18th Annual Cowgirl Up!


Western Art Exhibition > Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of the West
Desert Caballeros Western Museum
Wickenburg, Arizona
Through September 3, 2023

Western Art - Rachel Brownlee (b. 1993), "Unwanted Hours," 2022, charcoal on cotton paper, 36 x 23 in.
Rachel Brownlee (b. 1993), “Unwanted Hours,” 2022, charcoal on cotton paper, 36 x 23 in.

The Desert Caballeros Western Museum is much admired for preserving and exhibiting the art and history of the Southwest and desert frontier. Eighteen years ago, it launched “Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of the West,” an invitational exhibition and sale that — in the male-dominated field of Western art — has turned the spotlight squarely on women’s perspectives.

CU! remains a leading national event for women artists, and its 18th edition will feature more than 55 emerging and established talents, selected from over 300 applicants. Their paintings, drawings, and sculptures are made in a range of techniques, styles, and mediums. This year’s exhibition is divided into two galleries: one of “miniatures” and the other of full-sized art.

Much excitement focused on the opening weekend, when patrons enjoyed a preview party, box draw sale, live auction, awards dinner, quick draw competition, and panel discussion. On April 11, the museum hosted the second annual Western Women of Distinction Luncheon — featuring a presentation of the Elizabeth Hudson Smith Award.

The museum’s executive director, Dan Finley, explained: “I have thought for a while that Cowgirl Up! should grow its local footprint because its themes of fostering, recognizing, and celebrating Western women extend beyond art and artists. I like the idea of branding Wickenburg a leader in promoting all women of the West. We have established a public nomination process for the award that is easily found on the museum’s website.”

Fine Art Connoisseur looks forward to applauding this annual award’s next winner, and indeed all of the talented women involved in Cowgirl Up!


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