Maynard Dixon Country Art Event

Maynard on the Mount

A report on this year's Maynard Dixon Country event.

by Joshua Rose

Published online courtesy of Western Art Collector, October 2013

Western art collectors far and wide, I have a bit of advice for you. After reading this report on the Maynard Dixon Country event, held just outside Zion National Park August 23 through 25, 2013, put down the magazine (just for a moment, of course) and make your reservations to attend next year's event.

I have to admit: this was the first one I attended and I'm hooked. Plain and simple. Maynard Dixon Country is much different than your typical Western art show. In fact, how many shows have you been to where the Saturday night featured event includes not blazers and cocktail dresses, but jeans, a barbecue on the lawn, a bonfire and live country music all while surrounded by good friends, collectors, some of the best artists working today and the majestic vistas of southern Utah on all sides? Now in its 15th year, this year's event was another for the ages.

Participating artists included Clyde Aspevig, Christopher Blossom, John Budicin, Josh Elliott, G. Russell Case, Glenn Dean, Jeremy Lipking, Logan Maxwell Hagege, James Morgan, Jill Carver, Ray Roberts, Charles Muench, Len Chmiel, Kate Starling, and Kathryn Stats. The Gold Medal, chosen by the artists attending the event, went to Dean, while the Patron's Choice Award went to Muench. Elliott received the Western Art Collector Editor's Choice Award.

"The enthusiastic collectors were able to snatch up both masterpieces and small gems by artists who can be considered Dixon's modern-day contemporaries," says Paul Bingham, president and founder of the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts and organizer of the event. "We are truly grateful for the spirit and passion of all who attend Maynard Dixon Country - and for their help in our mission to preserve the Dixon property for future generations."

Dixon Story pix

The weekend began on Friday with an all­ day opening at the gallery for the wall sale and then a nice dinner at the Thunderbird Restaurant down the road. Saturday morning, artists hung in the studio the pieces they worked on in the nearby mountains all week for the Wet Paint Sale. Then, I gave a talk on a little horseback excursion Dixon took with Edward Borein from Oakland to Idaho in 1901. This was followed by a panel that eventually featured all of the artists talking about their work and techniques.

After a nice dinner outside in the grass in front of the historic Dixon home, Mary Kaye Knaphus serenaded the crowd of about 250 artists, friends and collectors with some traditional cowboy ballads. Then, somehow, most of the die-hards ended up with the Bingham family around the bonfire with more music provided by Knaphus and several of the artists involved as well. Lipking even brought his own acoustic guitar and surprised the remaining guests with some singing and strumming of his own.

The beauty of the event is that it's relaxed, low-key, and more of a nice weekend with good friends rather than a serious and sometimes stressful exhibition. The entire weekend is run by the Bingham family along with a handful of volunteers, which also adds to the grassroots feel of the events.

See you next year!