Artistic Women in Tourism

We wander through museums and galleries casually viewing murals, paintings, photographs, and sculptures. We also scan a multitude of visual art on the Internet, but often we know very little about the artists behind the work.  Below we introduce you to women, from different artistic areas, whose work is accessible to travelers from around the world.

Susan Moss Grove

If you’re going to paint murals it pays to be agile, especially if that mural is going to cover the entire side of a building. Susan Moss Grove has been painting murals for 25 plus years and she’s working right now on finishing a very large mural in an outdoor area of downtown St. George, Utah.  She says she got the inspiration to paint murals from her uncle. “I had a background in art, and I saw a mural that someone had painted for my uncle, and I said to myself, ‘I can do that’.”

So back to being agile. Susan loves to climb on things. If she’s out hiking on a mountain or in a canyon, she’s always looking for something to climb up, or on, or over.  Some place that gives her a better view of the surrounding area, and perhaps offers a better or different perspective. This agility of body, and her desire to see things from a new angle, come in handy as she navigates a fifteen foot scaffolding.

View this video to hear Susan tell more of her own story.

She says she’s careful as she’s hauling buckets of paint to dramatic heights and as she’s reaching out across a wide expanse to dab the furthest reachable point with her brush, but if you watch her in action you may tend to take a motherly concern for her safety.

Susan says she loves bringing color and creativity to the world around her. “I frequently paint murals inside people’s homes, and those are appreciated by the family and the few visitors who get to see them, but it certainly is fun to be able to paint murals that are openly accessible to the general public”, says Grove. Her current work is a creative map of Utah’s Washington County, commissioned by the local tourism office (www.GreaterZion.com). While not to exact scale, it helps people to appreciate all the great attractions that are found within the county, such as Zion National Park.

The mural is located in an area of downtown St. George, Utah that is laden with restaurants, shops, museums, and historic attractions, and will be a colorful and practical resource for locals and visitors alike.  She’s painted murals in museums, and many other locations but she’s also had the privilege of working with doing such projects as painting life-size dinosaurs. “We don’t really know what dinosaurs looked like so we go with whatever the experts suggest is the best possible look and color scheme.”

Susan Grove has painted murals throughout the west. Whatever she is painting, you can count on it being colorful and inspirational. Susan resides in La Verkin, Utah with her husband Bob, who is famous in his own right.  Learn more at www.SusanGrove.com.

Arika Bauer

Behind the camera she’s as creative as her name, and Arika has used that creativity to create a unique business. Approximately five years ago when Arika moved back to her native home of southwestern Utah she determined to combine her love of photography with her love of the outdoors in a way that would also provide an income.  Zion Adventure Photog was the result of her mash-up, to coin a popular phrase, and was born of the realization that when you’re on vacation it is exceptionally difficult to truly capture the memories of that experience. “I help visually record the best and happiest moments of a visitor’s experience”, says Bauer.  “And if my clients are interested I even recommend specific locations where they can go where their experience can be more serene and personal for them. Places that are quieter, more scenic, and more unique than they might otherwise experience.”

Arika is intimately familiar with the St. George and Zion National Park region of Utah, and through her work she’s collected a list of secret spots that visitors would rarely find. “I love places that are scenically diverse, and incorporate great color, shapes, and even interesting water features wherever possible”, she adds.  Arika has worked closely with area businesses that are on the front lines of contact with travelers such as Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. “People find me through various web-sites see the services I offer, and make contact with me.”  Places like Zion Ponderosa are ideal for family reunions, corporate retreats, and family vacations and these are just some of the groups that seek out Arika for her services. When contacted she identifies factors such as when the visitor will be in the area, what potential temperatures will be, the size of their group, and uses this information to determine the best time of day and best location to capture memories for her guests.

Recently we spent some time with Arika, taking photos and video together, and getting to know more about the woman behind the Adventure Photography lens.  For just a few hours we ventured to locations around the historic mining town of Silver Reef.  This town was formed in the 1870’s when silver was discovered in the unique reef-like sandstone formations of the area, and today the remnants of this historic town and mining efforts are scattered across several square miles.

Behind the reef we ventured into a sandstone box canyon where recent rains left pockets of water on the rocks and in the washes. The moist sand was firm and navigation was relatively easy as we scrambled over boulders, and stemmed across a small crevice in the bottom of the canyon. Arika was a willing participant as the subject of our photography and videography and ably demonstrated her ability to leap across a large gap carved by the incessant water flow of snow and rain.

Already attired in hiking sandals she welcomed the opportunity to walk through pools of water for various close-up scenes of this action. It’s likely that as we encouraged Arika to pose for various shots she may have gained some insights about her own interactions with the guests she photographs.

Arika has three children and resides in Hurricane, Utah. Learn more at www.ZionAdventurePhotog.com
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