2016 will bring new ideas, new art and new experiences to Tallgrass Art Gallery in Historic Pawhuska. We will be adding four new artists in January, three Native Americans and another art photographer. This brings our total number of artists represented to 26 fine Oklahoma and Southern Kansas Artist. We feel that we now have one of the best regional Western, Wildlife and Native American Art galleries in the area. Representing fine arts from bronzes and watercolors to traditional pottery and fine handicrafts.
In 2016 we will be working on literary arts, books about cowboy poetry and the Tallgrass area. These new projects will bring us closer to our goal of 'Bringing Arts and Artists' to the Osage area of Oklahoma.
Tallgrass Art School, in cooperation with Tri County Tech and Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve, will offer 48 classes from January to June of next year for beginning and professional artists. You can see a complete lineup of classes on the school website www.tallgrassartschool.com. Classes range from beginning pottery, the popular 'Paint and Sip' to advanced sculpture. Something for everyone to put a little art in your life.
Tallgrass Art Gallery and School continues to strive to bring more artists and classes to our gallery in Historic Pawhuska. Our goal is to represent the best of the best in Oklahoma and Regional Artists. Please visit us to see our collection and take a piece of the Osage home with you. After all, we're Okies and 'we love company'.
All my friends and those who visit the gallery are aware of my obsession with American Bison and the Tallgrass Prairie. It's one of the reasons I live in Pawhuska, the Gateway to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, home of 2,500 bison roaming freely on almost 3,900 acres of preserved prairie.
Artists are continually inspired by these majestic animals. They grace, if you can use that word for bison, many pieces of art. Many of the artists in the gallery have captured the bison in various medias and styles, from bronzes to oils and photography. Every piece seems to tell a story of the lives of the bison.
American Bison were once almost extinct but have made a great comeback. The herd at Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is dramatic, if gathered in small herds or a solitary bull making his way across the broad expanses of the prairie. I never see a bison but I am moved in some way.
From Buffalo Nickles to huge bronze sculptures, bison are a part of the story of America from the Native Americans to today. The Native Americans called the bison 'the providers', sent by the Great Spirit to provide for them. Every piece of a bison was used and the animals were respected. A bison in the wild is a spiritual experience.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and see these living legends, you should exercise it. It's beautiful any time of year, and leaves the heart full and the spirit lifted.
This Saturday Tallgrass Art Gallery will host the Oklahoma Agri-Women for their tour of the Tallgrass area. They will be visiting Liberty Ranch, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and downtown Pawhuska, with dinner in the gallery.
The arts encourage tourism. Visitors enjoy going places that expose them to art, diverse cultures and fine crafts. Towns that focus on these types of visitors also draw other businesses. 'Arts Communities' like Santa Re, Fredericksburg TX and Red River have shown the possibilities for small towns to embrace the arts as an economic base that encourages tourists.
For the town of Pawhuska, besides the large amount of public art, the Osage Tribal Museum, the Constantine Theater and Tallgrass Gallery, there is the beauty of the landscape itself that demands the visitors attention.
For small communities with a rich history in the arts the possibilities are endless. This weekend we will welcome Oklahoma Agri-Women to Pawhuska to enjoy the ranches, Tallgrass Prairie and the arts. It's the beginning of a shift in our economy to a broader base. Support tourism, the arts and the Osage, encourage your friends and relatives to visit and enjoy what we are and watch for what we will become.
Support Your Local Artist! How often to we hear we should support local businesses, artists, craftspeople and companies. It's a common enough thought, but how often do we actually do it?
When we support these local entities, we in fact are supporting ourselves and our communities. This morning when I was talking about 'shopping local' (ok it's one of my favorite topics) with another business person, they recounted the complaints of other people in the area about the towns roads, schools and other infrastructure. But, when you ask these same people if they are shopping locally for Christmas, most often as not, the answer is 'no'. When you spend your money with a local artist or business, you support your town not only in keeping your money circulating locally, but putting sales tax into the town's budget for infrastructure and improvements.
Of course when you support local artists and craftsmen, you also help them to be able to support their families and continue to produce their works. This influx of money on the local level also encourages others to enter the arts and open businesses.
So I'd like to ask you to 'Support your local artists, craftspeople and businesses. Your shopping dollars stay in your community and your sales tax stays there as well to improve where you live. Christmas is the Seson of giving, so shopping local presents the opportunity to purchase unique items and 'give back' to your community.
The art market is continually changing. Styles become popular for a period of time, then it seems that style of work moves aside for another one. Currently we are seeing a resurgence in the popularity of Western and Wildlife Art as well as 'realism'. Western and Wildlife Artists are getting higher prices for their work than have in the past and the public has a renewed interest in realism. While I do not feel that any personal form of art is any 'better' than any other, I have a great love for finely executed Western and Wildlife Art. It may have something to do with my background, personal loves and things I treasure.
A fine Western or Wildlife painting attempts to preserve and tell the story of a way of life and place that is fast disappearing from the American Landscape. Maybe that is the basis for my personal love.
Tallgrass Art Gallery is dedicated to showing the art of Oklahoma and Kansas artists showing these types of art. From Bronze by Burneta Venosdel to oil paintings by Steve Bouldin and Carlene Wallace, we are happy to represent some of the masters of American Western and Wildlife art.
By definition, an emerging artist is someone who is just entering the field of professional art field and whose work shows great prospect. These individuals have often worked on their 'art' for years with little or no recognition. Occasionally a person shows up with so much' natural talent' that their work is outstanding from the beginning and their pieces show an understanding of color, form and texture that they don't emerge, they jump into the art market. Brian Tharp is going to be one of those.
When Brian first came into Tallgrass Art Gallery and showed me his work, I was taken aback by the beauty of the work and his understanding of the subject matter. Working in charcoal, pencil and recently in airbrush, he has a style to match some of the best Western Artists around. It is for me, an honor to help him get his work out into the public and to show it with some of the regions and nations best known Western Artists.
Emerging artists are the future of the arts. They challenge established artists, expand our concepts of art and encourage us to look at art in new ways. They continue the tradition of working artists keeping the historical and cultural record of our society.
"Afternoon Break' charcoal original is now in Tallgrass Art Gallery, proudly representing Brian Tharp and many other great artists of the Tallgrass Region.
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery