Fire, Clay and a Love of Tradition...
Lisa Rutherford is a traditionalist carrying on the fine crafts of her ancestors. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Lisa produces some of her pottery while working as a docent at the 1710 Cherokee Village located in Talequah, Oklahoma. Traditional tools and methods are used to build her museum quality hand coiled pots. Surfaces are incised with textiles, walnuts, corn cobs, cordage or hand carved traditional wood panels, an art that was brought back to life.
Lisa doesn't limit her artisitc abilities to pottery. She also produces feather capes, beadwork and Cherokee attire. She is constantly exploring the past to bring fine arts and crafts into the present. Her work has been seen in museums across the United States and been featured in numerous shows. She has won awards for her pieces. Several of her creations are in the permanent collection of museums.
Tallgrass Art Gallery in historic Pawhuska, Oklahoma is proud to represent Lisa Rutherford and share these traditional Native American fine crafts with our guests. Lisa currently has pots in gallery as well as her turtles and will be bringing more pieces in the future.
Hard Work and Dedication Pays Off...
Artists spend countless hours working to hone their art. Hours of field and studio time that doesn't even take into account time spent at workshops and traveling to shows. All these hours of dedication have paid off this week for two of the Tallgrass Artists.
Laine Smith, art photographer was accepted to show in Wyoming as one of the top 30 Western Photographers in the U.S. Laine's hours in the saddle riding with cowboys, hauling horses and gear across the country has paid off. Her images capture the hours of dust, hard work and love of the cowboys she photographs. The images she produces clearly show a passion and understanding of her subject. Add to this the photographs of wildlife, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and rodeos and you have an outstanding collection of work by a rising star in the art world.
Burnetta Venosdel started sculpting late in life. After working as a teacher and other occupations, upon retirement she started sculpting. Working in clay seemed to be 'what she was meant to do'. Burnetta's hours of studio time, careful research into subject matter and passion for the arts show in every piece she produces. This week she was accepted into the American Women Artists Annual Juried Show. Often the viewer just sees a finished bronze, not all the dedication it took to produce it. Burnetta has been working, attending workshops and showing her pieces..always with the goal of being the best she can.
Artists spend unknown hours 'behind the scenes' to produce the art we see. Their dedication is what hangs on the walls of our homes, their stories are cast in bronze and their love for what they do is captured in a photograph. Supporting artists supports all the arts.
We cant to congratulate these two artists for their persistence that has paid off. We are honored to represent them at Tallgrass Art Gallery, as we are of all the artists we show.
It's Wednesday Morning in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Normally, early on a Wednesday I can set in front of the gallery, enjoy a cup of coffee and wave at the area ranchers and Pawhuska residents as they head out to start their day. But this morning everything started to change.
After years of work, prayer and just plain believing it could happen, Pawhuska is becoming something more, a tourism, arts and travel destination. There is excitement in the air, the community is starting to come together and you can physically see daily the changes and growth. It's a wonderful time to be in this small rural town and watch it's rapid rebirth!
From Ree Drummond's mercantile and deli, to local merchants and business people investing in the community with time and cash, there is movement on every front. A 1 1/4 bronze sculpture is being finished in our art center, the merchant's association is working to quickly dress Pawhuska in her finest and residents are starting to work towards common goals.
There have been times in the past when it seemed this might never happen, but now it is so obvious that we are becoming something so much more than what we were.
I would encourage you to get involved in Pawhuska, or your own community. Groups of like minded people, working together can make incredible things happen.
For the last two Mondays, I have been so lucky to have the honor to hang art at the Osage Nation Tribal Museum and assist Hallie and Callie in preparing for the museums opening 5/20/16 at 4:30. The team at the museum has done an outstanding job with their resources to create a museum that is modern, educational and tells the story of the Great Osage Nation. Also in the past week Preserving the Arts in the Osage has started their huge project of sculpting, making molds and completing the Ben Johnson Memorial in Historic Pawhuska. I've been so lucky to be involved in 'The Ben Johnson Project' as it raises monies to help finish the monument by John D. Free.
Why is this all important? It's surely not about me telling you my volunteer schedule. I'm trying to stress the importance each individual can make when they choose to be involved in the arts, their community and it's organizations. The Arts, to a great extent, depend on the generosity financially and 'time' of people like you and me who support them in our communities. Many times this 'in kind' donation of time is as important if not more so as financial contributions.
Why are the arts important to the communities they serve? Museums are storehouses of our past and their arts. Art Associations encourage local arts and attract artists to a region or place, pushing economical development. Small art associations give citizens in small towns and rural areas to experience art and expose their children. Children exposed to the arts and volunteering grow up to be involved in the arts, and guess what? volunteer! Children exposed to the arts do better in math, science and other core subjects.
I'd encourage you to become involved in local organizations in your area, if not the arts, historical societies, museums, parks departments and humane societies. There is a niche for every type of volunteer. Sometimes your hour of service can actually be more beneficial than money (although no non-profit turns down helpful contributions).
So in closing, maybe ask, 'What am I doing to improve my community? Could I give an hour or two a week or month to further my community and it's future/growth'. If the answer is yes, try these great organizations:
Preserving Arts in the Osage www.artsintheosage.org
Osage Nation Museum https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/museum
Osage County Historical Society https://www.facebook.com/The-Osage-County-Historical-Society-Museum-111809765522764/
Need more ideas, I'm sure your local chamber can help out!
Volunteer, it's good for you, it's good for the organization you volunteer with and it's good for youer community.
"WE are Pawhuska'.....
This weekend Burneta Venosdel's sculpture workshop will travel to Woolaroc to sculpt our new National Mammal, American Bison. Students from the Oklahoma Sculpture Society will join Burneta for a weekend of sculpting and ranch life at Liberty Ranch, N.E. of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Students will have the opportunity to sculpt on the ranch, at Woolaroc and enjoy the Western Culture of the Osage.
If you don't have weekend plans, this is a great weekend to visit Woolaroc and watch the sculptors at work. They are an accomplished group honing their art skills. They will be working by the concession stand, weather permitting or in the rotunda in case of inclement weather.
Still want more Bison???? Extend your trip into the Osage and visit Tallgrass Prairie Preserve North of Pawhuska. Is more art on the menu? Visit our gallery in Historic Pawhuska, specializing in Western, Wildlife and Native American Art. We'd love to be your guides through the rich history and nature of 'The Osage', the Real Gateway to the West.
Brian Tharp, originally from Arkansas City, Kansas grew up around ranching, feedlots, rodeo and American Quarter Horses. He discovered art at 6 years of age when his speech therapist let him finger paint one day. Art became his favorite pastime. As a child, he got lots of satisfaction from showing his art at the local level.
At 14, he became employed riding cutting horses for a nearby trainer/breeder. Sixteen hours days, 6 to 7 days a week left little time to dabble in the arts. His art took a “Back Burner” to adulthood after that. He worked feedlots and multiple ranches just “riding for the brand” to make a living. Periodically, he would get a “whim to do a piece”, usually in charcoal and pencil. He would give these pieces to family members, friends or as gifts.
In 2001, his path crossed again, (after 16 years), with his future wife Dr. Jan Johnston Tharp. They married and now make their home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma where they own Johnston Veterinary Clinic, raise Quarter Horses, and run a small commercial beef operation. She says it took her 11 years to convince him that he should renew his pursuits in art. He currently works in charcoal, pencil and airbrush.
Brian lost his hearing at 3 months of age, but does not see his deafness as a handicap. Instead, he looks at it as an advantage. It enhances his other senses of sight, smell, and touch. He says “when people look at my art, I want them to see, smell, and feel it the same way I do in my mind.”
Tallgrass Art Gallery is proud to represent this extraordinary artist.
Tallgrass Art Gallery is so fortunate to be in Pawhuska and enjoy the beauty of Osage County. I am privledged to have the opportunity to visit with tourists visiting here as well as our namesake, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. This has been a beautiful spring week and the redbuds are blooming as the rolling hills begin to turn green.
The Osage Nation is preparing for their June dances and the cowboys are buying their summer straw hats. All sure signs that winter is on its last leg. Soon the bison will be calving, if not already, and the prairie will erupt with wildflowers. This time of year the Tallgrass does call..and we are all called to roam and fall in love again with the bison, birds and people who call the Osage home. Come visit us and see for yourself why those of us who live here feel so blessed.
We have been working for it seems like months on a magazine about Tallgrass Art Gallery, Pawhuska and Osage County Tourism. Finally this week we finished the first edition. Personally I have a new found respect for magazine publishers and editors.
It was our idea in this issue to show some of the art in the gallery, highlight some of the artists, and give travel/tourism information. Although imperfect it is a good start! We learned allot and there will be future issues.
You can download the magazine as a free ebook at http://www.blurb.com/ebooks/571827-tallgrass-trails .
Enjoy, we promise the next one will be bigger and better...
For years Pawhuska has been diligently working toward completion of the Ben Johnson Memorial. Now there is a concerted effort to finish this great project, started by Mike McCartney. Arts and Preservation in the Osage is dedicated to seeing the monument in place, gracing our community, the Osage and drawing tourists.
The monument will be 1 1/4 life size and stretch from 20 to 35 feet, depending on site location. We are so excited to see this sculpture by Oklahoma artist John Free being pursued.
In an effort to raise the funds to complete the project, maquettes of the original by Mr. Free are available. These are available from members of Arts and Preservation in the Osage or currently one can be seen at Tallgrass Art Gallery, downtown Pawhuska. It is an honor to have a piece of Mr. Free's work in the gallery.
Please support this project with a purchase, or donation to Arts and Preservation in the Osage. We are Pawhuska.
When discussing 'art' with people, I often find that there is a blurry line line between when an object is 'art' and when it is 'craft'. Because I am a silversmith and art jeweler, usually thought of as fine craft, the line for me is even more unclear. I believe a beautiful and well crafted saddle is just as much a work of art as an oil painting, requiring the same attention, design abilities and skill. Native American Beadwork, ribbonwork or jewelry also has the same requirements.
For me, as the curator of an art gallery, I try to remain very broad in how I approach an object, or piece of art. I ask myself several questions. Did it require the application of good design? Has a 'craft' been elevated to art? Is the 'maker' trying to push the envelope of their work to a new level?
As an example, my mother was a quilter. Her pieces were often broad in their color palette and used mixed patterns and colors, as well as texture. If you have ever known someone who quilts, you know they 'hoard' color pattern and texture just waiting til it is the perfect component for a new piece of art. For me, a fine quilt is craft and art.
The underlying question really is not one between fine craft and fine art, but one of creativity and approaching a media or craft form and taking it to it's highest level. As a silversmith, I draw each piece, working on the design and flow and beauty of a finished buckle or pendant. Sure, it's fine craft, but the process of creativity takes it to the level of art.
An appreciation for the value of fine crafts as art is a part of my approach to the gallery. I am just as likely to show a gourd with pyrography as I am a fine oil painting, based on it's beauty as an object and the level of skill.
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery