Monday, August 25, 2008

Cowboy Artists of America


Launch of exclusive “Cowboy Artists of America” online gallery and NEW Arizona 7-night self-drive “Art by Automobile” from Ranch Rider.

Ranch Rider will be brushing shoulders with the “Cowboy Artists of America” on 25 August, the internationally renowned artists coming together to highlight American Artist Appreciation Month. Members of the established association, which has been in existence since 1965, will be riding into the online community of Facebook, and sharing their works as part of an exclusive online gallery*. The specialist tour operator is also launching a new Arizona based self-drive for budding cowboy art collectors. Incorporating various galleries dedicated to Western art, the highlight of the 7-night itinerary is the Phoenix Art Museum, home to the “Cowboy Artists of America” Annual Sale and Exhibition.

Steve Todd, Honourary Member of the Cowboy Artists of America, comments: “ Western art and the cowboy lifestyle go hand in hand - in fact, our organisation was born in the crucible of a Mexican cow camp, its existence ratified in the Oak Creek Tavern – a saloon in Sedona, Arizona. As passionate about art as we are about the American West, we also ride out together every year and indulge in a ranch round up, the cowboy lifestyle playing a fundamental part in honoring our heritage and giving inspiration to the artwork created by the members of our 43 year old ‘family.”

Paying homage to the icons of Western art, Frederick Remington and Charles M. Russell – every member of the Cowboy Artists of America, whether a sculptor or painter, stays true to the heartfelt romanticism and realism of their pioneering artwork; and of course, to the spirit of the working cowboy. Travellers looking to reap similar inspiration from the West might want to head off on Ranch Rider’s NEW 7-night “Art By Automobile” self-drive.

A new concept in self-drive, the itinerary features short journeys from only 12 miles, leaving art fanatics with plenty of time to indulge in their passion. In addition, the road trip includes one of the West’s most scenic drives on State Highway 74 – travellers passing through the saguaro covered slopes of the Bradshaw Mountain foothills, as they head North from Phoenix to Wickenburg.

Art Aficionados can sample over 80 galleries and numerous working art studios in Tubac – a thriving art colony surrounded by scenic desert vistas. Celebrating all things equine, the Phippen Museum of Western Art in Prescott is currently showcasing its “Wild Horses” exhibition (open until 30 November 2008); while in Wickenburg, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, houses an unrivalled collection of art and frontier history. According to Ranch Rider, another must do pit stop in Wickenburg is “Ben's Saddlery,” a historic custom saddle shop and one of the few remaining places in Arizona practicing this distinctly Western art form.

While the self-drive itinerary is available all year round, those opting to depart on 14 October will be able to enjoy the “Western Artwalk” in Scottsdale, the 19th annual event bursting with contemporary and traditional art forms – local cowboy musicians bringing the streets to life. Budding collectors can also combine the trip with the “Cowboy Artists of America Annual Sale and Exhibition,” held at the Phoenix Art Museum, on Friday 17 October. Complete with a guided tour of the gallery and “mix n’ mingle” afternoon, travellers will have plenty of opportunities to gain inspiration from the members of this uniquely talented organisation. Another highlight of the weekend, is the “Autograph session” with over 500 people normally in attendance (Saturday 18 October). The exhibition will remain open for public viewing until 16 November. 7-nights with Ranch Rider £838pp, including International flight, all accommodation (based on two adults sharing) and car hire. Excludes fuel surcharges and gallery admissions.

A truly inspirational journey, wanna’ be Russell’s can combine the self-drive with a stay at the Tanque Verde and brush up on their artistic talents by enrolling in “Desert Art” classes. Bordered by the Coronado National Forest and the Saguaro National Park, the ranch offers spellbinding vistas, and instruction in landscape painting, watercolors, charcoal and pencil. (7-night Art by Automobile self-drive and 7-nights at the Tanque Verde with Ranch Rider from £1,657pp, including International flight, all accommodation (based on two people sharing – full board at the ranch), a week’s car hire, transfers, gratuities, ranch based riding and activities). Year round departures.

Alternatively, art lovers can follow in the footsteps of the Cowboy Artists of America, and find their muse on horseback, with an authentic autumn cattle drive at the Dryhead Working Ranch in Montana. (6-nights with Ranch Rider from £1,238pp, including International flight, all full board accommodation (no single supplement), horses, tack and transfers. Excludes fuel surcharges and gratuities as left to guests’ discretion. Departures available 26 October and 02 November).

*The Cowboy Artists of America online gallery will be available to view from 25 August until 30 September at:

For further information on the Cowboy Artists of America please visit:

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