Mayor McArthur receives special portrait; St. George group photo in the works

Doug Matthews and Mayor McArthur. Photo courtesy of Doug Matthews,

ST. GEORGE – Mayor Dan McArthur received a pleasant surprise when a local photographer presented him with a gift.

Last October the mayor accompanied the St. George Wagon Company on it 100-mile journey from Parowan to St. George. Along the trail, photographer Doug Matthews, also travelling with the wagon company, photographed a candid portrait of the mayor while he was speaking to the group of travelers.

The finished portrait of the mayor dressed in pioneer garb, was later stylized in a process Matthews describes as being two parts photograph and one part digital-art and 1 part illustration, giving it a rather rugged appearance.

True to his reputation as a lover of poetry, McArthur recited a newly memorized poem at Matthews’ request. When Matthews’ asked how the mayor knew so many poems, McArthur laughed and said, “While other people can’t sleep, they count sheep. I memorize poems.”

After his poem, Matthews presented the Mayor with the special portrait he had taken. It had been enlarged, framed, and had the phrase “A day just isn’t a day without a poem,” inscribed on the bottom.

The mayor said he loved the portrait, and chuckled when he read what was written on it.

St. George group photo

After receiving the gift, McArthur and Matthews discussed the matter of a new panoramic photograph of St. George to join the two already there in his office. One image was taken in 1915 and the other in 2005, both show how much the city has grown and changed over the last 100 years.

For St. George Heritage Days, the mayor said he would like a new panoramic photo of St. George. Unlike the two previous pictures, which are black and white, this new image will be in color.

In addition to the panoramic cityscape Matthews has been commissioned to take an historical group photograph of the people of St. George. This photograph will be taken up at the old airport on Black Hill in the coming months. A solid date has yet to be set for the photo shoot, but the mayor said there would be attractions and food on the Black Hill when it happens.

“We hope to have thousands of people, businesses, schools, churches and groups take part in this event,” Matthews said. “It will be an incredible image of the people of St. George and will show the entire city in the background. The location is perfect, the old airport is the only place for a mass group photograph like this, no other city in the country will have anything like it, it will be a hallmark for our city and a day you can say ‘I was there too.’”

Matthews is a Navy veteran who served six years as a photographer and air-crewman. He is from Las Vegas, Nev., and has been a professional photographer since 1978.  He studied at the Naval School of Photography, Brooks Institute of Photography, taught at the West Coast School of Photography and is a certified journeyman photographer. The latter is only obtained after 6000 hours of study.

Additional photos of the St. George Wagon Company and other works can be seen at Matthews’ website, He also maintains

[email protected]

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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