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Dixie Forum to close semester with presentation on the pottery, artists of Mata Ortiz

Dixie State University’s weekly lecture series Dixie Forum: A Window on the World will host a renowned master potter in a special presentation on how his dying desert village in Mexico transformed into a destination for world-class art.

Closing Dixie Forum for the 2017-18 academic year, Diego Valles will present about his pottery and artistic process at noon on April 24 in the Dunford Auditorium in the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Together, an American treasure hunter and self-taught artist Juan Quezada Celado reshaped the small Mexican village of Mata Ortiz, surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Chihuahuan Desert, into a center of creative inspiration, economic self-determination and the rebirth of an ancient art form. Valles has continued the tradition of Celado, his mentor, by creating handmade, thin-walled and finely painted ceramic ware. Winning contests for his work, Diego has not only carried on the tradition, but is taking the Paquime style of Mata Ortiz to new heights with his innovative techniques.

This special installment of Dixie Forum will be held in collaboration with DSU DOCUTAH’s screening of the film “The Renaissance of Mata Ortiz,” which traces the story of Mata Ortiz’s artistic renaissance. The screening is set to begin at 6 p.m. on April 24 at The Electric Theater. Tickets are $10 and available at or at the door with cash. An art show featuring pieces by Valles will accompany the screening at Arrowhead Gallery, located next door to The Electric Theater.

Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George and Dixie State communities to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via 50-minute presentations. The Dixie Forum will return next fall.

For more information about Dixie State University’s Dixie Forum series, visit