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Thursday, January 9, 2014

NEWS: Friend of SUU's Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery Honored by the Utah Museum Association for Volunteerism

Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah: For three decades, Cedar City resident and Chair of the Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, Anne Gardner has been a tireless volunteer supporting all aspects of the visual arts from fundraising to being an artist herself. Recently the Utah Museum Association honored Gardner by presenting her with the Bessie Jones Volunteer Award for outstanding volunteer service. The award was presented at the association’s annual conference which this year was held in Salt Lake City in conjunction with the Western Museums Association’s conference.

As a founding member of the Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, Anne Gardner was instrumental in the creation of the organization’s annual art auction which has raised funds that have brought in major exhibitions into the Gallery. In addition, the Gallery’s educational and outreach programs have brought art experiences to thousands of Iron County K-12 students on an annual basis largely supported by Anne’s fundraising efforts. Anne has been a major driving force behind the forthcoming Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) which is a part of the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University. This new facility features increased gallery space as well as a fully equipped classroom to be used by students, members of the community and enthusiasts from throughout the region. An artist herself, Anne has donated her paintings to various fundraisers that benefit arts in southern Utah. 

Originally from northern California, Anne moved to Cedar City, Utah, in 1983, and immediately became involved with the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery at SUU. In 1988, Anne was instrumental in the creation of the Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery which is dedicated to supporting the Gallery’s major exhibitions, educational programs and endeavors. Anne has served on the Friends’ board and acted as its Chair, on and off for more than 10 years. Under Anne’s leadership the Friends developed its Annual Art Auction, the group’s chief fundraiser, which in its first year offered 14 pieces of art by local artists and raised $4,100. Last year’s auction raised nearly $30,000 and over the years, the auction has raised more than $300,000. In her leadership capacity, Anne has helped select the Gallery’s major fall exhibitions which, over the decades, has included: Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos, Fredereic Remington Makes Tracks, Winslow Homer in America and the recording-breaking National Geographic Greatest Portraits

Formidable and compelling, Anne was one of the driving forces in convincing former SUU President Michael T. Benson that what the university and community really needed was an art museum. To prove her commitment to the project, Anne was one of the first to make a significant gift to the project and has remained an active fundraiser for the SUMA which has included a $75,000 contribution from the Friends of the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery. 

The Bessie Jones Volunteer Award is given to a volunteer or volunteers who have actively supported the mission or program of a Utah Museum Association (UMA) Member Museum. Nomination must include scope of work, time served and institutional impact of volunteer. Such a nominee must be sponsored by UMA member. The nomination must include the scope of the volunteer’s work, time served and overall institutional impact.    

The Southern Utah University College of Performing and Visual Arts is comprised of nationally accredited departments of Art and Design, Music, Theatre Arts and Dance, as well as a graduate program in Arts Administration and a Center for Shakespeare Studies. The College offers 16 different degree areas, including liberal arts Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees; professional Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Arts in art and theatre degrees; and a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration degree. More than 60 full- and part-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 550 majors in the College. Over 1100 students enroll each year in over 195 arts classes on the SUU campus. The College presents 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year. The College’s affiliate organizations include the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the SUU Ballroom Dance Company. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, contact the Office of the Dean at (435) 865-8561, or by e-mail at 

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