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Indianapolis, IN 46204

News Release: Museum Quest for the West® reaches more than $1M in Western art sales

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award
Donna Howell-Sickles of St. Joe, Texas
Waiting for the Other Boot to Drop, 2023
Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches
Sponsored by the Western Art Society

Public exhibition open through Oct. 8; works still available for purchase

INDIANAPOLIS – More than $1 million in high quality Western art was sold at the Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, held Sept. 8-9 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in downtown Indianapolis. At the 18th annual Quest for the West®, more than 300 collectors and guests mingled with some of the nation’s leading Western American artists and had the opportunity to purchase amazing works of art.

The opening weekend included two fixed-price, luck-of-the-draw sales, an awards banquet and activities such as special guest speaker Jim Hatzell. This was the first year that Eiteljorg President and CEO Kathryn Haigh has presided over the popular Quest for the West® event since she joined the museum in May, succeeding John Vanausdall, who retired after 27 years as president and CEO.

“As a major initiative of the Eiteljorg Museum, the Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale builds awareness of Western American art and artists, and raises the museum’s profile nationally as one of the top Western art sales and exhibitions in the country,” Haigh said. “Quest provides Eiteljorg visitors an opportunity to experience exceptional artwork that is being made today and gives both novice and seasoned collectors access to these important artists. We are grateful to the artists, museum staff, volunteers, sponsors and members of The Western Art Society who make it all possible.”

The amount of art sold thus far totals more than $1.03 million and counting, including artworks sold during the Quest main sale Sept. 9, smaller works purchased at the Quest miniature sale Sept. 8, and additional pieces purchased since then. Collectors could purchase in person or as absentee buyers, and 75 percent of sales proceeds go directly to the artists, with the museum receiving the remainder. Works by 48 artists are represented in Quest. Any artworks not sold during Quest weekend (paintings as well as additional casts of bronze sculptures) can be purchased through Oct. 8; contact to arrange a purchase.

Artists at Quest for the West® were recognized with awards in multiple categories Sept. 9. Donna Howell-Sickles of St. Joe, Texas, received the Harrison Eiteljorg Purchase Award for her painting Waiting for the Boot to Drop. The Western Art Society, a group of enthusiastic museum supporters, purchased the painting to add to the Eiteljorg Museum’s collections.

Artist of Distinction Award
Krystii Melaine of Colbert, Washington
For works including:
Something in the Wind, 2023
Oil on linen, 26 x 25 inches
Sponsored by The Western Art Society

Artist Krystii Melaine of Colbert, Washington, received the Artist of Distinction Award, sponsored by The Western Art Society, for her stature in the field and overall body of work. During the 2024 Quest for the West® one year from now, the Eiteljorg will host a special exhibition of Melaine’s paintings. Originally from Australia, Melaine has been a successful realist painter of the American West for more than three decades.

Henry Farny Award for Best Painting
Russell Case of Brigham City, Utah
Autumn in Twilight, 2023
Oil linen on board, 30 x 40 inches
Sponsored by Steve and Jane Marmon

The Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture
Scott Rogers of Logan, Utah
Whiskey’s Rebel, 2022
24 x 20 x 16 inches
Sponsored by Carla and Mike Leppert

An oil painting by G. Russell Case of Brigham City, Utah, Autumn in Twilight, won the Henry Farny Award for Best Painting, sponsored by Steve and Jane Marmon. A bronze sculpture by Scott Rogers of Logan, Utah, Whiskey’s Rebel, received the Cyrus Dallin Award for Best Sculpture, sponsored by Michael and Carla Leppert.

Victor Higgins Award of Distinction, for best body of work presented in the show
Dean Mitchell of Tampa, Florida
For works including:
Trail Town Wagons, 2023
Acrylic, 20 x 30 inches
Sponsored by Catherine Turner

Patrons’ Choice Award, given in recognition of the work voted the best by Quest guests
Mark Kelso of Bargersville, Indiana
The Sound of Silence, 2023
Oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches
Sponsored by Caryn Cockerill Anderson and David Anderson

In other Quest awards, artist Dean Mitchell of Tampa, Florida, received the Victor Higgins Award of Distinction, sponsored by Catherine Turner, for the best overall body of work presented at the show. A painting by Mark Kelso of Bargersville, Indiana, The Sound of Silence, received the Patrons’ Choice Award, sponsored by Caryn Cockerill Anderson and David Anderson.

Quest artists voted to select the recipient of the Artists’ Choice Award, sponsored by Phyllis Cockerill. This year the voting resulted in an unprecedented five-way tie among these winning artists and works:

William Haskell of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the painting Unrelenting, 2023, acrylic on panel, 30 x 24 inches

Mark Kelso of Bargersville, Indiana, for The Sound of Silence, 2023, oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches (see above)

Dean Mitchell of Tampa, Florida, for Monument Valley, 2023, acrylic on watercolor paper, 22 x 30 inches

Heide Presse of Maineville, Ohio, for the painting They Shall Inherit The Earth, 2020, oil on linen, 30 x 20 inches

Scott Rogers of Logan, Utah, for the sculpture Commander, 2021, bronze casting, 39 x 26 x 20 inches

Quest paintings and sculptures remain on view at the Eiteljorg through Oct. 8 for the general public to enjoy before purchased works are shipped to their buyers. The Quest for the West® art exhibition is included with regular museum admission. A beautifully illustrated 2023 Quest for the West® art catalog is available in the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store. Details are at

During Quest weekend, attendees heard special presentations from Jim Hatzell, who has worked on both sides of the camera as a consultant to Western movies and television shows, including films such as Dances with Wolves. As a production consultant who makes movie sets look authentic to the Old West time period, Hatzell regaled his audiences with tales of working in Hollywood.

Over the course of the weekend, guests enjoyed fine dining provided by Kahn’s Catering inside the museum’s beautiful, newly renovated multipurpose event space, the Allen Whitehill Clowes Sculpture Court. Attendees who won a drawing received a reproduction of a small bronze sculpture by Scott Rogers, Summer’s Long Gone, which was this year’s Eiteljorg Keepsake, sponsored by Steve and Jane Marmon and Catherine Turner.

The Eiteljorg Museum thanks the presenting sponsors of the 18th annual Quest for the West®, The Western Art Society and the Avis Foundation, Inc., as well as numerous other donors.

Western art aficionados should mark their calendars for Sept. 6-7, 2024, when the 19th annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale is scheduled at the Eiteljorg Museum, featuring the related Artist of Distinction exhibition of Krystii Melaine’s work.

About the Eiteljorg
A cultural pillar for 34 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and the diverse peoples of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


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