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Tree of Life painting is 'visitors' choice'

Visitors had their own slate of favorites in the fine arts exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art.

The museum this week announced results of balloting in the "Visitors' Choice" awards for the 1987 Fine Arts Competition. The exhibit, which closed Feb. 15, featured 180 art works from Church members in 13 countries."Our visitors agreed with the competition's jury in only one choice," said Museum Director Glen M. Leonard. "The unanimous choice for first place was clearly Steven L. Neal's panoramic depiction from the opening chapters of the Book of Mormon of `Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life'."

Neal, a Pendleton, Ore. physician, studied art at BYU. His detailed 4-foot-by-8-foot oil painting contrasts mankind's choice between the gospel of Jesus Christ (represented by the fruit of the "Tree of Life") and the pleasures of the world (shown through the pride of fashionably dressed occupants of a "large and spacious building").

For the second-place award, visitors picked Thayne, Wyo., artist Clark Kelley Price's portrayal of Noah boarding animals onto the ark, "The Lord Fulfilleth All His Words."

Third place in the "Visitors' Choice" balloting went to Del Parson, Rexburg, Idaho, for "The Greatest of All," a painting of Christ kneeling in prayer at Gethsemane.

The three top winners will each receive a certificate acknowledging their popularity among visitors. The three paintings have been added to museum collections for future exhibition use, Leonard said.

Selection of the winners was made by 689 visitors who filled out ballots while visiting the museum during the past two months.

"This exhibit elicited a great deal of discussion," Leonard said. "It was this interest that prompted us to invite visitors to share with us their preferences.

"The exhibit contained a selection of contemporary Latter-day Saint art from many cultural traditions and styles."

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