Stories from Cowboys of Color

Stories from Cowboys of Color

The Stark Museum of Art invites you downtown for Stories from Cowboys of Color: An Afternoon with Don Russell, Cleo Hearn, Myrtis Dightman, Bailey “The Prairie Kid,” and Jason Griffin on Saturday, July 28, beginning at 2 p.m.  The event will feature a panel discussion from 2-3 p.m. and will be followed with a reception and book signing.

The panel discussion from 2-3 p.m. will provide guests with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about the history of the Cowboys of Color Rodeo and the photography project by Don Russell from the actual artist and athletes. Special guests for the event are artist Don Russell; founder of the Cowboys of Color Rodeo and Champion Calf Roper Cleo Hearn; Champion Bull Rider Myrtis Dightman; Champion Bareback Rider, Saddle Bronc Rider, Steer Wrestler, Bull Rider Bailey “The Prairie Kid;” and Champion Bareback Bronc Rider Jason Griffin. Each of the rodeo athletes participating in the panel is featured in the special exhibition Portraits from Cowboys of Color: Photographs by Don Russell on view at the Stark Museum of Art through Saturday, Sept. 29.

Following the hour-long panel discussion, guests are invited to join the panelists, museum staff, and members of the Board of Directors of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation for a reception celebrating the exhibition and the special guests. Copies of Don Russell’s book, Cowboys of Color, will be available for purchase from the artist, and all panelists will be available to sign books for guests.

“Guests will enjoy hearing the first-hand experiences that all of our panelists have had with the Cowboys of Color Rodeo and cowboy culture in general. We look forward to guests joining us for a reception following the panel discussion and providing an opportunity for our community members to meet the photographer behind the exhibition and cowboys behind this incredible rodeo,” Jennifer Restauri Dickinson, Curator of Education, said.

The panel discussion will take place in the Walter G. Riedel III Education Center at the Stark Museum of Art. The Stark Museum of Art is at 712 Green Ave., Orange. Seating is limited in the Education Center. Guests are encouraged to arrive early. Admission is free. Western wear is encouraged.

Stories from Cowboys of Color takes place on the National Day of the Cowboy, a day to honor cowboy culture and pioneer heritage.  The State of Texas has designated the fourth Saturday in July as National Day of the Cowboy in recognition of the historic, cultural, and social contributions of the cowboy.

Portraits from Cowboys of Color: Photographs by Don Russell highlights the modern African-American rodeo cowboy. It features portraits of contemporary cowboys and cowgirls who ride and rope in Cowboys of Color rodeos. The works reveal a tradition of black cowboy culture often overlooked in western history and art. Photographer Don Russell made the works over a two-year period and also published a book on the subject. The portraits are recent gifts to the Stark Museum of Art.

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About the Stark Museum of Art

The Stark Museum of Art houses one of the nation's most significant collections of American Western art and is located in the heart of downtown historic Orange. Paintings, sculpture, prints and rare books interpret the West from 19th century frontier artists to the 20th century artistic colonies in New Mexico and focus on the stunning land, dramatic people and diverse wildlife of the American West. The museum features artists such as Frederic Remington, John James Audubon, John Mix Stanley, and Charles Marion Russell. Also featured is a significant collection of Native American objects, including baskets, pottery, clothing and jewelry.

Stark Museum of Art is open Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information, visit