A very elite western art show artist reception kicked off the Cattlemen’s Western Art Show and Sale held at the Paso Robles Event Center March 24-26, 2017. Not only did the featured artists represent a who’s who in the western art world, but the attendees filling the Estrella Hall were a who’s who of local politicians, ranchers, and horse aficionados. SLO County Supervisor Debbie Arnold, Paso Robles City Councilman John Hamon, cattlewoman Dee Lacey, reined cowhorse equestrian Karin Richards, silversmith Gordon Hayes and more roamed the hall socializing and viewing the exquisite artwork.
Cattlemen’s Art Show and Sale History
The Cattlemen’s Western Art Show and Sale started from an original idea concocted between local artists Larry Bees, Ernie Morris, and Suzanne Williams, plus Larry’s wife Jackie and cowboy Gary Williams. They hatched the idea one evening at the Cooper Ranch located on Cripple Creek Rd. east of Paso Robles. The group searched for an organization to support their idea and a place big enough to hold thirty five artists and their artwork. The San Luis Obispo Cattlemen’s Association stepped up to sponsor the show and Alex Madonna offered his big yellow bull barn at the Madonna Ranch in San Luis Obispo. The first show was held in that bull barn in 1990, and was such a success it has become an annual event ever since. Eventually the show outgrew the Madonna barn and was moved to the Paso Robles Event Center in 2000. The prestigious art show is restricted to fifty top western artists and is currently organized by Jo Anne Switzer and Dee Pellandini with the continued support of the San Luis Obispo Cattlemen’s Association.
Featured Artist : Vel Miller
Each year show officials select one artist to be featured. This year, Atascadero resident and western artist extraordinaire, Vel Miller, held the spotlight. A member of the “Who’s Who in American Art”, Vel has had a storied career creating sculptures and paintings for most of her life. She worked for Leaning Tree for many years painting pictures that became beautiful and iconic greeting cards. She was commissioned by Western Horsemen to do drawings for Cowboy calendars. She has sculpted Ronald Reagan on horseback, longhorn steers, Native Americans, and numerous horse bronzes. She has paintings in museums and public and private collections all over the world Additionally the entrance of the Paso Robles Emergency Services Center is graced with an eight foot tall bronze statue by Vel of a fireman handing a child to a policewoman called “Reward for Valor.” It is quite spectacular.
Plan to Attend the Cattlemen’s Western Art Show Next Year
Although the Show has wrapped up for this year, make sure you look for it next March and plan to attend. Bring your wallet too as the art is amazing and there is something for everyone to purchase from original pieces to signed prints.
Cover photo: Vel Miller displays her work
Photos by Charlotte Gorton