Since its founding in 1997 the Empire Ranch Foundation has sponsored events to raise funds and public support for preservation and interpretation of the Empire Ranch, and to educate adults and youth about the rich and enduring legacy of the West. The discontinued or unique events listed below are an important part of the Foundation’s history.
Empire 100 Western Art Show and Sale
The Empire 100 Western Art Show & Sale was established in 2000 by Chair Marion Hyland, with the purpose of showcasing fine Western art while raising funds for the preservation of the historic Empire Ranch Headquarters. The juried art exhibition & sale, held from 2000-2015, became a premier art show featuring established and emerging artists specializing in Western art. The art show was named “Empire 100” to reflect the number of pieces selected through a jury process for the show. Ranging from impressionistic and traditional Western art subjects, to plein air landscapes, to colorful still lifes, the show offered something for every collector. The show also featured entries of “Empire-inspired art” – artwork inspired by images and scenes at the historic Empire Ranch in Sonoita, Arizona.
The show was discontinued in 2016 due to a number of factors including the lack of an affordable venue and the financial viability of the event. We are grateful for the contributions of past art show chairs: Marion Hyland, Ginger Hambly, and Laura Davis. To read articles about past shows, including information about the Featured Artists, click here to go the ERF Newsletter index and find the listings under Events–Empire 100 Art Show.
From 1880’s to Steampunk
In August 1876, Walter Vail and Herbert Hislop purchased a 160-acre homestead in Sonoita, Arizona, that became the heart of the Empire Ranch. On January 30, 2016, the Foundation kicked-off a year long 140th anniversary celebration with a special event – “From 1880’s to Steampunk” – at the Savoy Opera House at Trail Dust Town in Tucson.
Guests enjoyed a traditional Saloon party complete with Old West gambling tables, music and dancing girls, a Whiskey tasting, and authentic saloon fare. Doc Holliday was on hand for a “historical” game of Faro. The handsome saloon was filled with happy guests, many dressed “to the nines” in Cowboy, Victorian, and Steampunk outfits.