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Western, wildlife art coming to Fort Robinson State Park

Art Show Photo
The Western & Wildlife Art Show, in which artists display their work in the stalls of Fort Robinson State Park’s historic Veterinary Building, is a Crawford Fourth of July celebration tradition. (NEBRASKAland Magazine/Justin Haag)

Beautiful scenes of the West will be on display at the 41st annual Western & Wildlife Art Show at Fort Robinson State Park. The show, a traditional part of Crawford’s annual Fourth of July celebration, will be Tuesday through Friday, July 1-4, at the park’s historic Veterinary Building.

The work of 26 select artists from at least five states — featuring subjects such as landscapes, animals, ranchers, cowboys and Native Americans — will be available for viewing and purchase. The show will be open free of charge from 7-9 p.m. on July 1, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on July 2-3, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4.

The public will help kick off the event July 1 at 6 p.m. during a fried chicken dinner just outside the Veterinary Building. The dinner will include introductions of the artists and entertainment by singer-songwriter Pat Mead. The price is $8 for adults and $4 for children. No reservations are required.

Organizers say one of the show’s secrets to success is its emphasis on quality art and the selection of artists months in advance. The number of artists is limited to the number of stalls available in the veterinary building and committee members are required to make some difficult choices.

Barb Heckman, who leads the show’s planning committee, said as many as 3,500 people annually attend the show and that a total of about 250 artists have been featured through the years. Each year features both returning and new artists.

The art show isn’t the only special Fourth of July activity planned at Fort Robinson. The park also plans its annual Fourth of July barbecue near the lodge following the city’s morning parade. People may dine on bison burgers at picnic tables west of the lodge or enjoy the buffet in the restaurant.

While the art show is free, vehicles entering Fort Robinson are required to have a park entry permit. They are available for purchase online at outdoornebraska.org or at the park’s headquarters.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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