ST. GEORGE — The St. George Arts Commission recently presented artist Del Parson and dance teacher and poet Candy L. Fowler as the “2018 Award of Excellence in the Arts” recipients for the city of St. George.
Parson was raised in Rexburg, Idaho, where his father was an art professor at Ricks College and his mother taught second grade. Parson found his father’s love of art to be contagious and began painting in college, where he realized that he had a natural ability and keen interest in that endeavor.
After earning his master’s of fine arts from Brigham Young University, he became a freelance artist in 1975. He illustrated for magazines published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 1978, his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident.
“He felt the Spirit of God helping him through the difficult times and began to paint religious subjects to give others the sense of hope that he found and to share with them his love of life,” a news release reads.
His paintings of religious subjects have been well received by a worldwide clientele. He has taught thousands of students in his 25 year career as a teacher at Dixie State University.
Fowler grew up in Granger where she graduated from high school as the sterling scholar in English and was also crowned Utah’s “Junior Miss.”
As a young dancer, Fowler performed under the direction of Virginia Tanner in the Children’s Dance Theater at the University of Utah. She performed with the theater in the Seattle World’s Fair. Through her years of training at the University of Utah, she had the opportunity to work with dance pioneers, such as Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow, Ririe-Woodbury, RDT and Bella Lewitzsky.
She attended the University of Utah as a presidential scholar in dance with a minor in English. She later taught children’s dance at the University of Utah for many years.
In 1977, Fowler moved with her family to St. George where she was hired to teach modern dance at then-Dixie College. She concurrently founded Southwest Dance Theater in St George and produced original dance plays. Her program was taken into the continuing education department at Dixie State with over 300 students.
She also founded the dance program at Tuacahn Center for the Performing Arts and served on the Utah Arts Council. In addition to Dance, Fowler is a skilled writer and poet. Her poetry has won on both state and national levels. In 2015, Fowler was selected by the Utah State Poetry Society as the Utah Poet of the Year based upon her manuscript, “On a Road that Knows Me.”
Both award recipients were celebrated at a recent St. George City Council meeting and reception held in the St. George City Council Chambers.
Mayor Jon Pike described the two individuals as “well deserving and well loved citizens who have positively impacted not only the arts community of Southern Utah, but literally thousands of lives who have been inspired by their excellence in art, dance and literature. We are very proud of both Del and Candy.”