Artists flock to annual Phippen Museum showcase
In the late 1970s, Chicago artist Bonnie Casey loaded up her car with her paintings, easels and set-ups to display her work and headed West.
Her destination: the Phippen Museum's Western Art Show and Sale on the courthouse plaza in downtown Prescott.
Casey, whose early training was as a scholarship student at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, had heard about the Phippen's annual show from a friend who encouraged her to trek west and exhibit her work.
"We drove from Chicago with everything," she said, noting she almost sold all of her work that year.
She and her husband, George, found the Prescott area attractive, and several years later they settled here.
In her second year exhibiting at the Phippen show, she won two awards.
"I thought, 'This is grand. This is the reason we moved out here,'" Casey said of the Phippen show and other opportunities the West offered her art career.
Over the many decades since, Casey has established herself as an artist whose panorama is the West, from her signature prickly-pear cactus to landscapes on ranches she has captured in oil to buttes in Sedona and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
For Casey, her painting is an emotional experience. "I am emotional about my subject," she said. When a scene attracts her, "I want to keep the emotion that attracted me in my painting."
Casey will be among 120 Western artists from across the nation who will be showing their works at the Phippen Museum's 37th annual Western Art Show and Sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday on the courthouse plaza. Admission to the event and the museum is free during the Memorial Day weekend.
The traditional "Quick Draw," in which artists create a piece of artwork in 45 minutes, will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the north steps of the courthouse. These pieces are then auctioned off to the public.
The Miniature Masterpieces Show and Sale will be available for viewing at the Phippen Museum or on its website, www.phippenartmuseum.org.
Artist Kathy Quick Anderson of Chino Valley will be exhibiting her oils portraying cowboys, horses and vistas, integrating the two in "realistic scenes with riders and landscapes," she said.
Anderson, who won an award at the 2003 Phippen show, describes the annual event as "one of the finest art venues in the state. It's one of the most fun weekends of the year for me."
Another award winner at the annual Phippen Memorial Day weekend show and sale, James Ayers, will bring his paintings of historical American Indian cultures from Elizabeth, Colo., to set up on the courthouse plaza. He creates his pieces with an emphasis on figurative and portraiture, using traditional oil painting techniques with brushes and palette knife applications. "I enjoy using textures and lots of contrast as well as a variety of colors," he said.
Ayers said he hasn't shown his paintings in the Phippen show for a few years, and returning this year is "so exciting. It's right in the heart of Prescott, with some of the best Western artists and culture."
After visiting the Phippen Museum's annual show and sale, art lovers will want to visit the Smoki Museum's seventh annual Southwest Indian Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday. Native American artists will be selling their artwork, such as pottery, baskets, katsina dolls, painting, jewelry and more.
Gerry Quotskuyva, a member of the Bear Strap Clan from the Second Mesa Village of Shungopavi who owns a gallery in Sedona, will exhibit his katsina dolls, a cultural icon of his Hopi people, paintings, and his latest genre - bronzes.
His inaugural bronze, "Blue Corn Maiden," represents the importance of Mother Corn in Hopi and other indigenous cultures.
Another highlight of the Smoki Museum's fest will be performances by world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan and the Yellow Bird Dancers at noon both days.
Other festival features include authentic Native American food, fry bread and Navajo tacos.
Admission is $5, and free for children under 12 and native people. Event hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The Smoki Museum is located at 147 N. Arizona Ave. in Prescott.