The Trail of Painted Ponies originated in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2001 as a public art project that invited one-hundred and twenty artists to let their imaginations run wild, and creatively transform life-size fiberglass horse sculptures into original works of art. The dazzling results were displayed around the entire state of New Mexico where they were enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. The Painted Ponies received rave reviews in the national media and were featured in a documentary film that aired on PBS stations around the country.
When sold, they generated close to one million dollars for different arts, cultural, youth, animal, social and environmental organizations.
What distinguished The Trail of Painted Ponies from many other animal-themed public art projects was the quality of the artwork. The horse form was created exclusively for The Trail by a nationally acclaimed sculptor. A curatorial effort was made to attract the very best established as well as emerging artists to the project. And a special outreach was made to include Native American artists.
Since that time The Trail of Painted Ponies has expanded to new ranges. It has moved its headquarters to Carefree, Arizona. It has created new, scaled-down horse forms for artists to paint. It has mounted a series of national art competitions as a way of broadening artistic involvement. It has introduced a line of high-quality, Painted Pony figurines, inspired by the original Painted Ponies, into the marketplace that has rapidly become one of the most popular collectibles in America. It has entered into licensing agreements with select companies to produce Painted Pony merchandise. It has continued to support philanthropic organizations around the country.
For all that it has done to honor the inspirational power and versatility of the horse as a "sculptural canvas" for creative expression, The Trail of Painted Ponies is proud to have played a part in the development of a new American art movement: Pony Expressionism.