Academy Of Western Artists
The AWA is a very small group of dedicated members and supporters who work to bring more visibility to the contemporary western artists who are working to make their art better and to also bring in more new artisans who stretch the boundaries to new levels. The AWA is a non profit group.
The Academy of Western Artists "Will Rogers Cowboy Awards" came about in 1996, when western publisher, Bobby Newton, decided there needed to be some kind of recognition for the performers and artisans who were taking the contemporary cowboy and western movement to new and exciting heights.
The first awards were held in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn North in Fort Worth, Texas with a capacity crowd on hand and it has progressed since then, to be one of the highest recognition for the western arts in the world.
There have been almost 500 winners in the many categories recognized by the AWA. Each year, some categories are added and some are deleted to meet the ever changing scene of the western contemporary arts.
Has the AWA had an impact on the state of western arts? Definitely Yes, the AWA, along with many other groups have moved western arts to much higher levels, which can be seen in the price of current makers’ products, and more getting involved. It is a growth industry and will continue to do so for future generations.
The American Cowboy is the only World Hero, and the product of the USA. He is known world wide and the AWA wants to use that image to insure that the Cowboy lives forever.
How Awards Are Selected
All of the nominees come from individuals, groups, anybody who feels that the recognition is deserved. All of the nominees are then passed on to blind juries of their peers who make the final selections through various methods.
Using a blind jury of qualified people in each area eliminates the personality of the award. Honest opinions can be discussed to find the most qualified people. This system was selected after trial and error of other ways. The AWA is still looking to improve the system and welcomes any suggestions to make it better. We wish to reflect everyone and recognize those who work hard to improve themselves and others.
The Art and Artisans Awards are selected in this order:
- The body of their work, not one particular piece
- Their standing within their peer community by promoting their art and working with others to improve their art
- The quality of their work.
The AWA is currently working on a Will Rogers Masters Exhibition which will feature the finest in western art and artisans.
A location is being sought and advisory boards are being assembled to bring a world class show featuring the finest western craftsmen and artists in the world.
The Long Range Goal of the AWA has always been the same: To promote the Contemporary Western Movement.
We hope to have a permanent facility, with a proper staff to work for the many people involved in the western world. In addition, within that facility would be a rotating display of the art and craftsmanship items which would change 3-4 times a year to display the versatility of the artists.
There would also be workshops, seminars, clinics, to improve the arts and events for the general public. The public would be able to come, at any time, and see the finest in western workmanship anywhere in the world.
The facility would also be a public relations and marketing tool for everyone involved, putting together individuals and groups with the artists.