‘I will miss him tremendously’: Dixie State professor, art museum founder dies of COVID-19

Glen Blakley, Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, date not providewd | Photo courtesy of Wally Barrus, Dixie State University Public Relations, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Dixie State University professor of art died Thursday night due to COVID-19. 

Glen Blakley, date and location not specified | Photo from Glen Blakley Facebook page, St. George News

Glen Blakley, a well-known St. George artist, worked for Dixie State for more than 40 years as a professor of ceramics. He was involved in the St. George art community for many years as founder of the St. George Art Museum, which he directed for six years, and the first director of the St. George Arts Festival in 1979. He was also a longtime supporter of ceramics education across Utah and the country. 

In 2013, he was awarded a “Certificate of Appreciation and Gratitude” by the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition Foundation for his efforts, including the co-creation of the Regina Brown Teacher Development Award, which aims to continue the work and ideals of dedicated art teachers through the foundation. 

Blakley earned his master’s degree in fine arts from Brigham Young University in 1973 and taught art at Oregon City High School and at BYU. He arrived at Dixie State’s campus — then Dixie State College of Utah — in 1976. During his time there, he directed travel study programs to art museums across the western U.S. and Europe for more than 30 years. He also served on the Dixie Task Force, St. George Arts Commission, Southwest Utah Arts Council, St. George Film Commission and the Utah Arts Council Advisory Board. 

Friends, family and colleagues expressed their grief at the news of Blakley’s passing online over New Year’s weekend. A petition to rename the North Plaza building on the St.George campus the “Glen B. Blakley building” was created in his honor.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike also voiced his condolences in a Facebook post. 

“I’m so sad to learn of the passing of Professor Glen Blakley,” Pike wrote. “What an incredible man, educator and artist. I will miss him tremendously.”

Friends also shared photos and videos of Blakley’s work, including a promotional video from 2014 for Dixie State. 

As of Sunday, 143 people have died from COVID-19 in Southern Utah, according to the Utah Department of Health – 114 of those were in Washington County and 49 of the deaths have been in the last month.

Ed. note: An earlier version of this article stated Blakley died on Dec. 30 instead of Dec. 31.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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