The Buffalo Bill Center of the West has won a $30,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The monies go toward the Center’s upcoming exhibition Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West, on display at the Center June 8–September 30, 2018. The exhibition then travels to Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Art Works is the NEA’s principal grants program. Through project-based funding, it supports public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation. The projects may be large or small, existing or new. They may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
The NEA seeks endeavors that celebrate America’s creativity and cultural heritage; invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups; and enrich the nation’s collective humanity by broadening understanding of self and society.
The organization awarded 936 Art Works grants totaling more than $24 million to groups in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Bierstadt (1830–1902) is best known as America’s premier western landscape artist. He was also a renowned history painter, a rarely discussed element of his legacy. This major exhibition, coordinated by the Center’s Whitney Western Art Museum, addresses not only Bierstadt’s treatment of majestic western vistas, but, more prominently, his depictions of bison and American Indians.
During his lifetime, Bierstadt witnessed momentous changes transform the American West. Through his actions and associations, but principally through his art, Bierstadt brought national and international attention to these changes. In paintings both grand and small in scale, he strove to preserve the dignity of Native peoples like the Sioux and Shoshone and inspire empathy for the remnant herds of bison in the West. This exhibition offers fresh views on the artist’s complex legacy and his contributions to debates around wildlife conservation, our national parks, and the fate of Indigenous peoples of the West.
The exhibition is co-produced by the Center of the West and Gilcrease Museum, and supported by many private and organizational donors, and now, in part, by the NEA.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page.