Curator • Denver, CO
Distinction: As curator of the annual Coors Western Art Show, Fredrick brings together modern and traditional western art in a unique showcase for art in the West.
What has been the biggest change in the art world during your career? The internet. Now that artists maintain their own websites, blog, tweet, and post on Facebook, it’s made everything so much more immediate and accessible.
What are you proudest of about the Coors show? I’m proudest of the amount of money we’ve been able to contribute to the National Western Scholarship Trust, which supports college students in Colorado and Wyoming. These kids are studying agribusiness, veterinary sciences, and rural family medicine. After college, they go to live and work in small rural communities. We are helping keep the western way of life alive.
What is your most memorable moment while working on the show? This old rancher came into the exhibit with a bit of an attitude, but spent time looking at everything. Before leaving, he pulled a volunteer aside, took her over to a series of photorealistic paintings of cattle and said, “This here, this is really good.” Then he turned to a group of luscious, abstracted paintings of cattle and said, “But this. This is a colossal waste of paint.” What makes me smile about this story is that we really got to that guy. Art should cause people to feel something—and both reactions the rancher had were honest and heartfelt.
Describe the show in one word. Real.
How do you think artists benefit by being included in the show? The Coors show is eclectic and broad and more contemporary in scope, so artists who are in our exhibit are put in a different category—the conversation changes from history to what is actually happening in art in the West today.
How has the show contributed to appreciation for art in today’s West? By offering such a strong variety of work as well as a wide range of styles, we are able to show people that western art is so much more than what they expected. It’s a living, breathing, vital form of art.
Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.