10 Years of Conservation Through Art

October of 2004 marks a major milestone for artist Curt Walters of Sedona, Arizona: 10 years of successful crusading against pollution in and around the Grand Canyon. While honing the skills of a plein-aire impressionist through the ‘70s and ‘80s, his passion for location painting and strict attention to detail inadvertently captured the worsening air quality over the whole of the Colorado Plateau. Concerned, Walters was moved to action.

508Finding worthy ideals with the Grand Canyon Trust, Walters utilized his forte and put brush to canvas for their cause. In October of 1994, the Trust chose the artist to create a commemorative painting for the 75th anniversary of Grand Canyon as a National Park, accepted on behalf of the National Park Service by Robert Arenberger, then Superintendent of Grand Canyon, and attended by Bruce Babbitt. Walters then licensed the 30” x 60” oil-on-canvas, titled “National Treasure,” for reproduction on everything from postcards to posters, and donated all proceeds from park sales directly to the Trust. He has also pledged a percentage from each sale of Grand Canyon images to the organization. To date, his contributions have garnered over half a million dollars for the Grand Canyon Trust.

In addition to financial and artistic donations, he also gives freely of his time, organizing educational forums and fundraising trips among his peers. In 1999, Walters invited 14 fellow artists on an 8-day, 88-mile painting excursion through Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. Dozens of the 200-plus pieces produced were contributed to the Trust after a special showing at the Forbes Magazine Galleries in New York, bringing in well over $200,000 for the conservation organization. In June of this year, Curt Walters and Deborah Tuck, President of the Grand Canyon Foundation, shared the podium at the Prix de West Art Exhibition and Sale in Oklahoma City, giving a speech and video presentation about the conservation of all the park’s natural and historic resources. Walters serves as a board member of the Grand Canyon Foundation alongside the likes of Sen. John McCain.

At this year’s Prix de West, Walters’ 48” x 78” “Apache Walls” earned him top honors, winning the coveted Frederic Remington Painting Award. He has also been the recipient of many Buyers’ Choice Awards from Prix de West, Denver’s Artists of America and the Autry Museum’s Masters of the American West shows.

Though best known as a Western landscape impressionist–in fact, he is often labeled as “the greatest living Grand Canyon artist”–Walters takes time each year to stretch his artistic legs and enjoy painting holidays all over the Pacific Islands, Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, he revisited the Forbes’ Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, France.

Walters’ Grand Canyon and international paintings can be found at the Trailside Galleries of Scottsdale, AZ and Jackson, WY, where the artist has been represented now for 25 years. He will unveil his newest masterpiece at the Scottsdale gallery this Saturday, the 23rd of October. Other galleries include the Altermann Galleries in Santa Fe, NM, Pitzer’s of Carmel, Carmel, CA, and in Hilton Head, SC at the Morris Galleries. Some of the artist’s avid collectors are Christopher Forbes, Frank Borman, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Kathie Lee Gifford and the late Robert Urich.