The cowgirl spirit isn’t limited to working cowgirls. 

According to Art of the Cowgirl founder Tammy Pate, it’s a mindset and an attitude…”a woman who takes risks, believes in self, and does things because she’s passionate about them. It’s not just for women of the West.” 

The Fellowship Program is the heart and soul of Art of the Cowgirl, with a multi-faceted purpose: to help people live unique and different lives, start businesses, and to preserve traditional art techniques and functional gear for future generations. It’s about Master Artists mentoring protégés, and continuing that relationship indefinitely. 

This unique opportunity lets recipients study with Master Artists and learn a wide array of specialties, from saddle making to painting to horsemanship (and more), while it eliminates age, location and budget restrictions–literally breaking down obstacles. Program recipients are chosen each year via a selection committee, and winners receive one-to-two weeks of one-on- one training and mentoring, including paid tuition, materials, supplies, and room and board. In return, recipients must complete their fellowship by December 31 of their award year, present at the next Art of the Cowgirl main event, and donate a piece they have created to the event’s art auction. It’s a well-planned cycle of learning, giving back, and becoming masters and mentors themselves. 

The 2022 master artists include: Cara Brewer (Master Horsewoman); Natalie McFarland (Master Videographer); Karen Lamontagne (Master Saddle Maker); Wilson Capron (Master Silversmith); Deborah Copenhaver Fellows (Master Fine Artist); Lavonna “Shorty” Koger (Master Hat Maker) and Lari Dee Guy (Master Horsewoman). 

Recipients for 2022 include: Nicole Kirby (saddle making); Sara Dunlop (hat making); Carlee Stutz (bit making); Hailey Rose Viars (videography); Audre Etsitty (horsemanship); Shandon Camarillo Whitson (fine art) and Bailey Jo Jeffries (horsemanship).

For more information on the Art of the Cowgirl Fellowship Program, visit Opportunities for 2023 fellowships open March 1, 2023. The next Art of the Cowgirl main event will be held January 18-22, 2023 in Queen Creek, Arizona.

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