Meet Mel Scott, a Utah Tech alumna, professor who inspires the community

Mel Scott, a founder of the Art Guild and Water Society, proudly displays her art in her home gallery. Through years of teaching and mentoring, Scott remains a beacon of creativity and inspiration to her students. Abigail Byington | Sun News Daily

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You may have heard the name Mel Scott, an artist who creates vivid pictures with beautiful colors using any medium.

Scott is an artist and alumna of Utah Tech University. Scott offers lessons for anyone who is interested in creating art and offers a friendly environment for them to learn.

Scott has been teaching art in St. George since 1976 but has been teaching it all her life since she helped teachers in high school and helped her friends with their assignments.

She taught at the university in the early 2000s and came back to Community Education in 2017. Scott typically teaches two to three classes per semester at CE. She teaches many mediums, all levels and all ages.

“It’s an adventure, every class is an adventure,” Scott said.

The university asked her to teach something that’s never been taught in a medium she has never used. So, she found oil bars and figured out how to use them to teach painting with oil bars.

“But these are the kind of experiences I have all the time,” Scott said. “And I’m just so grateful, you know. I would never have done these had they not given me the opportunity.”

Tyson Pulsipher, director of community education, said: “We get a lot of people that love to take her class. A lot of students take her class over and over again.” 

Scott has her own studio located in her home and teaches private lessons; anyone can take these lessons with her. 

Pulsipher said, “She’s very involved with the art community, the local community, you know, so she had art in the shows and in the galleries.”

Scott is one of the founders of the Art Guild and Watercolor Society. There are five founders, and the founders set the rules and goals together. Scott is the youngest in the group and was elected to be in charge.

Scott said: “There was just a need. The community needed us, and so we learned with the retired people that came in.”

Scott helped save the St. George City Art Museum because it was going to be torn down. To save it, she and others started fundraising and having nights once a month where they would set up their easels on the dirt floor underneath the museum and people would watch them paint. The city representatives decided to keep the building after that.

She has taught for other places in town including middle schools and Tuacahn High School for the Arts. She also taught art on her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The inspiration for creating art has been her mother and family. They always told her, “You can do anything you want to do if you want to do it bad enough, just find a way.” Scott said she was raised on this motto. 

“I have always decided that if I want to do something bad enough like my mother said, you will find a way,” Scott said. “And I have an intuition and I listen to it.”

Scott said when she is doing a painting, she will know instinctively what needs to be in her piece because she’s had all these years of trial and error.

J.R. Green, a student of Scott’s, took her first class 10 years ago. Scott wasn’t teaching the class for money, but rather, she was donating her time. It was an extra class she did for the Southern Utah Art Guild. 

“She was able to bring out your creativity and onto the paper,” Green said. “She’s one of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever had.”

Green said generally Scott won’t touch your paintings, but she’ll give you advice on your painting.

Green said, “I think everyone should go to her art gallery, and I think everyone should take at least one class from her, whether it’s in her gallery or at the school.”