Cowgirls Get Their Due


Some of the top female western artists in the country convened recently for the opening of the Cowgirl Up! show at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, AZ. This is the fifth annual juried exhibition, and over the years it has proved to be an excellent counterpoint to the Cowboy Artists of America exhibition held every October in nearby Phoenix. The “cowboy” artists’ organization is an exclusively male enclave of top western artists. But the “cowgirl” show since its inception has cast the spotlight on “art from the other half of the West” as it is so aptly subtitled. More than 200 paintings, drawings, and sculptures by 56 women artists are currently on display at the museum through May 2. There is a range of subject matter, including Grand Canyon landscapes, contemporary cowgirls, and children in Native American dress. “Of course, we also have our share of horse and cows, but even those are dramatic,” says Mary Ann Inga, interim director of the museum. By the way, the phrase cowgirl up!—loosely defined—means toughen up. In other words: If you fall down, get up. And don’t whine because you break a nail. –Bonnie Gangelhoff

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2 thoughts on “Cowgirls Get Their Due

  1. JoAnn Chartier

    Ah, how happy I am as an artist of a certain age, painting the west, to know that girls in high heeled boots are bringin’ it on! Don’t get me wrong, I have no bone to pick with the guys, but when it comes right down to it, there have ALWAYS been women artists in the west, weaving baskets or sewing elk teeth to buckskin or making pit fired ceramics. What was made back then has become collectible art today; Emily Carr painting western Canada or Mary Hallock Foote painting and writing about the west, and the iconic Georgia O’Keefe — we’ve been here all along.

  2. Abigail Gutting

    Both Cowboy Artists of America and Cowgirl Up are wonderful venues for fine art that celebrates the spirit of the American West! I have great respect for many of the artists who belong to these organizations and often study their work. A visual feast!