JUNE 2, 2010
$100,000 pledge of support for Arizona charity from nationally recognized artist Kenneth M. Freeman (1935 – 2008)
SCOTTSDALE – When it came time to ‘Cowboy Up’ to protect Arizona’s beautiful and fragile Sonoran Desert, the Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy heard the call to action from the Desert Foothills Land Trust (DFLT). A portion of the sales from the Limited Edition of one of Freeman’s paintings entitled “After the Ride” can generate $100,000 to preserve and protect our desert landscapes. Visit www.dflt.org for more information or www.shop.KennethMFreeman.com to purchase a print and help protect and preserve our Sonoran Desert for future generations.
Master artist Kenneth M. Freeman had two passions in his life: to be a great artist and to be a cowboy. After the Ride is full of Arizona tradition … the cowboy, the rodeo and even the model for the painting.
If you have been to the Handlebar J Restaurant and Saloon in Scottsdale, you have seen this image on the walls, the menu and the tee shirts worn by the staff. That is because Scottsdale native Ray Herndon is the model for this painting and he was only 18 when Ken painted him.
“Ken always talked about living your dream and my debut album was called Livin’ the Dream,” said Herndon, who penned the successful breakout song Me and You for Kenny Chesney and later played with McBride and the Ride. The Herndon Brothers perform regularly at The Handlebar J.
“Ken loved living in Arizona,” said Bonnie Adams-Freeman, curator of the Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy Collection. “I feel strongly that he would be so proud that one of his favorite paintings will be used to help raise funds to preserve the open space of this beautiful state.”
Sonia Perillo, executive director for the Desert Foothills Land Trust thanks the Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy for this donation.
“This is wonderful!” Perillo said recently. “Many thanks are owed to the Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy for this tremendous commitment to land conservation and our organization. I know we will be able to accomplish some important land protection work with this donation.”
What do John Wayne, Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Jane Russell, Roy Rogers and Ken Freeman have in common? They are all individuals who have been recognized by the National Festival of the West as men and women who have set the example of Western heroes with the integrity, strength of spirit and moral character depicted by the American Cowboy. Ken loved all things Western. He loved the cowboy life and he painted it. Ken was a cowboy.
Visit www.dflt.org for more information or www.shop.KennethMFreeman.com to purchase a print and help protect and preserve our Sonoran Desert for future generations. The limited edition print campaign kicked off at the Desert Foothills Land Trust annual signature fund raising event, “Sonoran Stars,” held April 24 at the Rancho Manana Golf Club in Cave Creek.
Works of Kenneth M. Freeman are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum, Library of Congress, American Art Academy, and Booth Museum as well as distinguished private collections. Accolades include winning competitions at the San Diego Museum of Art, the Hubbard Museum of Art, the Illinois State Fair, the Salmagundi Show in New York City, the Union League Club of Chicago, being chosen five times as artist for the Parada Del Sol Rodeo in Scottsdale, AZ and having a painting selected for the 1988 Prescott Centennial Rodeo. He was an illustrator for authors like Louis L’Amour.
Ken was known affectionately as “Rembrandt of the Rodeo” by members of the press. First Lady Barbara Bush, impressed with Ken Freeman’s southwestern art, invited him to show at the Smithsonian Institute in conjunction with the Native American Museum Extravaganza. Ken also had a one man show in 2007 in Milan, Italy at Fondazione Metropolitan.
Recent Kenneth M. Freeman Awards of Excellence:
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Western Artists of America
- Western Heritage Award from Parada del Sol
- Cowboy Spirit Award from the National Festival of the West
- Special Award from the World’s Oldest Rodeo – Prescott, AZ
Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy Museum Exhibition Schedule:
These two collections are traveling retrospectives of the late Kenneth M. Freeman (1935 - 2008) who had a prolific career as both an illustrator and fine artist, primarily portraying the American West. Artist at Work and Portraits of the West presents a cross-section of Freeman’s lifetime body of work and range of mediums.
- Artist at Work: The Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy Museum exhibition of 50 works by Kenneth M. Freeman The Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, GA. January - May 2010 [ The Booth Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate museum ]
- Portraits of the West - The Kenneth M. Freeman Legacy Premiere exhibition of 65 works by Kenneth M. Freeman. The Phippen Museum, Prescott. June 26 - October 24, 2010 - www.PhippenArtMuseum.org
Since its incorporation in 1991 the Desert Foothills Land Trust (DFLT) has evolved into a committed and stable organization dedicated to protecting the special places unique to the Sonoran Desert foothills area of central Arizona. As a result of the vision of the Cave Creek Improvement Association with the support of the Foothills Community Foundation, our organization was established. DFLT was born from the desire of many residents of the Sonoran Desert foothills and surrounding communities to protect forever the native plants and animals, the land and water resources and the archeological and historical sites that are an integral part of this sensitive landscape.
As a legacy for future desert residents to enjoy, DFLT has to date preserved 611.7 acres encompassing 15 properties of biologically diverse significance. These open spaces will be protected by DFLT in perpetuity ensuring that the land remains forever in its undisturbed, wild state while still offering recreation opportunities to all area residents and visitors of today and tomorrow. Though it's a huge undertaking, we are committed to our mission and through the generous support of conservation-minded people working together we continue to grow and protect even more of our fragile desert. At its conception DFLT was an all-volunteer organization. Presently, the organization consists of 15 volunteer members on the Board of Directors, a staff of three and dozens of other talented volunteers that serve in various ways. The DFLT conserved properties are overseen by trained Stewards, the organized hikes are lead by trained Docents and the majority of our events and projects are overseen and organized collectively by volunteers with a variety of background experience. www.dflt.org.