Cowgirl Up!

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Wickenburg, AZ, lies about 60 miles northwest of Phoenix. It’s known for fresh air, country living, and, more recently, for the annual Cowgirl Up exhibition and sale. This year, Cowgirl Up features paintings, drawings, and sculptures by more than 50 women and is on display March 23-May 6 at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.

Since its inception in 2006, a primary mission of this show has been to spotlight art from “the other half of the West”—works by only female artists that capture the spirit and lifestyle of the region. For the uninitiated, “cowgirl up” in western lingo essentially means, “Be your own woman. Make your own path. And toughen up.” 
It’s the feminine equivalent of “cowboy up.”

On the following pages you’ll meet six of this year’s Cowgirl Up participants. Some have been in the show since its early days; others are showing their works for the first time. One Cowgirl Up veteran, Carol Swinney, sums up the importance of the event this way: “I think the show has one of the best groups of women artists who are painting western subject matter today. I am very proud to be a part of it.”

Featured in March 2012.

Elizabeth Black
Martha Pettigrew
Carol Swinney
Maura Allen
Linda St. Clair
Sharon Markwardt