History of the Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale

The Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale began in 1993 as the joint inspiration of Coors Brewing Company and the National Western Stock Show. After a successful trial year, National Western CEO Pat Grant brought on Ann Daley to curate the show in 1994. That year, a commemorative poster was made from William Matthews painting, Waddie’s Slick Fork. This kicked off the Featured Art program in which one artwork is purchased each year for the National Western Permanent Collection.

The National Western has primary management and oversight of the Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale. Rose Fredrick became the curator in 1998 and has developed the show into one of the nation’s most recognized Western art exhibits. Rose works tirelessly to balance new artists and old favorites, and contemporary Western viewpoints with traditionalists.

Established in 1994, the Coors Western Art Advisory Committee is dedicated to the exhibit’s continued success. In 2013, the committee vice chair, Cathy L. Carpenter Dea, approached the current CEO of the National Western, Paul Andrews, with the idea to bring younger patrons into the fold. The Young Guns of the Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale, headed by a committee of young professionals, is focused on art education and philanthropy. That same year, an offshoot exhibition held at the Gallery at the National Western Club, opened with the Young Guns Reception.

From the onset, it was important that Coors Western Art and Young Guns support the National Western Scholarship Trust. All proceeds from ticket, table, and art sales help more than 80 students each year who are studying agriculture, medicine, and veterinary sciences. In 2017, the National Western Scholarship Trust added two new scholarships that are near and dear to Coors Western Art patrons: studio art and art education for both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Colorado State University.

The Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale will have a prominent place in the forthcoming National Western Center, with an expanded gallery and a public viewing space for the Permanent Collection. The Coors Western Art committee, staff, and volunteers are dedicated to bringing the finest Western art experience to National Western Stock Show patrons and visitors.