Following the Tradition of Zion’s Great Artists

Funding Needed: $20,030

As a member of the John Wesley Powell expedition, Thomas Moran first sketched Zion Canyon in July 1873. The spirit of the canyon deeply influenced Moran who continued to document Zion through pencil and paint the remainder of his life. At the 1904 World’s Fair, visitors stood in awe as they caught their first glimpse of the Zion landscape through viewing Frederick Dellenbaugh’s seminal work, “Zion Canyon.” In 1933, Maynard Dixon and his family spent the summer in Zion and six years later built a home 17 miles outside the park boundary. Moran, Dellenbaugh, and Dixon, three of the West’s great artists, were inspired by their time spent inside Zion. Their paintings are a voice for conservation and help others experience Zion’s diverse beauty and significance.

This project gives local students the opportunity to follow in Moran, Dellenbaugh, and Dixon’s footsteps as they create their own works of art inside Zion National Park. This pilot project will develop and implement an art history curriculum for middle and high school students at two area schools, including a residential treatment center that serves girls ages 12 to 17. After completing pre-site activities, students will visit places within Zion where Moran, Dellenbaugh, and other artists have created their masterpieces. Under the guidance of park rangers, Zion’s Plein Air artists, and art experts from the community, students will create their own Zion-inspired work. A selection of student artwork will be displayed in an exhibit open to the general public at the park’s Human History Museum. The curriculum developed will be incorporated into Zion’s distance learning program and available to teachers and classrooms reaching across all districts and borders. While creating their own art, the students will join the artists who first inspired a nation to create and protect our National Parks.