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`FROM DREAM TO REALITY': NEW ART COMPLEX FOSTERS LDS STANDARDS

The Tuacahn art complex, blended into the mouth of a majestic red-rock canyon adjacent to Snow Canyon State Park in southern Utah, 10 miles northwest of St. George, is the fulfillment of a vision and dream of Doug Stewart.

"What can I say?" as he surveyed opening-day activities at Tuacahn. "I'm in heaven; from dream to reality."One goal for Tuacahn, he said, is to provide an encouraging environment where artists can train, work and succeed without compromising LDS standards and where art featuring Mormon themes and values can be displayed.

He looks forward to throngs of tourists and other patrons arriving to see the center and its featured stage production "Utah!" the story of Jacob Hamblin and the pioneering of southern Utah. The musical will be presented Mondays through Saturdays from June through September.

He also foresees the continued expansion of a school housed at the site for artists from all disciplines, including visual arts, music, drama and dance. Brother Stewart, whose artistic credits include screenplays for the Church films "The First Vision" and "The Restoration of the Priesthood," as well as several commercial films, said Tuacahn is his version of a Mayan word meaning "canyon of the gods." The facility was built as the first project of the Heritage Arts Foundation. Brother Stewart is the foundation's founder and executive director.

Tuacahn has a 2,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, an arts center, offices for administration and ticket sales, a gift shop, concession building, plaza and parking lot. The 42,000 square-foot, two-level arts center includes 300- and 150-seat indoor theaters, classrooms, studios and other facilities.

Built primarily with exteriors of sandstone tiles and red bricks, the buildings fit well visually into the canyon environment.

Brother Stewart foresees expansion in the future to provide more space and on-campus housing for students.