Western Artists Win Big with Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale Awards Presented at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming

Share Article

The Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale--an annual fundraiser for the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming--has announced the major award winners for its 31st annual western fine arts show.

Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale

Nikolo Balkanski, "Sign of Spring," 2012 Buffalo Bill Art Show Premier Award

there is something for everyone in the show

Meeting together at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center on August 23, a group of highly-respected volunteer judges (listed below) set about the task of choosing winners:

  • Dr. Donna L. Poulton, Curator of Utah and Western Art at the University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts;
  • Nedra Matteucci, noted art gallery owner from Santa Fe, New Mexico; and
  • Avid art collector Dr. Frances Watt Baker of the historic Pitchfork Ranch, outside Meeteetse, Wyoming.

The panel selected the two best works from the 108 paintings and sculptures submitted for the 2012 show. “There was such a wide range of fine art from which to choose,” the judges wrote. “Being a judge is always challenging and a learning process as well—especially when this exhibit is a feast for the viewer’s eyes; there is something for everyone in the show.”

After completing the process, the judges chose the following award winners:

The winner of the Premier Platinum Award ($20,000)—sponsored by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, Friess Family Foundation, Nielson & Associates, and Pepsi-Fremont Beverages—is "Sign of Spring," an oil painting by Nikolo Balkanski of Lakewood, Colorado. The work depicts an old barn surrounded by remnants of the season’s last snow along with dated implements and objects inherent in ranch life. As the artist put it, “Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”

'Signs of Spring' stood out immediately,” the judges explained in a joint statement. “Balkanski has created a narrative that engages the viewer in an anecdotal moment. The barn tells the story of an accumulated past, and as with anything or anyone who is a little worse for the wear, the barn is still up, still functioning, but is fairly worn. With his painterly strokes, the artist went to extraordinary lengths to create this piece for this particular show.”

Receiving the Wells Fargo Gold Award ($10,000), sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank of Cody, is "Transition of Seasons," a pastel work by Gillette, Wyoming, artist Paul Waldum. In his work, the artist depicts the fall-to-winter shift, and writes, “Nature’s blanket of snow transcends autumn to winter along a small creek in Yellowstone National Park. The growth of the forest becomes dormant, and the cold running water is silenced for months to come.”

“The medium of pastel is quite difficult, but Waldum executes it beautifully,” the judges noted. “'Transition of Seasons' is a deep response to nature, and the tones within—as within the natural world itself—vary between light and dark. The stream is leading somewhere, and as it does, it pulls the viewer into the scene.”

“Choosing these award winners is one of the most thrilling, exciting, and joyous parts of the entire show; it’s lovely to have this opportunity as one of my tasks as chairman,” Committee Chair Vickery Fales Hall says. “We are so grateful to our award sponsors. Their generous support makes it possible for us to offer these significant awards, and the honors add a high level of prestige to our show. We know the artists are very interested in such awards, and they have created extraordinary work once again.”

“We also want to thank our judges, who enthusiastically said ‘yes’ when we asked them to help determine this year’s award winners,” Show Director Kathy Thompson, adds. “We couldn’t have done this without their expertise and willingness to devote their time. They are truly loyal patrons.”

In addition to the Platinum and Gold Awards, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center announced the winner of its William E. Weiss Purchase Award, presented in honor of art enthusiast and benefactor William E. Weiss. The winning piece is selected by the Center’s John S. Bugas Curator of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Mindy Besaw; Executive Director Bruce Eldredge; and Chairman of the Whitney Gallery’s Advisory Board, Patrick R. McDonald. The chosen work then becomes part of the Center’s permanent collection.

“We are thrilled to announce that Nikolo Balkanski’s 'Signs of Spring' is also our choice for this year’s William E. Weiss Award,” Besaw revealed. “Many members of the Whitney’s Advisory Board contributed to this decision—a difficult task since we were enthusiastic about so many of the artists and their work. What a surprise that we and our advisors chose the same work as the Premier Platinum Award judges—and we all worked independently to arrive at our decision!”

Besaw noted that she was glad to add the first Balkanski work to the Center’s art contemporary art collection. “I’ve been watching him for several years now, and he continues to improve and to bring a high-quality painting to the art show.”

The artwork submitted to the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, a production of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, is currently on display in the Historical Center’s John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery through September 21, 2012, when it is sold by live auction. The exhibition is free to the public, and prospective buyers can also view the works at online. Reservations are required for the live auction. Net proceeds benefit the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Center, and other art organizations in the area.

The Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale is part of Rendezvous Royale, a week-long celebration of the arts in Cody, Wyoming. To learn more about all the activities of this exciting week, visit http://www.buffalobillartshow.org.


Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, weaves the varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and the nature of Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West. The Center, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its summer schedule, open daily, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. The fall schedule, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily begins September 15. For general information, visit bbhc.org, or call 307.587.4771.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marguerite House

Kathy Thompson
Follow us on
Visit website