Show Preview | Buffalo Bill Art Show

Cody, WY
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, September 21-22

Santiago Michalek, Winter Pass, oil, 48 x 96.

Santiago Michalek, Winter Pass, oil, 48 x 96.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Encompassing five separate acclaimed museums and a research library, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the largest institution of its kind between Minneapolis and the West Coast—a truly impressive attraction drawing some 200,000 annual visitors to the charmingly modest Rocky Mountain town of Cody. So it’s fitting that the 37th annual Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, which benefits the Center, combines gracious down-home hospitality with artwork worthy of the most sophisticated collectors.

“We’re pretty casual and party-oriented,” says Kathy Thompson, who directs the show on behalf of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. She and 11 committee volunteers screened and invited this year’s 103 artists, including 10 new ones selected from over 130 applicants. Established veterans and newcomers alike, they represent the best of western art today, with a wide variety of styles ranging from traditional to contemporary and subjects ranging from ranching to rodeo, animals to landscapes, historical themes to the present day. “Looking at them all, I think, Wow! They have a hundred and three different ways to see the West,” Thompson adds. About 75 of the artists will be present in Cody for the show.

Though the marquee events take place on Friday and Saturday, September 21-22, the days leading up to that point offer a wealth of related activities. On view now through September 14 is The Scout Miniature Show & Sale, featuring 78 small works by Buffalo Bill artists. The 103 artworks making up the main show are also on view during regular hours through September 21. On Monday, September 17, at the historic Wapiti Lodge, artist and master fly-caster Jim Bortz offers a daytime plein-air painting class followed by evening fly-fishing. Salmagundi Club chairman and collector Tim Newton gives a talk on western art over lunch at the Center on Thursday,
September 20.

Then, on Friday from 4 to 5:30 p.m., registered guests can enjoy a final look at all the works, followed at 6 p.m. by the live auction. Saturday starts off with a Quick Draw & Brunch in the Robbie Powwow Garden, where more than four dozen of the show’s artists create original works in the space of an hour, to be auctioned immediately afterward. That night sees a Black Tie Gala with live music, surrounded by the Buffalo Bill Center’s outstanding collections.

It’s a fitting conclusion to an unparalleled gathering that delights the participating artists as much as the attending collectors. “The Buffalo Bill Show has a big place in my heart,” says Ann Hanson. Her painting EAGLE’S GIFT, a vivid portrait of fellow participant John Potter, is her featured work. Adds Michele Usibelli, whose main painting is the energetic TEAM ROPING, “It’s such an amazing museum and an amazing show.” New participants, too, feel the excitement. “I’m so chuffed to be included among such a great group of artists,” enthuses David Kammerzell, whose HEARTLESS SMOKEY BILL offers a pop-art spin on a vintage photo. Adds Julie Chapman, whose painstakingly detailed scratchboard piece titled URSA MAJOR dramatically captures a grizzly emerging from the water, “I am super excited because this is one of the premier shows for representational artists working in the western genre.” —Norman Kolpas

contact information
www.buffalobillartshow.com

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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