Robert Barrett

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Education and Personal

Robert Barrett received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Utah and an Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Iowa. Barrett went to Germany on a church mission for two years. After his mission, he married Vicki, and they now have ten children. Barrett studied painting in Europe as the recipient of a German Academic Exchange Grant. He was also an artist in residence at the Kimball Art Center due to the joint grant from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Utah Arts Council.


Barrett has been a professor at Brigham Young University for over 31 years and served as an Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications.

Barrett’s work has been exhibited at the Annual Utah Illustrator’s Exhibitions, Annual Springville Salons, and exhibits at the Salt Lake Art Center. His personal shows have been hosted by the Springville Art Museum, St. George Art Museum, Kimball Art Center, Repartee Gallery, and the Busam Gallerie in Berlin, Germany. Sixteen of his paintings are on display at the corporate headquarters of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee. His “Portraits of the Prophets” series are on permanent display on the BYU campus and various other paintings hang in LDS Temples and Visitors Centers throughout the world.

Barrett is a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Illustrator’s Partnership of America, the Pastel Society of America, the Portrait Society of America, and the Salmagundi Club.

In 2006, Barrett presented two workshops at the Portrait Society of America annual conference. In 2009, he was chosen to illustrate children's books about Barack and Michelle Obama. In 2012, Barrett was commissioned to paint the portrait of Thomas S. Monson. He has also painted various works of art for the LDS Church, ranging from small paintings for the Friend and Ensign, to book covers, to pictures of Christ. In 2014, his piece Y Mountain was used in the announcements and programs for the Inauguration of Kevin J. Worthen as President of BYU.

In December of 2014, one hundred years after the Christmas Truce of 1914, eleven of Barrett’s illustrations were presented to the mayor and people of Messines, Belgium in commemoration of the historic centennial. The pieces were permanently installed in the crypt of St. Nicolas Cathedral in Messines. The same year, his pastel work of dancers was exhibited in the show Beauty by Grace: Pastels at Dixie State University's Sears Art Museum Gallery.


While teaching at BYU, he has created thousands of illustration and received received over fifty local and national awards. Barrett's work has been featured in International Artists, Southwest Art, Artist’s, and American Artist magazines.

In 1995, he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Award for Teaching Excellence at Brigham Young University and in 2004 he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award.

In 2010, the Society of Illustrators designated Barrett as a "Distinguished Educator in the Arts." He was also invited to participate in "Sketchbook Confidential."

In August 2012, Barrett was awarded the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi Artist Award. He has also been selected as one of the Most Honored Living Artists of Utah.

In 2014, two of Barrett's works were accepted into the May/June 2014 Issue of Communication Arts, a prestigious juried competition that then publishes the winners as "the best in visual communications" from around the world. Each winning entry also receives a personalized Award of Excellence, milled from solid aluminum. Barrett also had four illustrations accepted into the Society of Illustrators 52nd Illustration West Competition hosted in 2014. Of the four pieces, the book cover art for Christmas from Heaven received an Honorable Mention Award, and another illustration from the same book received the Bronze Award.

Also in 2014, Barrett spoke at the April 2014 College of Fine Arts and Communication convocation. His remarks can be read here. In the same year, he received the University Professorship Award at BYU's Annual University Conference. In November, he was the featured speaker at the “My Journey as a Scholar of Faith’ series, presented by the BYU Faculty Center.

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