The Cedar City Arts Council (CCAC) is made up of artists and art lovers of all kinds. The Council’s dynamic working board of directors—there is no paid staff—represents dance, literary, music, theatre, visual arts, and beyond in Iron County, Utah. If you’re passionate about the arts and cultural scene in Iron County, please voice your opinions and interest using our survey.
Mary Anne Andersen | Mary Anne and her husband retired to Cedar City in 1999, with the intent of finding the good life in a place where they had vacationed for forty years. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and music from the University of Utah, acquiring a Phi Beta Kappa key and a husband along the way. The couple’s educational pursuits took them to Arizona, Salt Lake City, and finally Fresno, California, for twenty-five years. While in California, Mary Anne raised three daughters, studied piano, taught as an adjunct professor of piano at Fresno City College, and maintained a large studio of private students. The “retirement” to Cedar City has been anything but. The past fourteen years have offered Mary Anne a new class of private students, adjunct teaching and accompanying at SUU, service work in church and community, five years as a member of the Spectrum’s Writers’ Group, and positions on the Cedar City Music Arts board and the Cedar City Arts Council board, where she chairs the Artists’ Grants Awards committee and leads the literary group.
Rachel Parker Bishop, Secretary| Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre & Media Arts (with an emphasis in Stage Management) from Brigham Young University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Arts Administration from Southern Utah University. Rachel has worked in various types of arts organizations across the country, and is currently the Interim Director of the Arts Administration Program at Southern Utah University. When not teaching at SUU, Rachel works as a consultant for non-profit arts organizations and feeds her home renovation addiction. She lives in Cedar City with her husband (a fellow SUU faculty member), two young children, and a dachshund named Molly.
Rachelle Bonnett | Rachelle completed a BFA in Studio Art at New Mexico Highlands University; and is currently working towards an MFA in Arts Administration at Southern Utah University. She grew up in Southeast Alaska, which profoundly affected her view of the natural world, sense of adventure, and fuels her personal creativity. With a background in visual arts, her biggest inspiration as an artist has been recreating experiences, connections, and nostalgia of place. She works in ceramic, sculpture, mixed media, painting, and photography. Her love for art and the outdoors has influenced an interest in working with public art and outdoor sculpture.
Tyler Braun | Tyler owned and operated an independent bookstore from 1999-2012. Throughout those years he organized author readings, signings, concerts and art shows. After selling the bookstore he decided to “float” and see where the current took him. This led him to working in the construction industry and remodeling an old grain mill to host art shows. Both of these experiences were building blocks for his long term plan of creating an arts center. His dream includes an art gallery, ceramics studio, cafe, eco-design cottage rentals, and West African drum and dance classes. Tyler has also been on the Groovefest American Music Festival committee since 2003.
Kirt Brown | Kirt teaches art and coaches swimming and water polo at Canyon View High School. He completed his BFA in drawing and printmaking at Brigham Young University. He’s worked for the Iron County School District for eight years, and occasionally finds time to work on his own paintings.
Debbie Drake, President | Debbie graduated from SUU with Interior Design and Art Composite degrees which she used for 25 years, creating what she called “Architectural Art,” designing creative custom homes and Parade of Homes. More recently, she has completed her Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and is the director of the Business Department at Southwest Applied Technology College, where her objective is to assist adults in reaching their career goals by furthering their professional development.
Sara Penny | Sara serves as the director of Suzuki Strings under the auspices of Southern Utah University, and as administrative assistant of Orchestra of Southern Utah. She plays violin in the orchestra and viola in the Southern Utah Quintet. Her B.A. is from the University of Utah in communications, and her extensive string training began at age 8, with teacher Roy L. Halversen. Her husband, Des, is an engineering professor who has subsidized her love of music so she could be of service. Their two children both play cello. Their son, Brian, is a sound engineer in New York and is now focused on the guitar. Their daughter, Bridget, is married and is busy raising four small children. Sara loves live music, art, photography, friends, family, and teaching children how to make their own music.
Ann Middleton, Vice President | Anne completed her undergraduate degree in Illustration and minor in Museum Studies at Southern Utah University. She has lead publishing projects with fellow visual artists and has come to love the challenge in art collaborations and community projects. When she finds time to work on personal projects, she prefers the unforgivable nature of ink whether it is applied with a pen or a brush. She grew up with a passport that her parents never allowed to expire and this lead to a passion for travel and taking inspirati0on from cultural art. Though she has wanderlust in her heart, she always finds her way back to Southern Utah.
Denise Purvis | Denise is Assistant Professor of Dance at SUU, where she teaches ballet, modern, jazz and tap technique, composition, creative dance for children, and K-12 methods. Prior to joining SUU, she designed and directed the dance program for the Chesterfield County Specialty Center for the Arts at Thomas Dale High School in Chester, VA. From 2008– 2012, she danced with Starr Foster Dance Project in Richmond, VA. She has devoted much of her career to creating quality arts programs for children. In New York, she was recipient of several grants funding inter-disciplinary arts programs. In Cedar City, she organizes four inter-disciplinary arts workshops per year, offering free classes in dance, theatre, and visual art to children. Purvis holds an MFA in Dance Performance/Choreography from the SUNY Brockport, where she was on faculty from 2000–2004. She was also on faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in Geneva, NY, from 2003-2004. In addition to her MFA, she holds an undergraduate degree in dance from Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, VA; and she studied dance at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Certified to teach the Bill Evans method, Purvis has been privileged to study under Mr. Evans, Don Halquist, Debra Knapp, Susie Lundgren, Kitty Daniels, Eugene Roscoe, Sharon Kinney, Barbara Grubel, Bebe Miller, Mark Haim, Risa Steinberg, Nina Watt, and many other wonderful dancer/choreographers.
Teri Saa | Teri is a self-taught artist who can’t seem to keep herself from creating. As a young girl, Teri saw herself as an artist and since then has dabbled in pastels, watercolors, oils, photography, sculpting, and beadwork. After college, Teri went into business. Her creative spirit developed one small business after another. She even wrote a book, The Wisdom Chronicles—An Everywoman’s Awakening to Her Purpose, that is published by Moment Point Press, but nothing seemed to satisfy her. Art was in her soul and she knew that someday she’d have to let it escape. Well, someday arrived seven years ago when Teri and Her husband, Alfredo, moved to Cedar City from Denver. Teri is now perfecting her sculpting techniques and producing both contemporary and traditional figures. Teri is also the Management Assistant at Cedar Breaks National Monument.Utah University. Deb is frequently invited to teach, speak, judge, and perform at local, regional, and national events, and is the recipient of the 2009 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award from the Colorado Art Education Association.
Danny Stewart | Danny is the economic development director for Cedar City Corporation. He graduated from Southern Utah University in 1990 and has worked as the Cedar City Bureau Editor at the Spectrum Cedar City Daily News, and as a publisher and graphic designer for Preferred Publishing. Danny and his wife, Suzanne, have three children.
Nathaniel “Nano” Taggart | Nano completed his undergraduate degree in English at Utah State University; and his MFA in Arts Administration at Southern Utah University. In 2009, he co-founded Sugar House Review—Utah’s only independent, print poetry magazine. You can see some of his own writing in places like Diagram, Specs, A Capella Zoo, and Weber: The Contemporary West. He serves as annual fund manager at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
Diane Walsh | Diane moved from Chicago to Cedar City in September of 2013 after 32 years with AT&T. She has three children, one of whom has followed her out to this beautiful place. Diane has always been fascinated with art, especially painting and painters. She paints every day and this has been her salvation. She misses the art museums and galleries in Chicago, but thinks there is a depth of talent here in Cedar City, just some of which we know. She has taken classes and workshops from some great artists, including Janis Pozzi-Johnson (5 years at Evanston Art Center), who taught her how to see and translate to a surface; and workshops at Dillmans Bay Resort by Frank LaLumia, who taught her the joy of “plein air” painting and to limit her palette (She can mix any color!). Diane believes that art is healing, and she’s honored to work on behalf of Cedar City’s local arts community.
Steve Yates | A Colorado native, Steve has made Cedar City his home since 1980. After graduating from SUU (then SUSC) in 1987 with a major in English Literature and a minor in Anthropology, he worked a range of jobs from retail management to newspaper ad sales, and from magazine copywriting to freelance graphic design/photography. Steve found his niche in August of 2012 as director of Artisans Art Gallery, a position he finds “incredibly rewarding.” As a sideline, he operates S Yates Art & Design, offering art reproduction, printing, photography, and graphic design. His current project is photographing the art of southern Utah artist Jimmie Jones for an upcoming book by SUU professor, James Aton. Steve enjoys creating his own unusual art, long hikes in Zion and Bryce Canyons, reading, writing, live music, and spending time in his kitchen, where he makes “a mean shrimp vindaloo.” He appreciates the chance to be on the CCAC board, and looks forward to helping advance the arts in Cedar City.