December 7, 2004                                         


CONTACT: LINDA STEDMAN                                                   

Executive Director, Dry Creek Arts Fellowship, 928/774-8861,                                                                                                                   

The Paniolo Project: Hawaii¹s Cowboy Culture in Northern Arizona


(FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA) The shared heritage of the Western American, Hawaiian and Mexican cowboy is at the heart of a unique cultural and artistic exchange at the 16th Annual Trappings of the American West Exhibition & Festival, May 27th - June 19th, 2005, in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) learned to ride horses and work cattle from Spanish American vaqueros fifty years before these same skills were passed on to cowboys working the great Texas cattle drives. Today, these traditions thrive and shed light on a significant, yet little known aspect of American heritage.

The artistic exchange includes two collaborative projects. California saddle maker, Alec Franco and 5th generation Paniolo saddle maker, Alvin Kawamoto will build a saddle that incorporates distinct regional influences with functional and decorative elements. Master woodworker, Bill Burke and renowned Hawaiian luthier, David Gomes will build a Single 0 Guitar. Engraver, Peter Kretzmann will add engraved silver and inlaid abalone embellishments to the instrument. Artists will attend the Opening Reception Friday, May 27th, at 6:00 pm. These one-of-a-kind pieces will be on display and available for sale throughout the Trappings Exhibition.


As part of the Trappings festival, The Great American Cowboy Forum and Gallery Tour on Saturday, May 28th, 1:00pm - 4:00pm, brings together Kawamoto and Franco with DCAF photographer, Heather Hafleigh, who has been documenting the charreria (Mexican rodeo), to compare artistic and cultural traditions. A gallery tour will follow to identify the multi-cultural elements found in the artwork of Trappings. On Saturday and Sunday, June 11 & 12, during the 4th Annual Flagstaff Folk Music Festival, Bill Burke and David Gomes will perform and present a guitar/ukulele workshop.

Trappings of the American West is the only exhibition in the United States that combines fine and functional art of the cowboy culture. Sponsored in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts and Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Trappings is recognized by the National Office of Tourism as one of the top 100 cultural events in the United States.

As a juried and invitational exhibition, the 90 artists of Trappings come from 14 Western states, Canada and Hawaii. There will be approximately 350 pieces of artwork available for sale.

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A one-time admission fee to the Trappings Exhibition is $3 for adults, $2 for students & seniors, $1 for children. Most events are free with admission; some are nominally priced. A full media kit and schedule of festival events is available online at

Unless noted (*) most events take place at the Coconino Center for the Arts, two miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Hwy. 180; 70 miles south of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Coconino Center for the Arts is handicap-accessible. Parking for cars and buses is free. For more information on the Trappings Exhibition & Festival, please call the Dry Creek Arts Fellowship at (928) 774-8861. For accommodations in Flagstaff, please call the Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 217-7293. The Dry Creek Arts Fellowship is an educational and charitable non-profit organization that provides a base of support for the preservation and future development of Western American Art.