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First News Fall 2006

Calendar Art Finds New Life
 

Have you ever wondered what becomes of the wonderful artwork that has been commissioned for many of the First National Bank collector’s series calendars? Usually it's donated to a non-profit organization for a fundraiser. Other times it becomes part of the non-profit's permanent collection. Such was the case of the 1997 calendar commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail. The thirteen watercolor paintings created by Trinidad artist, Doug Holdread, were donated to the Santa Fe Trail Association and became part of a permanent exhibit at the Santa Fe Trail Center in Larned, Kansas. Since then, the National Park Service has used a number of the paintings for their interpretive exhibits along the way from Independence, Missouri, to Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the paintings was used for the newest National Park Service interpretive exhibit at Cottonwood Crossing, unveiled at the 2005 Santa Fe Trail Symposium in McPherson, Kansas. Doug and his wife Lori were on hand to participate in the dedication and other symposium events. The display consisted of three interpretive panels explaining the importance of Cottonwood Crossing in the history of the trail, beginning with the 1806 expedition of Zebulon Pike. The crossing is known to many Santa Fe Trail enthusiasts from the memoirs of Susan Magoffin. In her journal she wrote about this difficult section of her journey and of her displeasure with all of the swearing (in three different languages!) that she heard coming from the bull whackers, as they struggled to get their freight wagons across Cottonwood Creek.  Two of the panels feature paintings by Holdread, the third includes a painting by famed western artist Fredrick Remington.

National Park Service displays much of the artwork originally done for the bank calendar at the Bingham-Waggoner Mansion in Independence, Missouri, which was once the home of another important artist of the Old West, George Caleb Bingham. Holdread's calendar art has also been used to enhance Park Service displays at Hart Grove in Kansas City, and as part of a spectacular trail display at the Museum Hill complex in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other Park Service exhibits are in the works at the Wayne City Overlook in Independence, and another at the Blue Ridge Trail corridor in Kansas City. The Park Service also features artwork from the calendar on their official web site at www.nps.gov/safe. Locally, Doug’s work can be seen on a Park Service exhibit at Carpio Ridge at Trinidad Lake State Park. It depicts Hispanic Settlers, led by Felipe Baca coming to settle the Placitas along the Purgatoire River Valley.
The thirteen paintings done by Doug for the bank calendar in 1997 have been reproduced by the National Santa Fe Trail Association as note cards which are available all along the trail, including at the Bloom/Baca gift shop in Trinidad. Doug collaborated on the 175th Santa Fe Trail Calendar project with then director at Fort Union National Monument, Harry Myers, and trail historian, Michael Olsen. Doug has also illustrated two trail related books, “Faces Along the Santa Fe Trail” and “The Oregon Trail: Dangers and Dreams,” both by former Trinidad resident, Janie Kurtz. Recently, Doug, who coordinates the visual art program at Trinidad State Junior College, has been working with TSJC and Upward Bound students on a large mural depicting the history of the Purgatoire River Valley.

The McPherson dedication was the Ninth Santa Fe Trail Symposium. These gatherings of scholars and trail buffs are held every other year. The next one, in September 2007, will be held in Trinidad where the very first symposium was hosted back in 1986. The original thirteen pieces of art painted by Doug, that were commissioned by the First National Bank for the 1997 calendar, will return to Trinidad during the 2007 symposium, on loan from the Santa Fe Trail Center in Larned, Kansas. Doug is currently serving as chairman of the art committee for the symposium and is working on organizing several art events to happen during the September 2007 event. Doug is working on several Santa Fe Trail thematic art exhibitions to be held in various venues around town. Potential shows include the works of important 19th and 20th century Western artists who helped to shape the image of the Wild West in the minds of people back east, as well as those by contemporary artists who depict the people and places of the trail in their work. He's hoping to coordinate with Trinidad State Junior College and sponsor a kids’ art competition with a Santa Fe Trail theme. Be sure to mark your 2007 historic calendar to attend the Santa Fe Trail Symposium in September and the art shows that will be a part of this special event.

 

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