Western Art East of the Mississippi
For many, Western art conjures visions of Arizona deserts, the rocky vistas of Utah and lush California landscapes.
But there is currently a rich tradition of the artform east of the Mississippi, where the Blue Ridge Mountains, Florida marshes and rugged coastlines inspire a similar awe.
Northwest of Atlanta in Cartersville, Georgia, is the Booth Western Art Museum. Along with its many rotating exhibitions, the museum brings the West back home with its annual Southeastern Cowboy Gathering, which hosts Western art, music, poetry and a chuck wagon invitational during a three-day celebration, March 21 through 23. The museum’s Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium takes place in 2019 from October 24 through 27. Within the city are the Miami Circle Art District and the West Midtown Arts District, which is home to the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and countless other arts institutions all within walking distance of each other.
In Charleston, a plethora of galleries are found in the French Quarter, Gallery Row on Broad, Lower King and Upper King art districts. Around 40 gallery and exhibition spaces recently joined forces to form the Charleston Gallery Association, which unites these many art districts. A quarterly art walk takes place on the first Friday of March, May, October and December from 5 to 8 p.m. In February, the city hosts the highly anticipated Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, which fills the city with wildlife and sporting art collectors. The 2019 edition takes place February 14 to 17 and includes a popular Quick Draw/speed Sculpt event.
One state to the north, the Downtown Asheville Art District encompasses the vibrant arts community of the North Carolina town. More than 25 galleries, studios and museums are located within a halfmile radius in the historic downtown, and First Friday Art Walks occur April through December from 5 to 8 p.m.
The James Museum of Art, recently opened in St. Petersburg, Florida, puts on display founders Tom and Mary James’ passion for Western art. When traveling the West, they were captivated by the art, landscape and wildlife and became dedicated patrons of Western and Native art. Their permanent collection includes galleries on the early West, Native life, Native artists, the frontier, wildlife and new Western art.
Other Florida art locales include St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. The
St. Augustine Art Association promotes arts in the town through a First Friday Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m. In Sarasota, a First Friday Art Walk takes place on Palm Avenue and a Third Friday Art Walk allows visitors to explore the Towles Court Arts District.
The pages of this destination guide will give readers a look into the organizations and artists that call this region home, including
Drayton Hall, northwest of Charleston. Photo courtesy of the Charleston Area CVB, Explorecharleston.com.