The seventh annual Western Artists of America Show and Sale was held for the first time at the Pearce Museum in the Cook Education Center on the Navarro College Corsicana campus. It was a tremendous success, and the art of 41 of the nation’s best Western artists will be on display at the Pearce Museum through March 12.

Preparations for the event started long before the event. Sponsors donated almost $14,000 to help bring the national show to Corsicana. The museum’s permanent Western art collection was stored, and the 225 WAA never-before-seen works of art arrived and placed in the gallery.

Jeff Gottfried, Tracey Abel and Mary Burke were chosen to serve as judges for the 2011 WAA Show for their own artistic expertise, deliberating for more than four hours before making their final selections. 

To kick off the event, artists from across the country filled the Cook Education Center Atrium for an old-fashioned southern breakfast, along with members of the Corsicana Chamber of Commerce, the Navarro College Foundation Board and a number of college staff.

Both artists Jay Hester (oils) and Keith McMasters (bronze) made a big impression on the guests at the artists’ lectures. Great teachers; each engaged the audience in their craft explaining the entire process from an initial idea to a completed work of art.

The grand opening show and sale welcomed art patrons from as far away as California and Georgia while a country and western band played to the crowd who enjoyed an open bar and delicious hors d’oeuvres.

The autograph party was a clear indicator of the community’s excitement about the event. Hundreds turned out to have their show catalogs and posters signed by the artists.

Furthermore, the Western Artists of America held its 10th anniversary party during this event at the Pearce Museum, packing the facility with artists, patrons and supporters; all there to wish the organization well, receive their awards, and hear everyone talk. An anniversary cake, donated by HEB Groceries, was decorated with yellow roses, to symbolize “Texas.” Dinner and an open bar rounded out the evening.

Corsicana made quite an impression on the WAA. So much so, they have decided to come back for their eighth annual show and sale in 2012. They said they had never been made to feel so “at home.” Thanks Corsicana.

The WAA exhibition will be on display through March 12.

General admission applies. For more information, contact Holly Wait, museum director, at 903-875-7438.

Visit the Web site at www.pearcecollections.us.