Tuesday, January 13th, 2015
Dixie State University officials have announced that the institution and local artist Jerry Anderson have reached an agreement regarding the future of the “The Rebels” statue, which had been on display on the campus until late 2012.
In the agreement DSU has returned the statue to Anderson, who is the artistic rights holder. The statue has been delivered to his personal studio in Leeds, Utah. Anderson will in turn donate other artwork to the institution that will be on permanent display at Dixie State University.
“We are very appreciative of Mr. Anderson’s generous artistic contributions, not only to Dixie State University, but to the entire region,” DSU President Dr. Richard B. Williams said. “We are grateful to Jerry for working with us and we look forward to displaying his work on this campus for everyone to view and enjoy in the years to come.”
In 1982, Anderson created a small sculpture, “Retreat,” that was inspired by the song “Two Little Boys,” written by Theodore F. Morse and Edward Madden, which tells the story of two little boys who grew up and were reunited as Union soldiers (boys in blue) on the battlefield during the Civil War. In 1983, Anderson was commissioned to create a life-size monument with the same theme, this time the two soldiers would be from the South, which tied the piece to Utah’s Dixie.
The monument was first installed at the Green Valley Mall and later donated to the original Dixie Convention Center (which was located on the DSU campus) in January of 1987. Then in 1998, Dixie Convention Center operations were moved into its current facility in St. George; however, the statue remained on the Dixie campus.
As Dixie State began its final push toward attaining university status in 2012, which included discussions about the rebranding of the school, the statue became a focal point of contention in regards to the future identity of the institution. In an effort to protect the integrity of the statue, school officials had the sculpture removed from campus in early December of that year.
Soon after the statue’s removal from campus, a question arose as to who the actual owner of the statue was, whether it was the institution, the City of St. George, Washington County, Dixie Convention Center, or the original donors of the artwork to the convention center. Dixie State officials placed the statue in storage until the ownership issue was resolved. It was determined later that month that Dixie State was indeed the legal owner of the statue.
Since then, school officials and the DSU Board of Trustees considered all possible options pertaining to the future of the statue before reaching this agreement with Mr. Anderson.
“I want to sincerely thank President Williams, [DSU Trustees Chair] Dr. Christina Durham, and [Trustee] Gail Smith for their time in meeting with me and for the care they showed in bringing this to a mutually beneficial resolution,” Anderson said. “I invite everyone to please come out to view the statue, take pictures of it, and enjoy it.”