‘Hats Off to the Arts’ to celebrate DiFiore Center’s 5th anniversary

Patrons of the arts gather for a celebration at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the DiFiore Center, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The DiFiore Center for Arts is holding a special community open house and fundraiser May 12, themed “Hats Off to the Arts” with live concert by electric cello duo Rosin, an “Art in the Garden exhibit and attendees appropriately attired in garden hats, Panama brims and the like.

The afternoon event will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the artistic and educational resource center, housed in the historic Orval Hafen Home in St. George.

The Rosin cello duo Jessika Soli and Daniel Gaisford play at a DiFiore Center event, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the DiFiore Center, St. George News

Southern Utah-based electric cello duo, Rosin, including cellists Daniel Gaisford and Jessika Soli, will perform in concert. Rosin is one of the most accomplished and popular acts on today’s music scene, the center’s news release said. The pair performs original transcriptions of pop and rock, as well as a classical and romantic repertoire.

From 3-5 p.m. the public is invited to enjoy punch and cookies and view the “Art in the Garden” exhibit, with the concert to follow at 8 p.m.

The cost is $15 per person for the concert only; VIP seating is available at $25 per person.

In keeping with the “Hats Off to the Arts” theme, all attendees are encouraged to wear garden hats, their best Panama brims or similar chapeaux.

Cindy Still, who helped open the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts and Education alongside her husband, Ernie Doose, said:

May 12 should be a beautiful, sunny day, so we hope everyone will get into the spirit of the event and come decked out in their favorite hat. We look forward to celebrating our fifth year of operations with the community, and raising the funds needed to continue offering more arts and cultural programs in the years to come.

Prizes will be given for the most creative hats, Still added, and all guests’ names will be entered into an opportunity drawing.

Since the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts and Education opened its doors in June 2012, thousands of guests have enjoyed a diverse range of artistic and cultural events from puppet festivals to ukulele festivals, gallery showings, dance performances, theater productions, poetry readings, movie screenings, spiritual gatherings and the like at the center.

The DiFiore Center connects people to vibrant, creative ventures through classes, workshops, lessons and events. Its staff advocates for disadvantaged and underrepresented youths, such as those in the foster care system and members of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, offering them the opportunity to participate in arts education for a reduced fee or for free.

The Center also promotes new artists, musicians, writers and actors and encourages new community experiences.

“The DiFiore Center’s mission is to improve the community’s competitive edge by driving economic vitality through the arts,” its Chief Executive Officer Ernie Doose said. “We do this by improving diversity, connecting analytical and creative minds, nurturing and inspiring artistic talent, and fostering creative thinking in arts, science and business. Long term, the Center hopes to create a community arts destination in St. George that is equal to that of our sports and outdoor opportunities.”

Doose brings to the DiFiore Center 24 years of experience as the executive director of Artistic Resources for Teachers and Students or A.R.T.S., Inc., a nonprofit arts and education program that has been taking professional arts programming to students across Utah for the past 56 years. A.R.T.S., Inc. reaches more than 250 schools annually, assisting educators, parents and communities in providing a teaching and learning environment where children discover the joy of learning through the arts. Using the fine arts as an engaging point of entry, A.R.T.S., Inc. aims to ensure that all students leave grades K-6 with competency in English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, economics, history, geography and art.

“Hats Off to the Arts” event flier | Image courtesy of the DiFiore Center, St. George News

Along with his wife Cindy Still, Doose opened the DiFiore Center to create a community arts “hub” in St. George.

Today, more than 20 community-based organizations now operate under the Center’s auspices, including Brigham’s Playhouse, the Southern Utah Puppetry Guild, Georgefest, Arts Council of Washington County, St. George Opera Company and Zion Music Ensembles. Doose named the Center in honor of the late Roene Bigler DiFiore, his former music teacher at what was then Dixie College.

“Roene was a humanitarian, a lover of education, and an ambassador to the fine arts. Her specialty was to connect with the awkward, left-out misfits – like myself – and mix them with students and teachers to create a unity of friendship,” Doose said. “She used piano, song, acting and rhythm dance as tools to build confidence in her students.”

On April 8, Doose received the “Big D/Roene DiFiore Award” from Dixie State University, presented annually during “D-Week” to a DSU alum who best exemplifies the university’s spirit. Doose also was the recipient of the 2012-2013 Utah Music Educators Association Award, presented in honor of his ongoing service to music teachers throughout the state.

The DiFiore Center for Arts and Education is located at 307 N. Main St. in St. George. For more information or to reserve seats for the Rosin concert, contact the DiFiore Center at 435-673-4206, email difiorecenter@gmail.com, or visit www.difiorecenter.org.

Event details

  • What: “Hats Off to the Arts” celebration and fundraiser.
  • When: Friday, May 12, 3-5 p.m. | Rosin concert, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts, 307 N. Main St., St. George.
  • Cost: “Art in the Garden” exhibit, free; Rosin concert, $15 general admission, $25 VIP table.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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