Arizona Capitol Museum to host undammed rivers exhibit from landscape artist

Tony Winters. (Submitted Photo)

The Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 E. Washington St. in Phoenix, is presenting landscape artist Tony Winters’s new collection of oil paintings “Renegades: Arizona’s Undammed Rivers.”

The title refers to the last two rivers in Arizona that have never been dammed. This series portrays the Upper Verde and the San Pedro, Arizona’s last remaining wild rivers, according to a press release.

Mr. Winters documents the remote desert rivers as they appear today, from the Mexican border crossing to the rugged canyons of Yavapai County.

The title “Renegades” refers to the rivers’ freedom from dams as well as to the rebels and renegades who have taken refuge in their remote landscapes throughout history.

Viewers will be invited to discover two rivers that are lushly green, flowing freely and supporting diverse wildlife.

“The fact these two rivers still run free, much as they did before Arizona became a U.S. Territory, is something to be celebrated, and that’s what this project is about,” Mr. Winters said in a prepared statement.

With the help of guides from the Water Sentinels group, Mr. Winters hiked into remote areas along each river, locating sites to paint that are significant for their wildlife, ecology or scenic beauty, a release states.

Mr. Winters said he believes in addressing highly political issues in a non-political way.

“Ultimately, it is my belief that people feel love and protectiveness for places they know and find beautiful,” he said.

The project was conceived in 2016 with the late Dr. Jack August, historian and foremost chronicler of water history in Arizona.

“Dr. August suggested we collaborate on a new exhibition to follow up on my previous one-man show at the Capitol Museum called Desert River/City River, which featured the reservoirs and canals that bring water to the city of Phoenix,” Mr. Winters said.

“This time we decided to focus on Arizona’s wild rivers. Sadly, Jack is no longer with us. For both of us the inspiration was to offer a new vision of these magical places that highlights the value as part of Arizona’s legacy.”

Mr. Winters’ is a prize-winning classically trained contemporary artist who continues the naturalist landscape art tradition of the Hudson River School painters. He has exhibited his work nationally and has been featured in both online and print publications.

There will be a special reception Thursday, Oct. 25 for the artist, invitation only, hosted by the Arizona Capitol Museum.

The exhibition has been developed in conjunction with the Sierra Club and The Friends of the San Pedro. “Renegades: Arizona’s Undammed Rivers” will be on display at the Arizona Capitol Museum through Dec. 31.

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