fruitaprinteSMOnce again, the Entrada Institute, Utah Watercolor Society, and Capitol Reef National Park have partnered to connect people with the arts and share the beauty of the natural world with others. They also share a passion for preserving the past including the many historic structures the watercolorists painted during the 2016 Arts and the Park event.

This year Plein art watercolorists were encouraged to explore and create art based on historic buildings found throughout Wayne County. They were each given a booklet containing 22 buildings from Fremont to Hanksville. To download this booklet, go to

Becky Pace of Teasdale purchased a watercolor of the Old Bicknell Relief Society Building painted by Kent R. Baker of Logan. Becky noted that her grandmother Dora MeeksMorrell was active at this building that is now known as the Bicknell DUP. Paintings of the Nielson grist mill, Torrey DUP, and Fruita schoolhouse were also popular at the art auction.


Some artists noted that the beauty of Wayne County extends from the day into the night. Capitol Reef National Park and the Entrada Institute are partnering on night sky initiatives that help make the public aware of the heritage of our dark skies and ways to preserve them for future generations. As part of promoting Capitol Reef National Park’s status as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, they are working to extend art, outdoor recreation, and education into the night.SMcrowd

According to Capitol Reef National Park Superintendent Leah McGinnis, art has special meaning for the National Park Service. In her talk at the Arts and the Park event on Saturday June 4, 2016, she stated that “in the 1800’s when early settlers traveled to the west after having seen some incredible landscapes, they tried to describe the indescribable through stories, but the grandeur of what they were seeing was lost in these descriptions. Then, in 1871, Thomas Moran was invited, along with photographer William Henry Jackson to join a 40 day survey expedition. For the first time, Americans and Europeans got their first look at some spectacular sites. Moran’s paintings and watercolors were able to capture the diversity and extravagant colors of the western landscapes in a way that captured the imagination of the nation. Through Moran’s paintings and Jackson’s photos, their combined creative vision transformed barely believable stories into visions of beauty worth protecting. Their work is often credited with persuading Congress and President Ulysses Grant to establish Yellowstone as the 1st National Park in 1872. Without art would we have had a Yellowstone, a Grand Canyon, a Zion or a Yosemite?”

McGinnis also noted that since the late 19th century artists have continued to influence the protection of these treasured lands. Artist such as George Catlin, Karl Bodmer, Thomas Hill and others have contributed to our understanding of these special places. Today, artists continue to visit the 411 NPS sites.

On Saturday June 4, art enthusiasts participated in the third annual Arts and the Park silent auction. Proceeds from the sales were divided among the artists, the Entrada Institute, and the Capitol Reef Natural History Association. Awards winners in the large format division included: First prize, Linda Flannery for Torrey Torrey Night; Second prize, Sue Martin for Sunrise Point at Sunset; Third prize, Suzette Bertsch for Gifford House; Honorable mention, Maggie Harrison for Torrey Sunset; Honorable mention, Sherry Meidell for At the Cliff Edge. In the small format division, award winners included: First prize, Jean Hanson for Capitol Reef Torn; Second prize, Kristi Gussendorf for Up the Road from Grand Wash; Third prize, Joyce Baron for Night Castle; Honorable mention, Maura Naughton for Old Torrey Schoolhouse; Honorable mention, Colleen Reynolds for Point Guard.

Thanks to the artists and many volunteers who make this annual art event a success. – Annette Lamb, Entrada Institute