On a recent weekend trip to the Rocky Mountains, I stopped to admire a beautiful bronze sculpted by Vilem Zach on display in the Art Gallery at Chateau Lake Louise. Before I knew it, the gallery owner was by my side. “Did you know,” he began, “that Vilem Zach is one of only seven artists who have been inducted into the Calgary Stampede’s Western Art Hall of Fame?” I did not know this, but was determined to find out more.
In 2007, the Calgary Stampede established the Western Art Show Hall of Fame, and inducted the first members, Malcome MacKenzie and Gina McDougal Cohoe. The Wall of Fame aims to honor the work and participation of those who have had a significant impact on the continued success of the Western Art Show. Inductees are chosen by a selection committee based on their contributions to the show, leadership, and outstanding attitude. Other early inductees include Jay Contway in 2008 and Dale Auger in 2009.
Vilem Zach is both a sculptor and a painter and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2010. Vilem is one of the original participants of the Western Art Show, and was chosen for the Hall of Fame for his detailed portraits that depict our western heritage. His life sized statue “Farm Family” can be viewed on Stampede Park in front of the new Agrium Western Events Center and is one of seventeen pieces of public art on Stampede Park that will be featured on this Sunday’s Art Walk (http://art.calgarystampede.com/art-walk).
Vilem Zach is in good company in the Hall of Fame – Henri De Groot was inducted in 2011, followed by Linda Stewart in 2012. The eighth member of the Hall of Fame to join these incredible and accomplished artists will be announced at this year’s Western Art Show. You’ll find plaques honoring the exceptional achievements of these individuals at the Western Art Show which is not to be missed during Stampede!