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The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Susan’s latest commission dedicated to zion national park

Last Saturday August 31st, Susan was honored to unveil one of her latest paintings, Zion’s Glow (72x72” acrylic on linen) at the Zion National Park Centennial Celebration. Commissioned by Zions Bank, the painting was dedicated at the VIP Dinner for the Utah Symphony concert featuring Sting.

Pictured (L-R): Susan Swartz, A. Scott Anderson, President & CEO of Zions Bank, Jim Swartz.

Pictured (L-R): Susan Swartz, A. Scott Anderson, President & CEO of Zions Bank, Jim Swartz.

Susan took the stage to present the work and convey some personal thoughts with the crowd:

It was truly an honor to be chosen as a Utah artist to create a work to commemorate Zion Park’s Centennial year. As an artist, I am inspired to paint what God has created. When I think of the incredible beauty from my many trips to Zion, I immediately conjure up images of its vibrant reds at sunset and sunrise. They are awe-inspiring and evidence of the true wonders of nature. It was in this vein that I wanted to capture the intensity of those reds in Zion’s Glow. It is my hope that Zion National Park and its Forever Foundation will enjoy it as much as I did creating it, as a tribute to such a special national treasure for which we are all here to celebrate."

Pictured (L-R) Photo 1: Jim and Susan Swartz, Congressman Ben McAdams, and Julie McAdams, and Byron Russell; Photo 2: Susan Swartz with Miles Hansen, President and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah, and Siena Hansen; Photo 3: Jim and Susan Swartz with Pat Mitchell and Scott Seydel; Photo 4 & 5: Susan speaks during the dedication of Zion’s Glow.

Read more about the benefit concert in our previous blog post and in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Sundance Film Festival Utah Women's Leadership Celebration

Sundance Institute and Zions Bank have joined forces to recognize women leaders in the arts.  This year’s award celebration fell at the end of the Sundance Film Festival, which hosted discussions and events surrounding the roles of women in the arts, particularly the film industry.  The award holds significant weight, occurring at a time when women in the film and television industries are trying to raise awareness and shift paradigms of gender norms.

The event celebrated women onscreen, behind the independent lens, and local role models.  As an involved member of the documentary film community and an artist, Susan’s award reads as follows:

For her leadership in the arts, we recognize Susan Swartz, an internationally acclaimed visual artist who explores nature through potent colors and richly layered abstract paintings. Inspired by the intersection of art, nature and spirituality, her distinctive style has earned her a place in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Springville Museum of Art.  Susan was the Official Olympic Environmental Artist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and is published in the Gibbs Smith collectors book Painters of the Wasatch Mountains.  She is a member of the Deans Council of the Harvard Divinity School and a Founder of the Christian Center of Park City and Impact Partners, producing many award winning documentary films.  

The award was presented at the Sundance Film Festival Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration, a luncheon and private film event honoring female leaders in the arts.  The luncheon included a presentation by Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media.

At the end of the celebration, Zions Bank presented Geena Davis with a Susan Swartz original painting in recognition of all the hard work she has done for women in media and the arts.  In Susan’s words the painting, Crimson Fog, “symbolizes Geena’s exuberance for life and activist endeavors.  The red color of the painting represents Geena and the strength and capabilities that women hold.”

Susan is honored to have participated in this celebration and to have been able to help Zions Bank recognize Geena for her impact on women in the arts.  Geena, Susan, and the women in attendance have been and will continue to be trailblazers for women in the arts and media.