With another successful Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale in the books, director Kathy Thompson says, “I love that opening reception because it’s for the city.” Last Thursday, the opening gala began with a ceremonial ribbon cutting to kick off the evening.
For those uninitiated in the Cody art scene, the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale is a nationally renowned art show and sale that offers “a wide range of stylistic interpretations of the American West,” the Chamber writes.
The show is hosted by the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, and supports established and emerging Western artists while engaging arts patrons and enriching the Cody community with events that provide education and entertainment, all benefiting the prestigious Buffalo Bill Center. Sunset.
Discussing the show and the opening gala, Thompson says, “I couldn’t do it without the support of the city.”
“I love that opening show because it’s so fun to see people come out and really appreciate one of the great humanities, and that’s art,” Thompson says.
Thompson says she’s still having fun working as event director, noting that the efforts of the city, artists and patrons make for a “fabulous” event during Rendezvous Royale week.
The Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale is by invitation only, “these artists have all been selected to be in our show and invited to be in our show by a commission,” explains Thompson. Selection considerations include being a good “fit” for the show and matching what “searchers want.” All selected parts meet an extremely high level of quality and composition.
Whether it’s traditional landscapes, “cowboy imagery,” or even contemporary visions of the “New West,” the Buffalo Bill Art Show has immense variety and aesthetic depth.
“I find that our show has something for everyone,” says Thompson.
Although artists can choose to take their work to a number of different shows and venues, many prefer the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale. As Thompson explains, “Buffalo Bill is one of their favorites. And that’s partly because this small town rolls out the red carpet.”
All of the artists featured in this show are still alive (not dead), which puts this contemporary art show here in Cody in a unique position in terms of western art shows throughout the region.
For the size of the show, the artists and the city do well monetarily. Past shows have generated up to half a million dollars in sales. “Not bad for a small town,” adds Thompson.
Each year, the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale hosts several events leading up to the annual “Rendezvous Royale” week. Highlights include the Friday Night Live Auction and a dinner set in the Party Tent near the Buffalo Bill West Center. There is also a quick draw and Saturday brunch. The 41st Annual Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale takes place on September 23, 2022.
“It’s designed to say, this is Art Week, this is the week to celebrate the arts,” notes Thompson. Initially, Rendezvous Royal “labeled” the ball defender for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, calling himself “Cody High Style”. Eventually, the original name was changed because it made the art show sound like a “fashion show.” Cody High Style became the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale.
Referring to the early days of showing and selling art, “We knew that people who loved the Center would also love Western art,” says Thompson. Over the years, a rich and meaningful partnership has developed between the Cody Country Chamber, the art show and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
“We bring people here who love Western art and don’t know much about the museum and it’s a real kumbaya kind of experience because then they go ‘wow,’ who knew this museum was here,” Thompson says.