Everyone has worked so hard to get the association going, adds Marilyn Gandre, a member of the IAA board of directors. "It's so great to promote uplifting art."
What many people don't realize is that there is "a huge renaissance of art coming out of Utah," says Sandra B. Rast, a member of the IAA board. "There are so many magnificent, professional, inspiring artists. This is a fabulous venue for them, a gift we can give to the world. Together we can all influence families' lives and homes and counteract all the negativity out there. Together, we can fight for goodness."
Jon McNaughton agrees. "I've heard that Utah County has more artists per capita than any other county in the country." Inspirational art doesn't have to be just religious images or sacred settings, he adds. McNaughton is known for his landscapes. "This is a great new fraternity of artists; something I've never seen happen before. A lot of us have been lone rangers."
There are economic benefits in working together, he says. "But a lot of us don't do it for the money. Sure, it's nice to support ourselves. But we do it for more than that. We do it because that's who we are, it is a part of us."
Inspirational art was "a natural outgrowth of what's important to me," Olsen says. "My art reflects my faith, my love of family." And that's the same for the other artists. "The philosophy behind the group is simply to promote art that lifts people, however that happens."
Photographer Scott Sumner is also excited about the association and its broad scope. At times in the past, LDS artists have been blackballed by other groups, he says, "but the boundaries are falling. More and more, we see people coming together. We want all artists to showcase what is faith-promoting to them. Many, many people recognize that God has given them a talent that they want to use for the benefit of their fellow men."
Visual arts are a powerful force, he adds. "They have such a powerful influence on the human mind. We want to make more of that art available for minds to absorb. We want to help people recognize God's hand in their own lives. That can happen with all different media. People see with their hearts and their feelings, and the way they relate to art becomes priceless."
Or, as poet Robert Browning said, "art is the one way possible of speaking the truth."
If you go...
What: Inspirational Art Association Inaugural Exhibition
When: Friday, 1-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Bonneville Room, Joseph Smith Memorial Building
e-mail: carma @desnews.com
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