It’s estimated that mastering any skill takes at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, and after achieving that goal, most people remain students in their fields for a lifetime. Opportunities to learn and collaborate in a creative, supportive environment are also imperative. Art of the Cowgirl offers an inspiring place for women to gain exposure, experience, and knowledge in various Western trades through educational workshops held during the Art of the Cowgirl main event, January 17–21, 2024, at Horseshoe Park Equestrian Center in Queen Creek, Arizona.
Gaining the confidence and knowledge to start a hobby or small business in the Western industry can be especially daunting for women in agriculture due to family obligations, responsibilities at home, and financial and geographical boundaries. Art of the Cowgirl aims to reduce some of those barriers to entry through its fellowship program, which unites recipients with experts in their fields for extended one-on-one learning opportunities. The workshops help raise funds for the fellowship program while giving women expert advice, hands-on experience and stepping stones to pursue their passions.
“Art of the cowgirl offers a wonderful opportunity to participate and learn in a community that seeks to raise up women of all skill levels,” says Traditional Cowboy Arts Association saddlemaker John Willemsma, who will teach a workshop on drawing for leather tooling.
The event will offer 18 workshops instructed by Art of the Cowgirl’s masters, such as Willemsma, Robin Brown, Teresa Black and Trina Morris, as well as guest presenters. Topics include horsemanship, photography, creative writing, purse making, drawing for leather tooling and entrepreneurship.
“If you are seeking to expand your artistic skills, horsemanship or Western craft, these workshops are so rich and full of hands-on, expert knowledge,” notes Phyllis Burchett and Kimberly Beers, instructors for the photography workshop. “At the heart of Art of the Cowgirl is a community sharing artistic skills and knowledge. We have often witnessed Art of the Cowgirl workshop instructors being completely open in sharing their expertise. This open learning environment is one of the reasons we wanted to be involved in Art of the Cowgirl events.”
Making its debut at Art of the Cowgirl, Boss Mares, Inc., a newly formed non-profit organization supporting female business owners and entrepreneurs in the Western industry, will hold two two hour workshops featuring three successful businesswomen in the Western industry who will share advice with attendees to help them energize their creativity and take their businesses to new levels.
Collaboration is a common theme at Art of the Cowgirl, and the workshops provide the perfect place to learn from the industry’s best, celebrate successful women and honor Western traditions.
“Art of the Cowgirl is another avenue to tell the story of the West,” notes Willemsma. “Workshops allow people to be part of that story.”
Most workshop registrations include a free five-day pass to the event, which includes discussions and demonstrations, All Women’s Ranch Rodeo and World’s Greatest Horsewoman competitions, live entertainment, a quick-draw contest and trade show, and the Elite Ranch Horse Sale.