Artist Penny Thomas Simpson writes "This Pony has a patriotic theme without the usual red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes motif. What is more American than the apple? Hot dogs, baseball and APPLE pie… I rest my case.” Working primarily in watercolors and colored pencils, Penny has won a variety of national awards for her still-life paintings – thus the exquisite realism of the apples adorning her Pony’s flanks.
About the Trail of Painted Ponies
In the history of art, the horse has been an enduring source of inspiration, presented by painters and sculptors with endless variation and invention. The Trail of Painted Ponies has continued and updated this tradition, while adding a new chapter.
It began in the summer of 2000. A major sculptor was commissioned to create a life-size horse that was cast in a durable resin blend. A call went out to the artistic community around the Southwest, inviting famous as well as emerging artists to submit designs that imaginatively celebrated the creative spirit. And the response was overwhelming, with results that ranged from the delightful to the breathtaking.
The Public Art Project
Corporations, small businesses, individuals and organizations were then invited to select their favorite designs for sponsorship, and 120 Ponies were painted. The magnificent artwork was exhibited around New Mexico, and citizens and visitors were encouraged to saddle up and take a "trail drive." The Ponies brought joy and delight into the lives of thousands of people, and their artistic excellence generated rave reviews in newspapers and magazines nationally.
A New Breed of Fundraiser
In the fall of 2001, the Ponies were rounded up and sold through live and internet Trails End Auctions, as well as direct negotiations. The majority of the proceeds benefited youth, arts, social, cultural, animal and environmental non-profit organizations, and more than a half-million dollars was "ponied up." Painted Ponies now reside in homes, businesses, art galleries and museums across the country.
Back in the Saddle
The tale of the Trail does not end here. What started in New Mexico as a daring and noble art adventure is growing. During the summer of 2002, a fresh herd of Painted Ponies grazed in lobbies and parks across New Mexico, and once again, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for nonprofit organizations.
In fulfillment of its name, The Trail of Painted Ponies is now expanding to new ranges, partnering with communities, organizations and companies around the country on Painted Pony projects, carrying the magnificent spirit that is the horse into new dimensions, and giving us wonderfully original artwork we would not have seen otherwise.