The St. George Art Museum hosts the wildfire-themed art exhibition, Facing Fire

The St. George Art Museum reopened after its temporary closure in May with the new exhibition “Facing Fire”.

Coinciding with the start of fire season in Utah, the exhibit appeals to some on a more personal level, said Natalie Gula, the museum’s manager.

Facing Fire is an exhibit dedicated to the West Coast fires, featuring paintings, ceramics, photographs and a video that captures some of the largest fires California has ever seen. A native of Southern California, Gula moved here in part to escape those fires, she said.

“To me, it reminds me of an important reason why I kind of fled California,” Gula said. “I woke up on my doorstep and was evacuated from my home for 30 days in 2018 the Thomas fire. My house was fine, but my church wasn’t. So after that year it was just this permanent issue. And it became almost a year-round thing,” Gula said.

The St. George Art Museum is home to Facing Fire, a collection of works examining the severity and impact of the California wildfires on Thursday, June 9, 2022.

There are 96 photographs, three paintings, a grid of 44 small paintings, and a video projection in the exhibition along with an artifact. Each artwork describes creative works of art and vividly shows the effects of fire. The video projection is set in stages of mourning and shows time lapses of a couple of different fires viz the Thomas firethat Gula lived through and witnessed as it burned through more than 440 square miles across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, becoming what was then the largest single fire in modern California history.

Unwrapping the art took an emotional toll on Gula, sending her back to 2018 and everything she experienced growing up around California fires, but it’s not a bad thing.

“There is something beautiful about the uninhabitable rooms. So those images start interacting with your sense of morality,” Gula said.

Art can evoke different emotions and although it is difficult to contemplate, it has an even deeper meaning, especially than that The drought in southern Utah continues.

“Now that I’m in this position, I think it’s really special to have the opportunity to display something like this in this museum and just provide that to our community,” Gula said. “I mean, I think that’s really what it’s bringing together people like first responders and firefighters and California transplants, and also the natives of St. George can come and just have a look at their neighbors.

Housed in the St. George Art Museum "face fire," a collection of works examining the severity and impact of the wildfires in California, seen Thursday June 9, 2022.

The “Facing Fire” art exhibition will be open to the public from June to August. On June 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the museum will host its regular Art Talk with local representatives from the St. George Fire Department and Bureau of Land Management. Light refreshments will be available and the video projection will be presented.

The St. George Art Museum is funded by donations and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm with no admission fee.

To learn more about visiting the exhibition “Facing Fire”.

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