by Edd Kellerman, Executive Director, Phippen Museum
Many of today’s best-known Western artists got their start as juried participants in the Phippen Museum’s Western Art Show & Sale. This Memorial Day weekend tradition on Prescott, Arizona’s historic courthouse plaza, is extremely popular with art enthusiasts, Western collectors and tourists from far and wide.
It also draws some of the nation’s most talented artists. On May 25, 26 and 27, another outstanding presentation of fine art is on tap for the museum’s 45th Annual Western Art Show & Sale.
Artists from across the country display artwork in oil, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, pastel, sculpture and drawing. Although this annual juried show features well-established artists, up-and-comers who create outstanding art of the American West also will be well represented. This offers visitors a great opportunity to see some of the best examples of Western art in America today, while also providing the chance to purchase pieces directly from the masters and meet participating artists in an informal, outdoor setting.
In addition to this outdoor event, the Phippen also presents its annual Miniature Masterpiece Show & Sale, the fun-filled Artist Meet ’n Greet Dinner, the extremely popular Quick Draw challenges with live art auctions, a public artist award ceremony and free admission to the museum throughout the weekend.
This year marks the 16th anniversary of the museum’s Miniature Masterpiece Show & Sale. This unique and successful sale-by-draw event features more than 60 of the biggest names in the world of American Western Art. Beginning on Wednesday, May 1, the artwork will be on display at the museum and also on the website at www.phippenartmuseum.org. A special mini masterpiece preview and catered reception will be held on Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m., featuring an amazing collection of reasonably priced miniature pieces. To place an intent-to-purchase, interested buyers can visit or contact the museum between May 1 and the drawing date on Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m.
Presented on the north steps of the courthouse, the Phippen’s Quick Draw art demonstrations will be Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 at 2 p.m. in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd. More than 20 participating artists are challenged to create a finished piece of artwork in only 60 minutes. These amazing pieces are then immediately auctioned off to onlookers while the paint is still wet.
These special art events are very well attended, so get there early to find a good spot to watch the spectacle of artists “under the gun.”
On Saturday, May 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Phippen Museum, an exciting evening of Western fun will take place at the Artist Meet ’n Greet Dinner. While mingling with participating artists and exploring the current exhibitions, guests will enjoy refreshments, a delicious ranch-style dinner by Big Daddy E’s and live Western entertainment with Sky Daddy & Lonesome Valley. Seating for this event is $30 per person and can be reserved by calling the museum at 928-778-1385.
If that weren’t enough, the museum also will present another unique show and sale called PAWs, or Phippen Award Winners: Small Art to Go, comprised of artwork created by award winners from the past three years. These amazing pieces can be purchased at any time between May 4 and June 2 and immediately taken home.
Finally, a special Artist Award Ceremony will be held Sunday, May 27 at 11 a.m. Taking place on the north courthouse steps, this presentation is offered to recognize and celebrate the tremendous skill and effort of the show’s outstanding participating artists. Awards will be presented in 10 different categories, including The George Phippen Memorial Foundation Award, Phippen Family Award and People’s Choice Award. The public is encouraged to attend.
Event hours for the courthouse show and sale are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. In addition, admission to this event and the Phippen Museum are free throughout the Memorial Day weekend.
Opening its doors in 1984, the museum was named after inspirational Western sculptor and painter George Phippen. He was a co-founder and first president of the Cowboy Artists of America and, after his untimely passing at the age of 50, a group of his friends and family believed an institution devoted to American Western art should be established in his memory.
More than 30 years later, the Phippen Museum continues its ongoing mission to present museum quality Western art for the enjoyment of visitors from all across the nation and abroad.
For additional information on this event, or to make reservations for the Meet ’n Greet Dinner, please contact the Phippen Museum at 928-778-1385.