George Phippen, first President of the Cowboy Artists of America, died in 1966, leaving behind a group of artists interested in creating a facility that specifically represented artists in the American West. In 1974, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation was formed to create a centralized venue that would fully support Western Art. With the assistance of a dedicated core of volunteers, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation began organizing fundraisers for the creation of their museum. The first annual Memorial Day Show was presented at the Prescott Public Library in 1974, featuring the finest of western sculptors and painters. For ten years, this show was the only financial means of the Foundation.
In the early 1980s, the James Family Trust donated a parcel of land to the Foundation to begin the construction of the building for the future Phippen Museum. With the funds from the Memorial Day Shows and this generous gift, the Phippen Museum was able to open its doors to the public on October 13, 1984.
At present, the Phippen Museum still presents the annual Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale on Memorial Day Weekend at the Courthouse Plaza in Prescott, Arizona. The Museum has also expanded, adding rooms specifically for the purpose of collection development and research. The staff has expanded from a core group of volunteers in 1984, to a full staff and Board of Trustees. Rotating exhibits are featured quarterly. The Museum presents educational programs to schools, adults and special interest groups from across the country. The Phippen Museum is one of three museums in Prescott and is proud to be the only art museum.
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