Speaker Series

Paula L. McNeill: The Life and Works of the 2017 Featured Artist – Harriet Priska and Festured Vendor – Troy Anderson

LOCATION: Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
September 29, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join Paula L. McNeill in a discussion of the inspirations, processes, and resulting work of this year’s Featured Artist, Harriet Priska and Featured Vendor, Troy Anderson.  McNeill is an art educator and photographer who divides her time between Valdosta, Georgia, where she was on the art faculty at Valdosta State University and summers in Escalante, Utah, where her family has had a summer home since 1980.  A Southerner by birth, McNeill received her BA in Art from Arizona State University; her MA from the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque; and her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  With an interest in community-based art, for more than ten years, McNeill has documented the art and lives of visual artists in southern Utah through video-taped oral history interviews.  She has published some of these findings and has made numerous presentations at state and national professional meetings on this topic, including presentations on the Featured Artist for the Escalante Canyons Art Festival since 2004 when the Festival began. McNeill is currently involved in a similar study, the South Georgia Artists Oral History Project, documenting local artists in southern Georgia where she lives during the academic year.  Recently retired, McNeill taught art education and creativity courses at Valdosta State McNeill for many years.

Harriet Young Priska – 2017 Featured Artist

 “Painting the Town”  is the focus of Harriet’s watercolor paintings to bring fine art into the homes of residents of Escalante and fond memories to former residents and descendants.  As one of the founders of the Everett Ruess Days Art Festival in 2003, she realized this opportunity to engage the local people.  Harriet loves older homes and barns and it is very fulfilling for her to preserve the past in a meaningful way.  Harriet publishes prints, cards and calendars and does commissions to engage everyone in her endeavor.

Troy Anderson:  Spoonwright – 2017 Featured Vendor

At Spoonwright, they make a wide variety of spoons and other kitchen utensils out of wood with emphasis on reclaimed or salvaged wood. For example: their Pecan wood comes from orchards in southern Arizona that were removed because of housing development (same idea with their Pistachio wood); their Olive wood comes from the University of Arizona’s agriculture department; their Apple wood and Black Walnut comes from a friend’s ranch up in Wayne County, Utah; their Apricot comes from another friend in Wayne County; and their Mulberry wood comes from a tree on their family farm in southern Arizona.  Their products are both functional and lovely works of art. 


Todd Goodsell: Mormon and Village – Transformations of Time and Space in Mormon Villages

LOCATION: Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
September 29, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_(Latter_Day_Saints)

The Mormon Village community studies (conducted in three Utah “villages”: Escalante, Ephraim, and American Fork) are remembered for the conclusion that they are characterized by strong social solidarity, but that solidarity declined in the face of modernization. Recent research has found a more complex picture. Todd L. Goodsell will present findings from his work in Escalante and Ephraim over the last 20 years: In the face of social change, the bases of Mormon-Village solidarity separate into two parts: Mormon solidarity and Village solidarity. Mormonism separated from the village context becomes transhistorical and transspatial experience of faith and family. The village separated from Mormonism becomes a historical and spatial artifact. However, each may be enriched through dialogue with the other. 

Todd L. Goodsell, Ph.D., is a social researcher in the Correlation Research Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is interested in social change and community life, families, and culture. He has studied Mormon Villages (Escalante and Ephraim, Utah), for twenty years. Previous to his current position, he was on the faculty of the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and IUPUI.

Jared Warren: Mindful Photography

LOCATION: Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
September 29, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Outside, away from civilization, is a symphony of sensory experiences. Join 2017 GSENM Photography – Artist in Residence, Jared Warren, for an interactive presentation about awareness.  With a deep and varied history in Eastern philosophical traditions, mindfulness is training oneself to be aware, truly present, and to fully experience everything this moment has to offer.

Make the most of your outdoor adventures! Learn simple skills like slowing down, observing, savoring, and being aware of unreasonable or unhelpful thoughts that might get in the way of a positive experience in nature.

 Jared Warren is a professor, researcher, psychologist, father, student of life, and… photographer. He enjoys many genres of this art but finds landscape photography to be his own best therapy. He hopes his photography motivates others to spend more time in nature, to feel a stronger connection with the Source of all creation, and to savor all the goodness in life.  When not outside capturing the stunning landscapes of the western US, Jared is a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University where he teaches courses and conducts research on mindfulness. 


Stephanie Cooper: Explore Escalante Canyons Region Using Digital Maps on Your Mobile Device

LOCATION: Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
September 30, 2017 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Stephanie Cooper is just as attached to looking at and using physical paper maps, but has discovered that having the ability to know exactly where you are on that map is an incredibly powerful tool for decision making and efficiency in the backcountry.  During this program, she will share information about free digital mapping products available for download to your mobile device. Acquiring maps produced by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, National Geographic, and more has never been easier!  Mobile devices do not need cell reception to show where your location is on a map. This tool is perfect for those traveling throughout the Escalante Canyons region where cell reception can be unreliable and knowing exactly where you are can be a life-saver.

Stephanie Cooper grew up in south Salt Lake and from an early age spent much of her time exploring the Wasatch Mountains skiing, hiking, and camping. After graduating with a Biology degree from the University of Utah, she realized a passion for public service while interning for a summer at Capitol Reef National Park. This year Stephanie is working on a sign inventory project for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. When she isn’t working, you can find her outside exploring the incredible landscapes that surrounds Escalante.



Christa Sadler: Time Machine to the Past – What Fossils Tell us About Ancient Environments

LOCATION: Escalante Town Park
September 30, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Fossils are one of the best ways we have to help us recreate how our planet looked in the past. They can tell us if our landscape used to be an ocean or a river floodplain, a tidal flat or a swamp. This interactive presentation will use a large collection of plant and animal fossils and the audience’s own ideas to help us understand how fossils can help us learn about our past. After the discussion, people will be able to handle the fossils and see how amazing they are up close!

Christa Sadler is a paleontologist and educator from Flagstaff, Arizona. She is the author of Dawn of the Dinosaurs, about the beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs in the American Southwest, and Where Dinosaurs Roamed, about the extraordinary fossils of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. She thinks there is nothing more amazing than seeing creatures and plants that used to live millions of years ago.

Harun Mehmedinovic: SKYGLOW Project

LOCATION: Escalante Interagency Visitor Center
September 30, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

After a grueling three-year journey of over 150,000 miles traveled and 3,000,000 pictures taken, renowned timelapse filmmakers Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan proudly introduced SKYGLOW; a hardcover photo book and timelapse video series exploring North America’s remaining magnificent night skies and the grave threat of light pollution to our fragile environment. SKYGLOW explores the history and mythology of celestial observation, the proliferation of electrical outdoor lighting that spurred the rise of the phenomena known as “skyglow,” and the Dark Sky Movement that’s fighting to reclaim the night skies. Featured by rock legends The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, BBC Earth, National Geographic, Time, National Park Service, and over 1000 media outlets, SKYGLOW images and videos have been seen by over 200 million people.   To learn more about the SKYGLOW Project please click here.

Harun took up photography as a hobby during his road trips across America. Years later, his portrait project Bloodhoney* became one of the most successful Kickstarter photography campaigns of all time.  He is a regular contributor to BBC Earth, and has contributed photographs and videos to Vogue ItaliaNational GeographicAstronomy MagazineBBC TravelDiscovery Science, and Blindfold Magazine. Harun’s photography work has been featured by various media outlets, including TimeWiredNPR, Los Angeles TimesLA WeeklyVice, and Washington Post. It has also been the subject of a TEDx Talk. His videos have been featured at various events, most notably by The Rolling Stones on their ZIP CODE tour and the upcoming 2016/2017 tour; Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters’ 2016 Tour and Desert Trip Indio Concert; Trance duo Cosmic Gate’s am2pmmusic video; and National Park Service’s “100 Years” centennial video; among others. Harun’s photograph of the cloud-inverted Grand Canyon was listed among the 2015 best travel photos of the year by National Geographic, and in 2016, he was on the BBC Earth Instagram team that won a Webby Award for “Best Photography and Graphics.”  Recently, Harun began work as a cinematographer on Ice on Fire, a Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary for HBO. 

Follow Harun:
Instagram: @skyglowproject
Twitter: @skyglowproject
Facebook: Harun Mehmedinovic