"With both of our big outdoor events, the [Southeastern Cowboy] Gathering and the symposium, our goal is always to expose people to the history, the heritage and the culture of the West that's in our art collection, whether that's painting or sculpture," Booth Executive Director Seth Hopkins said. "[It also is important] to try to get them to understand a little bit more about whether it's Native American culture or something like the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, what it really looked like, that they were real people and to understand a little bit of the background that goes into the art that's created in the museum.
"So it's a lot of fun. It's educational but it also helps people understand a little better the art collection, which is the core of the museum."
After offering a school program on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the event will open to the public with an artist reception for painter Shonto Begay from 5 to 7 p.m. As the featured artist for the Festival and Symposium, Begay will conduct a lecture following the reception in the Booth Theatre at 7 p.m. and then lead a workshop on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Resource Center, 1 N. Gilmer St. in Cartersville. The class, which will be limited in size, will cost $125 for Booth members and $150 for non-members. Reservations are required and can be placed by calling 770-387-3849.
"Shonto Begay is a Native American artist from Arizona," Hopkins said. "He was a National Parks ranger for about 10 years, so he really has a keen eye in sensibility regarding conservation of the land and his Native American heritage.
"So he tries to put that into his paintings. Often that's done in a whimsical way, but in many cases there's a pretty intense social message behind some of that surface whimsical nature of the paintings. So the reception for him on Thursday night of the 20th and then his lecture at 7 o'clock would be a great opportunity to meet a great artist, a great Native American artist and understand what he's doing with his work and some of the symbology that's in his paintings."
In addition to Begay's workshop, Friday's offerings will consist of art history lectures in the Booth Theatre from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. While some of the festival's favorite activities may include the Western Marketplace and the reenactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, its scope is much broader, said Tara Currier, director of marketing for the Booth Western Art Museum. Encouraging patrons to check out all its offerings, she said the event also will feature concerts by Lynn Anderson, whose 40-year career in country music has resulted in 17 Gold albums, 11 No. 1 and more than 50 Top-40 recordings.
"We always try to get a really well-known act for our Festival and Symposium every year," Currier said. "We were fortunate in the past to have had Riders in the Sky, so we're super excited that this will be the first time Lynn Anderson has come. Hopefully a lot of people are very familiar with her No. 1 hit, 'I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.' Ticket sales have been very good so far, so we're looking forward to having her do the two concerts during Saturday, [Oct.] 22.
"We do [offer] the two concerts on Saturday [2 and 7 p.m. at The Grand Theatre] in addition [to the festival's other activities]. People get wrapped up in thinking that it's just the gun fights and Native American dancing and [the] Western Marketplace. [And in addition to live music] on Friday throughout the day as well we'll have that symposium [where] we're going to have guest lecturers from across the United States come in. They'll be discussing Native American artwork and their importance in the Western art world. So we certainly want people to be aware of that as well," she said, referring to the following lineup -- Historic Native American Objects at 10:30 a.m., Contemporary Native American Objects at 11:30 a.m., Historic Native American Painting and Sculpture at 1:30 p.m. and Contemporary Native American Painting and Sculpture at 2:30 p.m.
On Oct. 22, the Cowboy Festival will be under way from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the museum's grounds at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville. Along with children's activities at the Kids Corner, the festivities will include fast draw exhibitions, reenactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, American Indian dances, live entertainment, Western art and collectibles, and living history encampments.
The Festival and Symposium will conclude on Oct. 23 with Cowboy Church at 11 a.m. and activities on the museum's grounds from noon to 5 p.m.
"It's going to be a great time," Currier said. "For the ninth year now, we always are anxious to see new faces come out. But additionally, we've got a lot of people who love to see that gunfight reenactment. We are changing up the stage entertainment just a little bit. Of course, we're going to have the favorites -- the gunfight reenactment, the Native American dancing -- but we've brought back Hopalong Cassidy [and] we're going to be doing some roping demonstrations.
"Also for the first time this year, we're doing a children's parade so we want all children 12 and under dressed in their best Western attire," she said about the parade, which will take place on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. "... It really is a family-friendly event and [we] just hope that people will come out and enjoy all we have to offer."
Admission to activities located inside the Booth and on its grounds will be $10 for adults, $8 for individuals 65 and older, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and younger, and free for museum members and active military personnel with ID. For more information on the Festival and Symposium and concert fees, contact the Booth at 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org.