Even if you can't list one characteristic
of the 15th century Italian art movement, you'd probably
be in agreement with me to want to call Donna Metzler,
writer, pianist and painter, a Renaissance Woman.
In her case, I'm more inclined to apply the expression
in its original language since it fits her so well - la
donna da Rinascimento.
An equally accomplished artist in the three main categories
of Fine Arts - written, visual and aural - Metzle's personality
exudes energy and creativity.
What makes her individually impressive accomplishments
even more inspiring is that Metzler is raising two daughters
with her husband and works full-time as Moab's city manager.
Oh, and did I mention that she also hosts her own radio
"Interstellar Overdrive," on KZMU, on Wednesdays
from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m., playing indy and alternative rock.
I realize that the titles we attribute to artists, such
as "writer" or "painter," are slightly
ambiguous because where is the fine line between a person
who journals and a writer who publishes, or a doodler
in a sketchbook and a painter exhibiting in a gallery.
Without expanding further on this issue, I will suggest
that inviting the public to contemplate one's artistic
endeavor gives merit to the titles.
Metzler earns the various titles bestowed on her artistic
accomplishments, in part, because she does just that.
Her first artistic passion was the piano. Mostly self-taught,
thanks in part to her older brother who passed on the lessons
he received, Metzler found both a creative and emotional
outlet on the piano.
Inspired by the loss of her mother at the age of twelve,
Metzler began composing pieces. Music provided an expression
to the flood of emotions she experienced during this time.
Metzler currently describes her compositions as "impressionistic
pieces that create a specific mood." She plays the
music differently each time, evoking the feelings she is
Although she can read music, Metzler records her compositions
aurally. Having unusual foresight for a young adult, she
began recording the music she created as soon as she created
Thanks to advances in recording technology, she was able
to produce an album on her own, which she entitled, "Another
Journey," in the late '90’s.
This CD is a collection of her original
compositions cataloguing various figurative and physical
journeys people can make. Some are based on personal experiences
and others on what she imagines other people have gone through.
Metzler carries an image in her head, as varied as a
rainstorm or the act of ironing clothes, and translates
this vision into sound through the music she composes
for the piano, and sometimes into oil paintings.
In addition to her album, she performs for audiences. She
grew up playing in church and for talent shows, and, more
recently, she has played for the Moab Arts Festival (in May),
weddings and the theater.
Her music, she became involved in The Moab Repertory Theater.
She became fascinated with the "theater as an art form." Metzler
found herself drawn by its demand for collaboration among
the different elements involved in putting on a performance
and by the levels of interpretation theater affords.
Possessing a curious mind and seemingly limitless energy
galvanized Metzler into trying her hand at writing.
Her first foray into play writing was a parody on pop culture
that took place in Australia, entitled "Down and Under." The
Moab Repertory Theater produced this fifteen-minute satire,
and Metzler was hooked by the interaction between writer-and-performers,
Enervated by the success of this project, she has continued
to write plays, most recently the sold-out mystery dinner
theater the Moab Art and Recreation Center (MARC) put on
as a fund raiser, which took place at Buck's Grill.
Metzler was given specific parameters for this full-length
play, including that the mystery had to incorporate an actual
auction at which local artists' works were sold. She rose
to this challenge and wrote a clever scenario centering on
the theft of a piece of art, using an actual incident in
which a Van Gogh was stolen from the museum in Amsterdam
as the springboard for her fictional plot.
The Quick Draw auction (for which eight Moab artists created
works during the action of the play) became the climax of
the piece, and the real-life highest bidder unwittingly also
acquired the role of the thief.
The cleverness which she imbued this play with reveals that
Metzler is a person who rises to a challenge.
She obviously seeks them out. She holds two degrees (B.A.
in philosophy, M.S. in Public Policy Analysis), which represent
the dual nature, intuitive and academic, of this incredibly
talented and prolific woman.
I can't help asking the question: does Metzler live in a
twenty-four hour day like the rest of us, or has she found
some extra hours hidden under a dusty sofa somewhere. Short
of some sci-fi scenario, she must live within the same time
limits we all are forced to respect, yet she accomplishes
so much. Clearly, this is a woman who doesn't waste energy
on an endeavor without endowing it with creativity and meaning.
In the same way we shout out to a guy who succeeds in a remarkable
feat, "you da man!," it is tempting to grace Metzler
with title, The Woman. Or better yet, La Donna.