The early resident art community of Arizona was comprised mostly of women, and Dr. Fahlman’s talk explores the varied careers of five of these independent and talented artists. One of the first to arrive was Kate Cory, who came to Oraibi in 1905. She remained seven years in Hopiland, producing a remarkable series of paintings and photographs, before moving to Prescott in 1912.
Marjorie Thomas arrived in Scottsdale in 1909 with her brother in 1909, who had moved here for his health. Lillian Wilhelm Smith came to the state in 1913 with her cousin by marriage, Zane Grey. She illustrated a number of his books. Her second husband was a cowboy, and together they ran a trading post and guest ranch.
Jessie Benton Evans settled in Scottsdale in 1923, and her desert villa became a social center for local artists. She produced a series of beautiful Impressionist desert landscapes. The twenties brought Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, who, with her husband Harold, founded the Museum of Northern Arizona in 1928.
Other women artists who settled in the state will also be discussed, including architect Mary Jane Colter, as will the many women artists who visited, several sponsored by the Santa Fe Railroad.
Betsy Fahlman received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Delaware. She is a Professor of Art History at Arizona State University, where she has taught since 1988. A specialist in American art of the 19th and 20th centuries, she is the author of New Deal Art in Arizona (University of Arizona Press 2009). The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee (2002).
The Discover Arizona series consists of five programs that each feature a different aspect of Arizona history presented by an accomplished speaker. The series is made possible through a grant from the Arizona Humanities Council.
All of the programs are free and open to the public. Sun Valley Lodge is located at 12415 N. 103rd Avenue in Sun City. For more details please call 623-933-0137.