Elder Oaks dedicates Springville sculpture garden

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2009 4:34 p.m. MDT

SPRINGVILLE, Utah  — In 1918 Cyrus E. Dallin created "The Spirit of Life," a bronze

sculpture that is now a focal point in the Stewart Sculpture Garden, a new

addition to the Springville Museum of Art.

On Tuesday his namesake, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve of

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the new garden.__IMAGE1__He also rededicated the museum, which then-Elder David O. McKay

originally dedicated as a "sanctuary of beauty" in 1937. Elder Oaks repeated

those words in his short dedicatory prayer and then blessed the

contributors.

Years earlier Cyrus E. Dallin used his own mother as the model when he sculpted the

pioneer mother statue, which is in Springville's city park, Elder Oaks said.

An expectant mother sat on a ditch bank listening and watching with 10,000

other people as the artist unveiled the statue July 25, 1932, then 18 days later

she gave birth to the future apostle.

"That was where my name Dallin comes from," Elder Oaks said.

His mother was a devoted fan of the artist.

During his growing-up years, Elder Oaks' mother brought him and his younger

siblings to the museum almost as an annual summer event when they lived in Twin

Falls, Idaho, and then nearby Payson.

Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert called the museum one of Utah's treasures, adding that

he would not have appreciation for the arts were it not for his mother.

The arts are important, he said, because society isn't as refined as it once

was.

"Museums uplift and motivate us," he said, "and helps us become creative and

innovative."

The sculpture garden, which also holds works by Mahonri M. Young, Avard F.

Fairbanks, Anna Coleman Ladd and many others, is on the south side of the museum

using as its back wall the wall of the neighboring gymnasium and Cherry Creek

Elementary School.

Building the Spanish revival sculpture garden, enclosed on the east and west

with new walls, "started as a modest project and got grander and grander, "

Springville Museum of Art Association member Diane Carr said. Planning began in

2005 with much of the construction completed during the past year.

Museum director Vern Swanson paid homage to Dallin, who with artist John

Hafen started the art movement in Springville. The museum grew out of that

movement, built during the Great Depression. Dallin later relocated to Boston

where he set up his studio.

David Cook, past president of the museum association, presented the sculpture

garden to the city and City Councilman Phil Bird, a member of the association

board.

Utah County Commissioner Gary Anderson honored the donors and volunteers who

built the garden, which is named after major donors Diane and Sam Stewart. None

of the money came from taxpayers, Bird said.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com

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