DiFiore Center celebrates 5 years as arts and education hub

The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education's fifth anniversary as an art hub is celebrated, St. George, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A celebration of art – in all of its forms ­– took place at the The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education Friday evening in recognition of its fifth anniversary as a major art hub in St. George.

Guests arrive sporting garden hats to the “Hats Off to the Arts” fifth anniversary celebration for the The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The celebration, titled “Hats Off to the Arts,” kicked off with refreshments and a free gallery stroll displaying pieces by visual artist Mary Manning. Southern Utah-based electric cello duo, Rosin, including cellists Daniel Gaisford and Jessika Soli, also performed a live concert.

The anniversary event also served as a fundraiser for the nonprofit center, located at 307 N. Main Street in St. George, that works to provide outreach programs to all sectors of society, including disadvantaged youth.

In the five years since it opened, the DiFiore Center has hosted an array of events centered on the arts such as puppet festivals, ukulele conerts, “Mad Hatter” parties and shows by local middle and high schools.

The center features a new gallery every month and is already booked into mid-2018 for its gallery displays.

“We try to focus on new and local artists,” Ernie Doose, CEO of the DiFiore Center, said.

Some of the more unique galleries include a tattoo show and a forthcoming display of graffiti art.

Artwork by Mary Manning is on display in a gallery for the The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education’s fifth anniversary celebration, St. George, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The center also offers monthly classes in its dance studio featuring lessons on anything from Flamenco to tap dance.

These classes are specifically provided to disadvantaged youth free of charge through such programs as Utah Foster Care and Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are taught by interns from local colleges who are in turn reimbursed by scholarships funded by contributors to the center.

“We’re looking into setting up a campaign to pay off the mortgage and set up an endowment that will keep the lights on forever,” Doose said.

Doose and his wife, Cindy Still, have worked in arts education in Utah for over 40 years.

They are at an age in life where they’d like to see a successor step in and take over operations at the center, Doose said.

They have every intention, however, to see the center remain open for another five years and beyond.

Mary Manning poses next to her art in a gallery for the The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education’s fifth anniversary, St. George, Utah, May 12, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“More like 50 years, I’d like to see them go on and on and on,” Mary Manning said.

Manning’s art is on display at the center’s gallery for the entire month of May.

“I am displaying some of the paintings that I’m doing interpreting Western landscapes with Eastern techniques – Japanese and Chinese mainly.”

She has worked closely with the center’s founders and has become a major supporter of its mission in the years since it opened.

“I’m definitely happy to be supporting the DiFiore Center and I’ll do anything that I can to help them,” Manning said. “They do great programs for children – theater, music, dance – you name it, you can come here and find it.”

The center functions in great part thanks to private donations which can be made directly to the center.

More information about the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education can be found by going online here, by calling 435-673-4206 or by email: difiorecenter@gmail.com.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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