ST. GEORGE – Expectations were surpassed Friday at the grand opening of the St. George Red Cliff Gallery, new home to the Southern Utah Art Guild in the former courthouse building in the St. George City Commons at 220 N. 200 E. in St. George.
The 2,200-square-foot lobby of the renovated courthouse was packed with 180 pieces of visual artwork, created by local artists for the facility’s opening art show.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
A reception to honor the participating artists started at 4 p.m. An awards ceremony began with Tim Rogers playing “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” on his Native American flute, paying tribute to veterans, especially those who took part in D-Day. After the military tribute, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who judged the art contest, handed out awards.
When the state decided to build a new courthouse in 2009, the city obtained the old courthouse in a three-way trade between the state, school district and city.
“We figured we could use it, as time went by, for office space,” Pike said. “We were never really thinking it would house a visual arts gallery.”
The city chose to preserve the entryway of the building to let in natural light, which showcases the artwork displayed. A grand piano was brought in from the St. George Opera House to provide music for those visiting the gallery.
Landscaping outside the building has been transformed from concrete slabs to desert scenery, with three pedestals displaying sculptures to extend the art outside.
Renovation of the space where the gallery and other departments are housed took 1 1/2 years to complete and cost $750,000. Currently, information technology, leisure services, the St. George Police Department, and Southern Utah Art Guild occupy the building. The total cost of the renovation when finished is estimated to be around $1.5 million.
“We look at this as an outstanding opportunity to bring the talent in the area out with a beautiful place to display art,” Michael Foot, Southern Utah Art Guild president, said.
The Southern Utah Art Guild worked closely with the city to fulfill and deliver the vision of the gallery that stands today.
“We are so thankful to the city,” Foot said, “and that they invited us and that the council made the decision to spend the money to obtain and renovate this building.”
The City of St. George was also awarded with the Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award for its art community this year. According to a post on the Southern Utah Art Guild’s Facebook page, Lynette Hiskey presented the award this week and was also able to visit the new Red Cliff Gallery opening.
Additional art shows have been scheduled to be held in the Red Cliff Gallery through May 2015. The current show will be on display through June 20 and will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. All local artists are invited to enter their work in future shows.
Pike and Foot each said that the Southern Utah Art Guild and the city look forward to making Southern Utah an art destination.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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