Mona Lisa's wry smile could spread to a full-faced grin on a Lehi stage this summer. And the sculpture of David, another creation of Leonardo da Vinci, may join her in a curtain call.
A $15,000 donation by Neways Corp. to the Lehi Arts Council will fund a two-week summer production of "Legacy of Living Arts," during which actors will dramatize well-known works of art.Such an art form was introduced to Utah in the early 1970s by Bill Kirkpatrick and David Brockbank at the Utah Pageant of the Arts in American Fork.
After seven years of success, the production was moved from Utah County to Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre in 1987. It was performed there until 1990.
"For the past eight years, this beloved art form has been conspicuously missing from the art community until now," said Ray L. Carter, development director for the Lehi Arts Council.
Nina Schumann agreed. The former makeup director for the Utah Pageant of the Arts persuaded the governing board of the Lehi Arts Council last year to pursue options to revive a production showcasing live performances of well-known works of art.
The biggest hurdle, Carter said, was finding the money to produce the show.
Initial costs were estimated at $15,000, and few financial avenues were available. The arts group began looking for donors with a "reputation for a commitment to the arts," Carter said.
Salem's Neways didn't hesitate to become co-sponsor of the event when contacted for a contribution. Company officials decided to kick in the entire amount needed to finance the production, Carter said.
This year's production is slated to begin July 8 at Lehi High School, 180 N. 500 East.
Recent performances of vignettes that may be included in the pageant have drawn rave reviews. Four sets were depicted during Statehood Days, an annual celebration of the Utah Historical Society hosted by Lehi in January.
As part of the performance, actors brought to life Minerva Teichert's "Spinning Wheel" and James Taylor Harward's "Come Follow Me!"
"As we started looking into it, we saw it was a very worthwhile cause," said Randy Gleave, company spokesman. "I think it will be a big hit. We are thrilled to be a part of it."
Dee Mower, vice president of the company, said she was "delighted" to be involved with the production. The cost may double, but that doesn't distract her.
"It's a different culture in Utah, and we're getting better," she said. "It's been fun to see the arts grow in Utah."