize the legacy of art in the history of the canyon, and honor eleven contemporary artists who have helped perpetuate that legacy over the last ten years.