Not long before his 1984 interview, Ted Hatch arranged for a trip of artists to paint on the river. The result was an incredibly successful exhibit at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, the focus: Grand Canyon white water.

Ted: We took a bunch of artists two years ago. Some of them are exceptionally skilled, you know, really good!

But anyway, Merrill Mahaffey called me, and he arranged a trip for these artists to go. He said […] "take us through the canyon, because we want to do paintings and work in there."

I said, "Sure!"

"You know," he said, "I won’t have any turkeys, "they are all good skilled people."

So we said, "O.K."

They got to the river and they saw the boat and they painted it like this (on the back cover of R.A.F.T. – a booklet). (Laughs) That’s Bill’s boat – Bill Ellwanger’s – because they couldn’t go on just a mundane silver raft.

Sowards: (Laughs)

Deer Creek Falls

Deer Creek Falls

Ted: But anyway, they did the Grand with us, and I have some of the nicest paintings you have ever seen. Merrill sold one of his paintings for $80,000.00, and he gave me one of Deer Creek Falls. Do you remember that fall that tumbles down into the canyon—oh, about 75 feet, and you can walk right up to the base of it. He gave me a painting of that, and he came out here to Vernal, and I flew him over through the canyons and showed him these Buckskin Hills and he wants to paint those. I said, "That’s great, but I want the painting if you do!"

He did some paintings for the Governor Babbot of Arizona, and he did the mural in the Phoenix Air Terminal. If you ever have a chance to see it, it’s of Grand Canyon – it’s a big mural. But he is really fantastic. So, anyway, I got art from each one of these [… ]We did the art exhibit at the Scottsdale Center for Arts. Our first day we had a thousand visitors. The curator of the center came over and he said, "You have, by far, the best exhibit we have ever had."

We had a band in there, and we had drinks set up. We had a slide show in one corner of this trip, and in the other there was a movie showing boats going down the river. Then we put this boat in the center of the museum on the carpet, and rigged it just exactly the same. We put the life jackets and everything, just the same. Of course, the guys repainted it.

Sowards: Uh-huh. (Laughs)

Ted: But, the publicity was just unbelievable. We had articles in the paper, and people were calling. It was fantastic! It was a beautiful exhibit.

Don’t miss next week when Ted tells Sowards about his family’s history!

Flashback Friday – Ted Recalls a Trip of Artists Painting the Grand Canyon White Water was last modified: July 24th, 2015 by Jessica Clark

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