Biography was a labor of love for Beatlebrox and Crane | ParkRecord.com

Biography was a labor of love for Beatlebrox and Crane

Free kids book available at the exhibit

The "Early Utah Masterpieces" exhibit at the Park City Library has a Summit County connection.

When members of the public visit the exhibit they will receive a free catalog, "Early Utah Masterpieces: Alice Art Collection," while supplies last.

Included in a pocket in back of the catalog is a children's book titled "Alice Merrill Horne: 1868-1948," written by Summit Country resident Lola Beatlebrox and illustrated by Park City resident Anita Crane.

Both books were published in 2007, said Beatlebrox.

"The Utah Arts Council received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to create a beautiful catalog, but they wanted me to put together lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students," said Beatlebrox, who is an instructional designer. "The lesson plan would cover the painters that were included in the 'Early Utah Masterpieces' traveling exhibit that was launching at that time."

As Beatlebrox researched for the lesson plan, she discovered how important Horne was to the Utah arts community.

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Horne established the Alice Art Collection, which is now known as the Utah Arts Council.

"I thought a biography for children would be perfect as an interactive way to teach about her and about the paintings," she said.

So, Beatlebrox contacted painter Anita Crane to illustrate the book.

"Anita and I would meet regularly to talk about what each panel or page would look like and how she would illustrate the text I had written," Beatlebrox said. "The book took six months and was a real labor of love. We had a blast writing it."

When children and their parents read the book and look at the pictures, they will notice various representations of works from the Alice Art Collection.

"We did that on purpose," Beatlebrox said. "These illustrations would be references back to the catalog."

As Beatlebrox dug deeper in her research, she found more interesting tidbits about Horne.

"One of the most amazing things was that Salt Lake and Park City, during the mining and coal-burning days, had terrible air, like today," Beatlebrox said. "One day, Alice had enough and took a smokeless coal-burning stove to This Is the Place monument and took and baked bread as a protest and promotion to get people to use smokeless coal.

"Now, I don't know what smokeless coal was, but it must have been better for burning than what other people were using then," she said.

Horne was also the first woman legislator in Utah.

"That was important, too, because she pioneered womanhood as being part of the government," Beatlebrox said.

While she was a legislator, Horne promoted her love for art.

"She always said, 'Let everyone have at least one beautiful painting in their house,'" Beatlebrox said.

Horne came up with the idea to use some of Utah's tax money to purchase beautiful paintings by Utah artists and display them in public places.

So Horne drew up a bill and it was passed into law in 1899 and essentially created the Utah Art Institute, which is now the Utah Arts Council, Beatlebrox said.

Beatlebrox was excited to see the "Early Utah Masterpieces" exhibit was being hung at the Park City Library.

"I'm not saying this because I was involved with this exhibit, but it's the [Utah Department of Arts & Museum's] premiere traveling exhibit," she said. "We are really lucky to have it showing in the Park City Library's new environment."