Sears Art celebrates 37 years of inspiration, creativity at invitational art show

The 37th Annual Sears Invitational Art Show and Sale presents over 200 works of art from various local artists. The gallery is located in the Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center at Utah Tech University, and it is open for the general public to view from Feb. 17 until March 31. Abigail Byington | Sun News Daily

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For the past 37 years, the Sears Invitational Art Show and Sale has raised money toward maintaining the Sears Art Museum. The museum has inspired students and art lovers alike with its award-winning art.

The show and sale began Feb. 17 and will go until March 31.

Located in the Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center at Utah Tech University, the museum features over 100 artists and 200 pieces of art this year.

The museum is named in recognition of Robert N. and Peggy B. Sears for their commitment to establishing an art museum at the university.

James Peck, director and curator of the Sears Art Museum, said: “Bob Sears worked with former Dixie College President Doug Alder to create the annual invitation-only art show to help raise money to help build a museum. Bob and Peggy Sears also donated their extensive Native American art collection to the college art museum.”

Art featured in the museum ranges in many mediums from oil, acrylic, pastel and even sculptures.

One of the artists at the gallery is Alex Chamberlain, the art department chair and associate professor of animation and photography at Utah Tech. His art, “Chrysalis,” features a black and white image of a slot canyon in southern Utah.

”I think the concept of narrative and shape are the consistent elements,” Chamberlain said. “I desperately want to tell the stories and show the visions in my head.”

This year’s exhibit has a wide variety of art including landscape, portrait, western, abstract and impressionistic pieces.

”In a world so heavily driven by logic and facts, it can be difficult to remember the things that make us human, things like emotion and shared stories,” said Brooklyn Ollis, a senior fine arts major from Lyman, Wyoming. “Art connects us to each other in a way very few things can.”

The museum’s mission is to engage visitors with art that provides meaningful connections and opportunities for conversation, contemplation and a cooperative experience.

”The Sears Gallery is important because it is a professional showcase, not only for us upcoming artists to aspire to one day be a part of, but it is a showcase of bits and pieces of St. George’s culture,” Ollis said.

Past exhibits have been focused around Utah’s national parks, women’s western art and Utah Tech’s student artwork.

Ollis said, “To have such an esteemed gallery in connection to the college is an incredible opportunity for us art students to utilize, whether it is to study accomplished artists or participate in shows to gain experience.”

Artists featured in the gallery also have a chance to win awards. This year the Purchase Prize winner went to “Now It Sets Upon Me” by Brian Astle, and Best in Show went to “Water Under the Bridge” by Ron Larson.

“The Sears Art Gallery has collected more than 3,000 works of art,” Peck said. “I could write pages and pages of its accomplishments.”

The Sears Art Museum is free, and all visitors are welcome and encouraged to view or buy the art.

”Artists find the beauty in being human, our mistakes or the things we fail to notice in our day-to-day lives,” Ollis said. “This to me is why art is important.”