Christmas comes early this year to the Adelante! Gallery. There are a few slight changes, however: the reindeers are being replaced with horses and the Santa suits with cowboy hats, and the toys are being left behind in favor of handmade saddles, bronze statues and Southwestern landscapes.
It’s all part of Adelante!’s Cowgirl Christmas with Our Cowboys, an annual holiday event that holds an even deeper meaning this year as it caps off the gallery’s 10-year anniversary. Owner and curator Cynthia Wolf said the decade has been an amazing journey.
“Celebrating the 10th year, it’s just so amazing how we’ve grown and evolved,” Wolf said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. I was inspired to open Adelante! when I was doing mixed-media photography, and I just fell in love with the Paseo Arts District, as do most of the artists who come down here. I was charmed by the idea that not only are there galleries out front, but artists are also working in their studios. And now we’ve grown so big … we’ve grown bigger than Oklahoma. People come from out of state to visit us.”
Wolf credits this growth to getting the right artists on board that other people recognize. Some of the artists on her roster who will be presenting pieces and workshops at Cowgirl Christmas include saddlemaker and bronze sculptor John Rule, as well as additional bronze work from Patsy E. Lane and various Western and Southwestern art from Becky Way, Jan Hutchinson, Leigh Gusterson, Nora Larimer and Jayne Moore, to name a few.
When asked who she is most excited to present this year, she said it had to be legendary Texas cowgirl artist Donna Howell Sickles, who Wolf said has been “capturing the cowgirl spirit for over 30 years.”
“I always try to do a cowboy Christmas, but for this year’s theme, I wanted to do something a little different: celebrating cowgirls,” Wolf said. “Sickles is a major Western artist, a cowgirl painter who has been in a lot of Western art museum shows, including the Cowboy Hall of Fame here. I don’t know if it’s a feather in my cap, but I’m so excited that Donna felt comfortable enough to come on board with us for this show. She’s helping us celebrate the 10th year in a big way. It’s a major thing for us.”
The Cowgirl Christmas show opens 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Paseo’s First Friday Gallery Walk. Wolf said she designed the show to be interactive, so patrons can talk to the artists and even see them work in a pair of special events both weekends the show is open.
Wolf believes people should come to Adelante!’s Cowgirl Christmas because they won’t find a gallery with an atmosphere like it anywhere else.
“For me, it’s all about relationships — positive, joyful relationships with the artists,” Wolf said. “I have work in here that I truly enjoy exhibiting and selling. This is art that speaks to me. Since the gallery is small, I like to keep a roster of artists that I know can do a good job for us. They create incredible bodies of work all year round, not just Christmas. It’s a real joy for me.”