Escalante: A Place for Art

Escalante, Utah is a true “HEART” of Bryce Canyon Country. Located on Scenic Byway 12 between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, it’s easy to see what inspires the artists who live and visit here to set up their easels and capture the area’s natural beauty or look to local Native American and pioneer history for inspiration. From a working arts festival to local galleries, Escalante is perhaps Bryce Canyon Country’s premiere art community.

One of Escalante’s most notorious artists is Everett Reuss. His diverse body of creative works includes watercolor and oil paintings, sketches, woodcuts, poetry and other musings clearly inspired by this ruggedly beautiful wilderness area. Before his mysterious disappearance in Davis Gulch, Ruess befriended and was mentored by other famous artists of his time, such as Maynard Dixon, Ansel Adams, and Dorthea Lange.

Today, artists come from near and far to participate in the Escalante Canyons Art Festival’s workshops, exhibits, “paint-out” and plein air competition. The plein air event is only for local artists from Garfield, Wayne, and Kane counties, and allows them six days to create their masterpieces beneath Escalante’s backdrop of red and white mountains, cliffs, canyons, and rock formations. The paint-out, on the other hand, requires artists to complete their paintings in just one day, within a mile of Escalante’s town park where pastoral views of historic buildings, rustic barns and verdant pastures spur their creativity. The 10th Escalante Canyons Art Festival also included a quilt exhibit featuring vintage and contemporary quilts from Escalante locals. This working arts festival is supported by two local non-profit arts organizations, Envision Escalante and the Escalante Canyons Group for Arts and Humanities.

Escalante also has several permanent art galleries featuring Native American and western-themed art, supplied primarily by local artists. You’ll find a variety of fine art and folk art, from watercolors, pen and ink, oil paintings, sculpture and photography to jewelry, petroglyph pottery, jewelry, artisan soaps and other traditional arts. The Serenidad Gallery specializes in art reflecting southern Utah’s scenic beauty and pioneer heritage, along with a wide variety of petrified wood, dinosaur bones, and rough and polished rocks. Gallery Escalante carries Navajo pottery, hand knits, leather journals, and other traditional handicrafts. Another local shop carries ceramic sculptures, handmade furniture, Navajo sand paintings, and rock art tiles. Even the local Cowboy Blues restaurant gets in on Escalante’s love of art, with a display of local arts. During the arts festival, you’ll find art exhibited just about everywhere in Escalante, even at the Escalante Interagency Office and local outfitters.

Escalante invites visitors from all over to come experience the natural scenic wonder and unique heritage of this visually beautiful region. 

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