First Friday Fun Awaits

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Image courtesy of Steve Taylor

The work of Steve Taylor, artist, musician and cowboy poet, will be featured at the Artists of the Rim Gallery during November, with a reception for the artist and entertainment by Taylor and the Mountain Saddle Band from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5.

First Friday fun for Nov. 5 on Historic Main Street in Payson will find a variety of events presented by merchants and others.

At the Community Presbyterian Church enjoy a benefit dinner hosted by its Child Learning Center from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Spaghetti and all the fixings will be served with entertainment and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus to help raise funds for the Prison Ministries Fellowship Angel Tree program. Through the program, the children of residents in prison are “adopted” for the holidays. Proceeds will help the Child Learning Center’s pre-K class buy gifts for their adopted brothers and sisters.

Call Carolyn at (928) 474-2059 for more information.

At Bootleg Alley Art & Antiques buy brats from the Kiwanis and enjoy the music of Brandon Shepard from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Down The Street Art Gallery is kicking off the holiday season with its 2nd Annual Payson High School Photography Show. Judges Bernadette Heath, Jon Gunzel and Down The Street’s own Amy Anderson will select first, second and third place winners, with gallery guests choosing a People’s Choice winner. The winners will be announced at 7:45 p.m.

The students’ photographs will be on display and for sale the entire month of November.

Anderson will be taking pictures all during First Friday festivities in her special photo booth. The photos will be sold for $5 each, with proceeds used to buy Christmas gifts for children in need. With the purchase of your photo you will get a chance to win a piece of art donated by some of the gallery artists, but you must be present at 7:45 p.m. to win

Visitors to Artists of the Rim Gallery’s First Friday event in November along Payson’s Main Street are in store for a rare and exciting evening when Steve Taylor, artist, musician and cowboy poet will be guest.

Taylor will be displaying his western art in the gallery and music will be provided by Mountain Saddle Band with Taylor playing the harmonica and singing. The band, which also includes Rusty Weiss on bass guitar and vocals and Stephen Harrington on rhythm guitar and vocals, will provide a unique blend of mostly old and some new cowboy and gospel songs with a cowboy touch, along with Taylor’s cowboy poetry to enhance the feel of the music.

As a child growing up in Rockford, Ill. in the 40s, life and times were simple – no TV, video games or computers – just radio and a vivid imagination. For Taylor, it wasn’t long before he found that drawing and singing got him a lot of attention. His best friends were a pencil and paper and, fortunately, his parents were very supportive.

When Taylor was 10, his family lived in Arizona for a year — a short, big adventure for him — which he never forgot. He drew mountains and cactus and horses; the West was in his blood. After completing high school back in Illinois, Taylor returned to Arizona, riding horseback in downtown Scottsdale and tying up at Lute’s Pharmacy for a soda — great weekend fun for a young dude who was “all hat and no cattle,” as Taylor puts it.

Taylor went back to Illinois to college then earning a living and raising a family, put his art on hold until a commercial art firm in Phoenix hired him as art director. There he met his friend and mentor, the late Dick Axtell, a western artist who introduced him to the world of watercolor. His western watercolors will be on sale at Artists of the Rim Gallery during the month of November.

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The Mountain Saddle Band performs at the Artist of the Rim Gallery from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5.

Art and music is only a part of the result of Taylor’s love of the West. He has developed a fascination with the modern cowboy, Native Americans and ranch life in general. In his art, Taylor captures special and everyday moments that tell stories of today’s West. His poetry and song writing will have you dreaming of the “good old days”.

Taylor and his wife JoAnn live 12 miles west of Show Low in the tall ponderosa pines where ranching is still a way of life. He says, “I’m thankful every day for the beauty of God’s creation, good friends, family and a loving wife who never let me quit painting.”

Make your way to Artists of the Rim on Payson’s Main Street from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5 for great art, music and refreshments.

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