Western Art Week lit up Friday night with country music star power featuring an appearance by award-winning singer Kristyn Harris. The recently announced 2018 American Idol contestant lent both her image and a song to First Strike Friday Night at the Mansfield Convention Center. The event set a celebratory tone for the 50th anniversary of The Russell Auction held Saturday at 5 p.m. benefitting the C.M. Russell Museum.
Musical powerhouse Harris played both artist and muse at the Friday auction. The first item up for bidding was an oil painting by artist Tamara Magdalina inspired by Harris and her McKinney, Texas upbringing where she was often “singing in the pasture and in the barns with all of the animals.” Harris introduced the painting “Heading to the Branding” at the start of the auction and also performed a Dixie Chicks cover of “Thank Heavens for Dale Evans,” a lively song that gives Harris a chance to show of her signature yodeling.
“For me it is a huge honor to be in a painting that benefits the C.M. Russell Museum. It feels surreal that I get to be a part of it,” said Harris. “And the painting is incredible. I’m just thrilled and pinching myself.”
Harris has been racking up the music awards over the last year including Entertainer of the Year from both Western Music Association and Pro Cowboy Country Artist Association. Her American Idol appearance will put her on an even bigger stage starting with her audition episode that airs this Sunday. “Country definitely influenced who I am and I am really proud to represent this lifestyle to America,” said Harris.
2018 American Idol contestant and country musician Kristyn Harris performed at the C.M. Russell Museum's FIrst Strike auction Friday night. (Photo: Ritz Mill photo)
The Russell: Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum concludes Saturday with the 50th anniversary of The Russell Live Auction. For the experienced collector of Western art, The Russell Live Auction features contemporary art plus significant historical works in a competitive bidding atmosphere.
Artist Tamara Magdalina used 2018 American Idol contestant Kristyn Harris as her muse for "Heading to the Branding" piece, which was auctioned during the C.M. Russell Museum's First Strike auction Friday night. (Photo: C.M. Russell Museum photo)
Angie Windheim, For the Tribune Published 8:00 a.m. MT March 17, 2018 | Updated 2:57 p.m. MT March 19, 2018
(Photos: TRIBUNE PHOTO/RION SANDERS)