Designed by David M. Schwarz, the exterior style is pure cowgirl — from wild-rose finials and bas-relief sculpture panels to a Richard Hass mural and handcarved panels. To accommodate growing collections, the building’s design provides for expansion. Central spaces allow for after-hour events under the Texas stars.
How fitting that a bronze sculpture generously commissioned and donated by The Burnett Foundation for the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame was created by a horse trainer turned sculptor.
The artist is the renowned Mehl Lawson, and his life-size “High Desert Princess” sculpture depicting a cowgirl and her horse greets visitors in front of the Museum. Mr. Lawson is a member of the Cowboy Artists of America and has won several gold medals at the prestigious organization’s annual exhibition. Other awards include the Remington Award at the Prix de West Show at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and the Thomas Moran Award at the Masters of the American West Show at the Autry Museum. Photo courtesy of Dallas Photoworks
A master of the trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) technique, artist Richard Haas has transformed building exteriors throughout the world into breathtaking facades. His architectural artwork comes to life in a dramatic mural for the outside of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, where five cowgirls on horseback – in full gallop – appear to run straight at the viewer.
Six bas reliefs grace the Museum’s upper facade, each embracing a different theme. Commissioned by the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, these cast-stone works of art were created by Master Sculptor Janice Hart Melito. See more of Melito’s work at http://www.montageimagers.com.
“Always Saddle Your Own Horse” — When asked, “What would you like to pass on to future generations?” Cowgirl Honoree Connie Douglas Reeves replied, “Always saddle your own horse.” Her statement inspired this sculpture of a mother teaching her daughter the importance of self-reliance through the lesson of saddling her own horse.
“Round-Up” — This piece celebrates the contributions cowgirls made through their hard work and devotion in settling the West.
“East Meets West” – This piece is a derivative work from Veryl Goodnight’s Bronze sculpture by the same name. The relief expands the context, showing the cultivated city landscape of “back east,” the woman dressed in the trappings of her city culture and riding sidesaddle. This image is juxtaposed with a woman riding western style, free and easy, into the wild western landscape. The eastern woman looks back over her shoulder, knowing she has glimpsed a future that holds greater freedom for women.
“Cowgirl Lullaby” –Tad Lucas isholdingher baby Mitzi Riley in her signature ten-gallon hat. A perfect expression of the courageous, multi-tasking modern western woman, she is talented and
brilliant in her rodeo career while nurturing as a mother. This piece is the Madonna, a mother and child with a western twist. Mitzi went on to become an accomplished cowgirl and rodeo star in her own right.
“Artists of the West” –This relief celebrates the artists of the West. From left to right: painter Georgia O’Keeffe with one of her favorite subjects, the white bones of the dessert; famous Native American pottery maker from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico, Maria Martinez with her beautiful handmade pit fired vessels; western movie stars Dale Evans and Roy Rogers at the center; golden-era cowgirl Helen Bonham; and country western singer-songwriter Patsy Montana.
“Trick-riders” –Celebrating female trick-riders and rodeo stars, this relief features from left to right: Faye Blackstone jumping a car; National Championship Trick Roper Flores LaDue; trick-rider Tille Baldwin in the center; “Peerless lady wing-shot” Annie Oakley; and Tad Lucas bronco riding in woolly chaps.