Annual Trappings of the American West
The annual Trappings of the American West exhibition and sale was held at MNA each fall from 2006 to 2017 and achieved regional, national, and international recognition for preserving time-honored traditions of American craftsmanship. Trappings was presented in partnership with Dry Creek Arts Fellowship.
The Trappings exhibition was started in 1989 by a group of Western craftsmen—a painter/ sculptor, a photographer, a knife maker, and a saddle maker— who decided to bring together Western fine art and cowboy gear in one show, elevating superior Western craftsmen to the realm of artists.
Each year the exhibition featured juried artists from 14 Western states, Hawaii, and Canada whose art preserves the time-honored traditions of craftsmanship. Represented arts included painting, photography, bronze sculpture, photography, saddles, tooled leather, bits and spurs, boots, hats, knives, engraving, hitched horsehair, braided rawhide, and instrument making. A series of public programs were held during the Trappings exhibitions to further educational outreach, including workshops in leather-tooling, Cowboy poetry performances, and demonstrations of sculpture, boot-making, saddle-making, engraving, and painting.
In 2009 Trappings was one of three Arizona events to be recognized with an ALTE grant (Arts Link to Tourism and the Economy), a prestigious award funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. The ALTE grants support projects that promote a community’s or region’s artistic resources and create cultural tourism.
DCAF Executive Director Linda Stedman states, “Trappings connects visitors to this country’s very real history of the rural culture of the West, a culture rooted in the principles of tradition, family, integrity, and hard work.”