Press Release – Art in the West 2024

Thursday June 26, 2024 

Contact: Heidi Hagemeier, director of communications and visitor experience, 541-382-4754 ext. 166,  

              Annual Art in the West Exhibition and Auction Celebrates the High Desert Region Through Spectacular Artwork

BEND, OR — Mark your calendars! On Saturday, July 20, the High Desert Museum will unveil its annual Art in the West exhibition and silent auction featuring a captivating blend of traditional and contemporary artworks. This year’s exhibition boasts 113 pieces crafted by acclaimed painters, sculptors, photographers and more, hailing from all corners of the country. 

Each work is inspired by the High Desert—a sprawling region stretching from the eastern slopes of the Cascades and Sierras to the Wyoming Basin and Colorado Plateau. This juried fine art exhibition serves as a canvas for artists—who must be invited to submit their work—to channel their interpretations of the region’s landscapes, history, cultures and wildlife. From oil paintings to acrylic masterpieces, pastel sketches to charcoal wonders, the mediums are as diverse as the artist’s inspirations.  

“The exhibition’s expanding array of artwork, spanning diverse subjects and mediums, continues to captivate visitors,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “These interpretations of the West unveil fresh perspectives, enriching our understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary region.” 

This year’s Art in the West Jury’s Choice Award winner is Monte Yellow Bird Sr., also known as Black Pinto Horse. Yellow Bird is an Arikara/Hidatsa from the Three Affiliated Tribes and grew up in White Shield, North Dakota. The award-winning, internationally recognized artist says that he uses his heritage as creative inspiration, incorporating his tradition and spirituality through contemporary forms of visual art expression and education. 

His winning 23.5” x 13” acrylic painting Buffalo Hunt Under the Three Stars is one of two Yellow Bird works featured in this year’s Art in the West exhibition. 

The 2024 Art in the West Curator’s Choice Award goes to acclaimed artist and past winner Analee Fuentes for her 53” x 17” hand-cut paper collage on canvas, The Gift. She won the Art in the West Curator’s Choice Award for the first time in 2019 for her piece Hosmer Brook Trout. Fuentes attributes her appreciation of Oregon’s natural beauty to her Mexican-American heritage, which allows her to see landscapes through a lens of bright colors and rich patterning. 

Museum visitors can also look forward to enjoying artworks by the 2023 Curator’s Choice winner and Bend local, Taylor Manoles. Her 2024 featured oil paintings, Onward and John Day River, depict spectacular scenes of the High Desert. Another Art in the West featured artist, Ben Stallman, creates his meticulously detailed works by burning wood. Notably, Stallman has created wood-burned guitars for musical icons Chris Stapelton, Morgan Wallen, Tyler Childers and the Jonas Brothers. Other featured artists include renowned painter Richard York, celebrated photographer Richard Bergeman and Bend watercolorist Stuart Breidenstein.  

The entire 2024 collection will be on exhibit at the High Desert Museum and available for viewing through the Museum’s online auction page at A gallery guide will go live beginning July 13, and online bidding will start on July 20 at 9:00 am, with the opportunity to purchase artwork outright. The auction is exclusively online, and shipping is available.  

The bidding concludes and the exhibition closes on Friday, September 20 at the Art in the West Closing Party at the Museum. Attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with participating artists, watch live demonstrations and enjoy food and libations. The event begins at 6:00 pm and the auction closes at 7:00 pm. Register today at  

Art in the West is made possible by Western Art Collector and American Art Collector magazines with support from Tetherow and Central Oregon Radiology Associates.  

ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM: The High Desert Museum opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Instagram