DECEMBER 17, 2014
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West opens Jan. 15, 2015
SCOTTSDALE – Shining like a desert star in the heart of historic Old Town Scottsdale, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West will be a premier cultural destination in a locale that has been called “The West’s Most Western Town.” Opening to the public on January 15, 2015, the City-owned museum will boldly immerse its guests in the essence of the American West, past and present, through stunning artworks by renowned artists, historic artifacts of the Old and New West, interactive exhibits, multi-media productions, and an ongoing schedule of fun, educational programs and public events.
Western Spirit is destined to become a second home for western American art connoisseurs and enthusiasts, as well as anyone who has ever been fascinated by the story of the American West,” commented the museum’s Director Michael Fox. “A point of civic pride for Scottsdale, Western Spirit will be a place where people of all generations and cultures can engage in contemplative and enjoyable journeys of self discovery – a place where Western history can be revealed, today’s region better understood, and tomorrow’s rich opportunities explored.”
Owned by the City of Scottsdale and operated by the Scottsdale Museum of the West (a not-for-profit 501c3 organization), Western Spirit stands on the site of the historic Loloma Transit Station (designed by noted architect Vito Acconci) and preserves elements of the station’s classic design, now repurposed as administrative offices and an education center. To this has been added an exquisite new 43,000 square foot, two-story main building designed by the Phoenix and Clifton, New Jersey-based architectural firm of Studio MA. The building’s entry walkway features a monumental installation piece, Diamond Bloom, by contemporary artist Curtis Pittman, acquired through the Scottsdale Public Art Program. Western Spirit resides on a beautiful campus designed by landscape architects Colwell Shelor of Phoenix and adorned with low-water use desert plantings. Both indoor and outdoor spaces meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Standard for sustainability, conserving precious natural resources while also raising public awareness of their vital importance to the western region.
The $11.4 million museum will feature rotating exhibitions of western art and cultural treasures on loan from some of the world’s foremost collectors and institutions. With exhibitions constantly changing, there will always be something new to see and experience at Western Spirit. Interactive games and activities as well as multi-media kiosks strategically located throughout the galleries will engage the interest of children and adults alike, providing insights into the art and artifacts on exhibit as well as topics such as Western geography, history, flora, and fauna. A partnership with Arizona State University will provide additional resources, enabling the museum to become a communication and learning center for studies of the West.
Visitors will enter the museum through the Scottsdale Charros Gateway Foyer, where the artist Maynard Dixon’s dramatic 1935 mural Kit Carson with Mountain Men is on display.
Continuing from here on their journey of western discovery, visitors can explore the following exhibitions planned for the museum’s opening:
• Inspirational Journey: The Story of Lewis and Clark Featuring the Artwork of Charles Fritz Contemporary painter Charles Fritz chronicled the historic early 19th century expedition of Captains Merriwether Lewis and William Clark in a dynamic series of 100 paintings that are here accompanied by sculptural bronzes by artists including Barry Eisenach, Richard Greeves, and Harry Jackson that complement the stories told by Fritz’s paintings. Interactive audio/video kiosks feature commentary by Fritz on his work. (Located in the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation Great Hall.)
• Process and Materiality: The Bronze Artistry of John Coleman with Erik Petersen Majestic sculptures in bronze by this highly-regarded western artist, accompanied by photographs revealing the fascinating and complex process by which Coleman creates his work, including the contribution of patina artist Erik Petersen. (Located in the Alper-Coleman Gallery.)
• Fine Art of the American West: People and Places A diverse and engaging selection of works by artists such as Charles Bird King, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles M. Russell, W. Herbert Dunton, Fritz Scholder, William R. Leigh, Ed Mell, Allan Houser, Kate T. Cory, and Marjorie Thomas showcases the rich variety of themes, styles, and imagery in western art. (Located in the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Fine Arts Gallery.)
• The A.P. Hays Spirit of the West Collection A selection of saddles, spurs, and other quintessentially western items from the collection of Scottsdale gallerist Abe Hays. Highlights include a John Wayne business card signed by the iconic actor; Colt 1977 double action revolver with ivory grip; and vintage tooled leather holsters from the Albert Furstnow Company (1890-1900) and the F. Ronstadt Company (circa 1910, whose founder was the grandfather of singer Linda Ronstadt). Other treasures include a David E. Walker leather saddle circa 1880 and a selection of Texas Ranger badges from the 1890s. (Located in the Abe Hays Family Gallery.)
• Will James: Cowboy Artist and Author Paintings, drawings, etchings, books, and ephemera illuminate the life and work of the prolific western American writer and painter (1892-1942). (Located in the Abe Hays Family Gallery.)
• Courage and Crossroads: A Visual Journey through the Early American West The story of America’s West in the 19th and early 20th centuries comes to life through more than 80 paintings by artists ranging from Thomas Moran to Alfred Jacob Miller, as well as gold-tone photographs by Edward S. Curtis, Pueblo pottery, Navajo chiefs’ blankets, and objects associated with the legendary man of the West Kit Carson. Rounding out the exhibition are monumental bronze sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. (Located in the Zaplin-Lampert Gallery within the second-floor Peterson Family Wing.)
• Confluence of Cultures in the American West: A Selection of Contemporary Artists from the Peterson Collection Frank McCarthy, Paul Calle, Howard Terpning, Joe Beeler, and Fred Fellows are among the celebrated contemporary western American artists featured in this exhibition. Their work is on loan from the noted western art collector Tim Peterson. (Located in the Bruner-Messinger Gallery within the second-floor Peterson Family Wing.)
• Heritage Hall Inspiring images of people, past and present, who have made contributions to the American West, together with biographical data that guests can explore.
In addition to these exhibitions and galleries, Western Spirit will also feature the beautiful outdoor Christine and Ted Mollring Sculpture Courtyard, with an ever-changing array of sculptural exhibits. The 135-seat Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Theater/Auditorium will host performances, special programs, events, and an ongoing film production highlighting the story of the West. And the Sue and Robert Karatz Museum Store will offer a tempting selection of western-themed art and gifts.
An interpretative, inspirational new gateway to America’s land of opportunity and adventure, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West will complement the area’s many galleries and shops, while also serving as a counterpoint to the nearby Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. No visit to “The West’s Most Western Town” will be complete without a stop at Western Spirit.
Museum Hours will be Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Scottsdale Artwalk Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and closed Mondays.
Scottsdale Museum of the West is located at 3830 N. Marshall Way and 1st Street, one block south of Main Street, Scottsdale AZ 85251.
Call 480-686-9539 or visit www.scottsdalemuseumwest.org admission fees and more information.