February 8, 2021

Arizona Artists of Color Define Western Art

Pandemica by Frank Ybarra

What do you think of when you hear the term “western art?” Large bronze horse sculptures? Vast desert landscape paintings? Well, those visuals are certainly a part of it, but western art is so much more than cowboys and horses. Scottsdale Arts is committed to enlarging the conversation of what artistic statements of “the West” can be beyond traditional depictions of western art.

WEST—Arizona Artists of Color, January 13 – March 2, is a new online and in-person art exhibition at the Civic Center Public Gallery inside Scottsdale Civic Center Public Library that shows how Arizona’s artists of color capture the West’s spirit through the artists’ bold creative expressions, showing their experience and what it’s like to live here now in this pivotal time. Co-curated by local artist Joe Willie Smith and Scottsdale Public Art Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Wendy Raisanen, WEST—Arizona Artists of Color aims to show the West as these artists know it—with a rich cultural history.

Little Boy Blue by Joe Willie Smith.

“The WEST show is finally an acknowledgment of artists of color. The creative contributions of Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and other hyphen Americans, with the exception of Native American artists have been largely ignored. The Civil Rights movement gave rise to artist cooperatives by artists of color throughout the United States. A large percentage of those artists involved with the cooperatives are major artists today.”

Joe Willie Smith

This important exhibition, and future ones in the planning stage, give opportunities for artists of color to exhibit their work and share their voices with the public. Artists in this exhibition include Clendolyn Corbin, Gloria Martinez-Granados, Eugene Grigsby, Annie Lopez, Stephen Marc, Hugo Medina, Sebastiao Pereira, Joe Ray, Safwat Saleem, Sonny Sholola, Joe Willie Smith, Ani Tung, Claire A. Warden, RIP Woods, Frank Ybarra, and Bernard Young.

Bus in India by Hugo Medina.

Join us for a live online art reception via Zoom on February 19, from 6:00–7:00 p.m. to discuss the exhibition themes and get to know the artists. Click HERE to RSVP.

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