27th annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition and Sale
Fine and functional art of the West have been the centerpieces of Dry Creek Arts Fellowship’s annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition and Sale for the past 26 years. This year’s 27th edition will continue that tradition by featuring new works by 80 of the country’s leading artists. On display will be paintings, sculpture and photographs along with contemporary cowboy gear such as saddles, boots, knives, hats, bits and spurs, hitched horsehair and musical instruments.
The show, on view November 9 through December 1, moves to Desert Caballeros Western Museum for the first time. There is a unique synergy between the event and the museum, as their missions align in showcasing the way of the West—past and present. “Trappings is the finest show of its kind in Arizona,” says Daniel M. Finley, executive director of the museum. “We are excited to be hosting it and our proximity to the Valley makes it much more accessible to so many more people.”
When looking for a new venue for the show, Dry Creek Arts Fellowship executive director Linda Stedman says they were lucky in finding an Arizona venue to continue the legacy. “We didn’t have to move it out of state. I think that is something; it’s an Arizona show and it has a history here,” she says.
Stedman adds, “In 1985 there were four artists, with Joe Beeler being one of them. The [Cowboy Artists of America] had already started, which was only men and for paintings and bronzes. Beeler was concerned that his other friends in the ranching business made wonderful things but nobody saw them because there wasn’t a show for gear. [With this event there was] a changeover in the idea of that, yes, it’s a saddle, but maybe it’s a $50,000 saddle because of the silver and the engravings. It’s still a totally functional piece. The show has withstood a pretty rough-and-ready frontier of time.”
Nearly 30 years later, the exhibition not only boasts an array of work—such as boots by Paul Krause, beaded bags by Cathy Smith, leatherwork by Bob Park and Carson Thomas, and spurs by Larry Fuegen —but also a series of public programs. Every Saturday of the show—november 9, 16, 13 and 30— panels, demonstrations and book signings will take place. For instance, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday, Trappings artists will demonstrate their skills while answering questions about how they make their work. On November 9, from 1 to 2:30 pm. Smith leads a discussion on making costumes for Western movies, while on November 30, also from 1 to 2:30 p.m. is the roundtable discussion “Spurs and other Talking Iron.”
Kicking off Trappings of the American West is the Member Preview Sale and Artist Reception on November 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. During the opening, attendees have the first chance to purchase artwork and meet the participating artists.
Paul Krause, Hillbilly Hollywood boots, tooled leather, 12 x 10 x 7”
Cathy Smith, beaded bag, leather and beads, 8 x 4 x 4”
Bob Park, tooled leather purse, 10 x 6 x 5”
Carson Thomas, ½-scale tooled leather saddle, 22 x 24 x 24”
Larry Fuegen, Damascus steel spurs, 6 x 5 x 6”