Dixie State University’s very own McGarren Flack was awarded the 2018 Visual Arts fellow for the state of Utah over spring break.
Flack, the assistant professor of studio art at DSU, has applied for the fellowship three times, and there are other professors at DSU who have been applied more than three times.
Only two artists in the entire state of Utah are selected each year. The winners receive a $10,000 reward and a title that represents not only their professionalism, but also their unique style and ability.
Shane Christiansen, the chair of the art department, said to win the award an artist has to show how their work is innovative and unique.
“McGarren’s style is very different than a lot of people’s,” Christiansen said. “He has had classical training but his work is very much it’s realism yet there is an abstract nature to the way he applies paint and his content is very different than most people’s content.”
Christiansen is referring to the fact that Flack is also a paramedic, and he is known for recreating the scenes he experiences in that profession as subjects in his pieces.
After finding out he won the fellowship, Flack said he was amazed by the honor, but the reward wasn’t the biggest part for him. He said one of his paintings usually sells for about $20,000, so receiving the grant money was almost like just selling a single painting.
“A lot of people feel like artists are all starving, which there is a lot of starving artists out there, but I think it’s just because they don’t know how to get their art out there or how to sell a lot of art,” Flack said.
Flack said this award is not only good for Flack but also for DSU as a whole. He believes it will help add to the credibility of the art department and, hopefully, bring more art majors to the university.
Jessie Pectol, a junior art major from St. George, said she loved having Flack as a professor because he helped her grow as an artist. She said taking his class really helped her to visualize what it’s like to be an artist in today’s world.
“He’s extremely critical and technical but in the best way possible,” Pectol said. “Most art teachers are more focused on the technical side of teaching rather the passionate side, but Flack is equal parts technical and passionate about teaching and it really helps us students see how that comes to play in our future careers.”