Through March 30
This story was featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
The new Tucson Desert Art Museum offers visitors a treasure trove of art and artifacts that spotlight the history and art of the desert Southwest. The core of the museum, which opened in November 2013, features premier collections of Navajo and Hopi textiles, including chief’s blankets, saddle blankets, and Yeibichai weavings. Also in the museum’s permanent collection are artworks by living and deceased masters who have captured the region’s landscape, such as Ray Roberts, Ed Mell, Howard Post, Peter Nisbet, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, and Maynard Dixon.
The 25,000-square-foot museum includes space for rotating shows along with a library, auditorium, meeting rooms, and a painting studio for classes. Highlights of the museum are exhibits on Navajo sand painting, the legacy of the Spanish conquistadors, early armaments of the Southwest, and artifacts from the Mesoamerican period.
In response to requests from contemporary artists, the museum has also opened a special gallery which features original artworks that are for sale. Proceeds from the sales go toward supporting the museum. The ongoing mission of the contemporary artists’ gallery is to promote and inspire Southwestern art. The inaugural gallery show, titled Blue Skies, features 15 paintings by Lou Heiser and is on view through March 30. “Lou’s work chronicles his personal explorations of the trails and canyons of Arizona,” says museum director Rhonda Smith. “His landscapes capture the rich southwestern colors that our area is known for, and they connect us to these magical trails used by Native peoples and early pioneers to this area.”
The museum hosts visual arts classes for both adults and children; Landscape Through Collage, Plein Air Watercolor, and Geometry in Art: Global Connections are among the offerings. Smith is enthusiastic about the museum’s many educational and artistic opportunities for the art lover. “Nowhere else will the visitor find such an eclectic array of desert Southwest art and artifacts,” she says. “Our motto is, ‘Visualize history through art.’” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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