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Lindon
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Folk artist Eric Dowdle helps re-imagine Disney in art

On Eric Dowdle’s personal Facebook page he shared a photo of a fortune cookie he received and the extracted fortune.

“Your quiet charm will attract the attention of others” the fortune read. Dowdle does have a high level of charm that draws the attention of others, but to say he is quiet is shortsighted by the fortune cookie industry.

Dowdle, a local folk artist, travel guru and history buff, loves to talk. His stories of life and his ability to put those stories into art has won him the praise of many people including well-known artists like the late Thomas Kinkade.

Don’t be fooled by Dowdle’s laid-back, happy attitude and winning smile. When it comes to art and precision he expects perfection. His paintings and puzzles are a testament to that.

Dowdle’s studios are located in Lindon. His gift to the community is not only his artist’s prints, but the colorful and whimsical puzzles he creates from them.

A few years ago, through Thomas Kinkade Studios, The Walt Disney Co. approached Dowdle to work with them.

“I didn’t take them seriously,” Dowdle said. “One year later they said, ‘We want to do it.’ I still didn’t take it seriously.”

Dowdle said Kinkade had been trying to find an artist with whom Disney would want to work, and Dowdle signed a contract two years ago.

Dowdle said sometimes he gets so busy he loses his focus and he needs topics that are universal to work on.

Since signing with Disney, Dowdle has been shoulder deep in re-imagining. His first six paintings include three princess paintings; Cinderella, the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He also has three Mickey paintings including a Christmastime art piece of Mickey and friends skating in Central Park.

Currently, Dowdle is working on reimagining Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that goes through a great deal of refining to become a real boy.

“Disney is childhood,” Dowdle said. “It becomes a part of us. I haven’t watched ‘Pinocchio’ in 40 years and I got emotional; I cried.”

In painting Pinocchio, Dowdle continues to tell the story.

“I want people to remember that innocence,” Dowdle said. “I just want to tell the story of Pinocchio and forgiveness. We need that right now.”

Dowdle loves to not only tell the story but also to find the stories. He has been from Cork, Ireland, to Austin, Texas, and from the Bahamas to Bear Lake, and has painted and puzzled his way throughout the world, into history and more.

Dowdle said that Disney has set a high bar for him.

“I’ve learned through Disney that I have to paint,” Dowdle said. “It doesn’t matter, they make me a better company. They force me to be excellent.”

Dowdle’s Disney paintings are to reimagine and reinvigorate stories that he said we’ve all known before.

He is hoping that within the next two weeks all signatures will be finalized and his Lindon studios and elsewhere will be able to start selling products for the Christmas season.

His artwork has been seen and the images have been approved by Disney. He is now in the process of creating the products.

They include stratoscope-style puzzles: 3-dimensional puzzles which Dowdle said are some of his most engaging styles.

Besides his new Disney work, over the years Dowdle has done more than 475 paintings that took him between two weeks and two months to do depending on the subject matter and his time. Most of them have been turned into puzzles that families and individuals can enjoy over and over again.

Earlier this year Dowdle released a limited edition of Orem puzzles, with lots of fun hidden Easter eggs, for the city’s 100th birthday. They sold out quickly.

Dowdle has also dabbled in television and radio with travel shows including the Brigham Young University radio show “Traveling with Eric Dowdle.”

He also is producing “Land That I Love” videos. As Dowdle puts it, it will be a “joyful jaunt around the country.” They will tell of the successes and triumphs of an area and are part of the 250th anniversary celebration of the United States in 2026.

Dowdle’s ultimate dream and goal is to build a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home here in Utah County.

Mount Vernon will be an interactive museum that will feature many unique, new and untold stories of the United States.

It is expected to feature a reception area, restaurant and other outbuildings that will tell the story of the early days of the country’s history through tradesmen and artisans.

All of this keeps Dowdle thinking, moving and talking about his dreams. For now, those dreams are focused on completing Pinocchio.

Dowdle says he is enjoying the rich experience he is having reimagining. And just like Pinocchio he has no strings to hold him down.

If you would like to see Dowdle’s art and puzzle collections for purchase, visit his studios at 1280 W. 200 South, Lindon, just west of Interstate 15, or call (801) 785-1123.

Dowdle’s limited edition prints start at $133; jigsaw puzzles are about $20. Dowdle also makes wooden puzzles, travel puzzles, custom image puzzles and sells puzzle accessories, 3D and stratoscape puzzles.

You can see his collection at https://dowdlefolkart.com.


National
AP
AP Explains: Columbus, once immigrant hero, now heel to some

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The image and story of Christopher Columbus, the 15th century navigator who began European incursions into the Americas, have changed in the U.S. over the decades. Columbus was an obscure figure until his adventures were revitalized in the 1800s. By the 1990s, a new generation of Native American activists blamed the navigator for launching centuries of indigenous genocide. With Columbus Day falling on Monday in the U.S. — and now being called Indigenous Peoples’ Day in some states — here’s a look at how views of Christopher Columbus have changed over the years:

THE MAN

Born in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy), Columbus took part in several voyages in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas as a teenager and later participated in expeditions to Africa. Like Aristotle and others, Columbus believed that the world was round. He theorized that the distance between Spain’s Canary Islands and Japan was only around 2,300 miles and felt he could sail west to reach Asia for a new sought-out route for spices.

It was really about 12,000 miles. Columbus based his incorrect calculations on mystical texts, and ended up landing in the present-day Caribbean on Oct. 12, 1492.

Columbus convinced Spain’s Queen Isabella to fund his voyage by promising that the riches he’d collect would be used to finance a crusade to “reclaim” Jerusalem for Christians. Instead, he found new foods, animals and indigenous people who, he wrote, were childlike and could be easily turned into slaves.

As indigenous populations revolted against brutal Spanish treatment, Columbus ordered a ruthless crackdown that included having dismembered bodies being paraded in public. Eventually, Columbus was arrested on mismanagement and brutality charges and died a broken man.

Around 60 years after Columbus’ arrival, the Taino indigenous population of the Caribbean had been reduced from an estimated 250,000 people to a few hundred because of slavery and death from new diseases.

RESURRECTION

Columbus remained a mostly unknown figure in the English-speaking world until Washington Irving released in 1828 his biographical account, “A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.” The romanticized version became a best-seller in the United States and helped create the image of Columbus as a self-made man who overcame great odds.

Thanks to the book, Columbus grew popular and Irving’s myth played into the frontier spirit of U.S. westward expansion at the expense of Native American tribes living there.

However, the book falsely claimed that it was Columbus who convinced Europeans of his time that the Earth wasn’t flat. Others had made the same claim before.

IMMIGRANT HERO

Beginning in the 1860s, Italian and Irish immigrants started celebrating Columbus in local parades. They claimed him as America’s very first founding father and used his story to insert themselves into the U.S. narrative. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, Italian and Irish immigrants endured years of discrimination and exclusion from jobs and higher education.

Still, some white nationalists attacked Columbus. In 1874, for example, Norwegian American scholar Rasmus Bjorn Anderson published “America Not Discovered By Columbus.” Anderson argued that the Vikings were the first Europeans to set foot in the Americas, not Columbus. The Vikings, Anderson explained, were the pure white race and Christians who started the U.S. narrative, not someone like Columbus or southern Europeans.

Nonetheless, Italian Americans convinced local and state authorities to adopt Columbus Day holidays. Annual Columbus Day parades celebrated Italian American heritage and transformed into vehicles of political influence as politicians raced to participate. Meanwhile, the Native American population shrunk to its lowest numbers, and many Native Americans were barred from voting.

NATIVE AMERICAN BACKLASH

Howard Zinn’s 1980 “A People’s History of the United States” introduced the general public to the atrocities committed by Columbus and his crew against indigenous people. His book mirrored the findings of other historians and ethnic studies scholars.

By 1992, Columbus Day parades and holidays had transformed into an American holiday. Then a planned 500th-anniversary celebration in San Francisco of Columbus’ arrival turned into mayhem.

About 4,000 protesters led by Native American activists blocked a parade of floats, marching bands and Columbus reenactors. They yelled “no to slavery and genocide” and denounced Columbus as a racist. Parade participants were hit with eggs. Authorities arrested 40 people.

Since then, a new generation of Native American advocates has pressed states to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. They’ve sought to remove Columbus and other conquistador imagery from public spaces. Today, activists continue to protest Columbus Day celebrations, sparking tensions between older Italian Americans and Native American advocates.


Provo
featured
Provo church full of carbon monoxide evacuated; multiple patients hospitalized

A Provo meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was evacuated after it was found to be full of carbon monoxide on Sunday, according to Provo Fire.

After several patients initially went to Utah Valley Hospital, eight patients were transferred to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray for hyperbaric treatment, according to Jeanie Atherton, firefighter paramedic and public information officer for Provo.

Station 22 in Provo first received a dispatched medical call at the church, located at 650 E. Stadium Ave., around 11 a.m. for a single person feeling ill. When they responded to the scene, their carbon monoxide sensors began going off, and they evacuated the building.

Dominion Energy was alerted and responded to the scene, where they isolated the problem to a boiler inside the building.

By the time of the evacuation, several more churchgoers had fallen ill. One was transferred to Utah Valley Hospital by ambulance, and several more arrived by personal vehicle.

Atherton said Provo Fire is currently unaware of exactly what caused the boiler to let off the dangerous gas.

Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it has a high affinity for binding red blood cells, Atherton said. When exposed, red blood cells will start binding the carbon monoxide instead of oxygen, cutting off oxygen to all the vital organs.