Fort Worth is a city of contrasts. It’s the Gateway to the West. It’s the Cultural District. It’s Cowtown.
So it just makes sense that one of our city’s icons, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (FWSSR), should team up with the celebrated Western arts organization, the Cowboy Artists of America (CAA). The CAA’s annual art show and sale will be held on Friday, November 4, and Saturday, November 5.
Founded in 1965 by four prominent Western artists, the CAA is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Western art and is one of the longest surviving organizations of fine artists in the nation. Bruce E. Greene, artist and current president of CAA, said, “Way back in 2019, we set our sights on Fort Worth. It felt like the place our show needed to be. That led us to the Stock Show.”
“Almost every major rodeo has its own art show,” Jordan Simons, the manager of the FWSSR’s annual youth art contest, said. “Denver. Cheyenne. Calgary. They all have professional art shows, and while we have our youth contest, we didn’t have a professional one. It just makes sense to pair with the Cowboy Artists of America.”
Greene agrees. “It’s a beautiful thing to work with the Stock Show. It gives us a foundation in Fort Worth, with its cultural base.”
As if the partnership with one of the oldest indoor rodeos and one of the oldest fine arts organizations wasn’t perfect enough, the CAA has an educational arm while the FWSSR has its celebrated youth art contest. Named for one of the founders of the CAA, the Joe Beeler Foundation seeks to support and nurture young Western artists.
Greene said, “When I was young, I never dreamed I could make a living doing art. We want to give the kids a spark… let them know, ‘Hey, you can do this for a living. Here’s how it’s done.’”
To that end, on the Wednesday before the preview event, the CAA and the FWSSR has invited local schools to come see the show. “These kids will see the show before the collectors. Before the professionals. Before everyone,” Greene laughed.
During the 2022 Stock Show, the CAA invited 50 Fort Worth high schooler artists to a workshop at the Will Rogers Coliseum. Greene explained, “We had pens set up with horses and a longhorn for the kids to sketch, paint, and sculpt. The [Joe Beeler] Foundation supplied everything they needed, and the kids were taught by our members… We’re planning on doing that again in January.”
“Eventually, the art contest will coincide with the CAA show,” Simons said. “Eventually, we want to sell the youth art at the exhibition.”
This year’s exhibition and art sale will take place at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. On Friday, November 4, you can get a first look at the art and meet the artists while enjoying craft cocktails, delicious food, and live music at the Preview Party. On Saturday, there is a morning artist meet-and-greet and all-day viewing before the art sale. Additionally, Ed Robeson will host “Stories from Around the Fire: 56 Years with the Cowboy Artists of America,” a Q&A panel which is open to the public and hosted by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
“Fort Worth has new art buyers as well as established art patrons,” Simons said. To that end, this year’s show includes sketches that are price for both new collectors and established art patrons. “We wanted to make the art accessible. It’s important to have smaller pieces to help new collectors.”
“This partnership is a beautiful thing,” Greene said. “The Stock Show gets the most exclusive, most elite group of Western artists out there, while the CAA becomes part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo world.”
For more information about the Cowboy Artists of America’s annual art show on November 4 and 5, please click here. For more information on the FWSSR’s youth art contest for artists ages 5 through 18, click here.