The Museum of the Big Bend, located on the campus of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, is home to the longest continually running exhibit and sale of contemporary Western art and custom cowboy gear in the country.
Begun in 1986 by Gary Dunshee, owner of Big Bend Saddlery, and Joel Nelson, awardwinning cowboy poet, Trappings of Texas continues to showcase the best of cowboy artistry.
Juried artists have an intimate knowledge of ranching life, and their works reflect this lifestyle. From one-of-a kind bits and spurs to original oil paintings and bronze sculptures, Trappings of Texas continues the tradition of preserving the cowboy culture at the Museum of the Big Bend.
Artists who show their works range from those just starting in their field to established artists, including members of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America and the Traditional Cowboys Arts Association. Artists featured are from across Texas, the United States, Canada and Argentina.
For 2019, Frank “Buddy” Knight is the featured Trappings of Texas artist. Knight, from Marfa, is a well-known blacksmith, cowboy and silversmith who’s worked on ranches for more than 40 years. A master of metal fabrication, in 1995 he displayed his spurs at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nev., and, in 1996, Knight demonstrated spur making at the 25th Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio.
For those who want to experience all things cowboy, Trappings of Texas Opening weekend is a must. “We believe we have the perfect location to celebrate the craft of the cowboy artist — the big sky and wide-open spaces of cattle country,” says Mary Bones, director of the Museum of the Big Bend. “Nowhere else in Texas like this place.”
The opening weekend of the 33rd annu – al Trappings of Texas begins on Thursday, April 11, and includes a preview party, lunch with the artists, a grand opening reception, exhibit and sale, chuck wagon breakfast and the 5th annual Ranch Round Up Party. During the weekend’s festivities, visitors can meet the artists whose works are on display and learn about their craft. Presentations and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the weekend as well.
“This is a great event,” Bones says. “All works are for sale and benefit the artist and the Museum of the Big Bend. Your purchase helps all of us preserve our history.”