Steve and Melissa Todd, of south Tempe, have been collecting western art for over a decade. Upon walking into their house, you’ll think you’ve just walked into a art gallery, filled with western oil watercolor prints and paintings.
Steve grew up surrounded by paintings of the southwest, watching his grandmother, Anna Miller Corbell Todd, paint what she loved most.
“She studied with some pretty good painters,” Steve said. “That was my educational journey; just learning about how her art developed.”
The Todds grew up in Arizona, with Steve growing up on a farm between McClintock Drive and Price Road. They have two children, now in their 30s, who attended Kyrene schools and Corona del Sol High School.
Growing up in the south Tempe community, Melissa worked as a teacher in the Kyrene School District for 14 years, she said, and has a passion for the community Kyrene has created.
This year, at the annual Taste of Kyrene event, one lucky person went home with a signed, authentic western print by well-known artist William Mathews, donated by the Todds.
“Some of these prints are really great prints, they are professional framed, but we don’t have a place for them all,” Steve said. “So, I said, ‘yeah, let’s give back to the community.’”
William Mathews is still active and one of the highly regarded water-colorists of western prints, Steve added, and is now involved in invitational art exhibitions.
“We told MarJean (Steinkamp) to keep us on the list, because next year if we have something to donate it would be great; to us it’s a great way of giving back,” Melissa said.
Steinkamp is a member at large of the Kyrene Foundation who was integral in setting up both Taste of Kyrene events.
“It’s something that’s true to my heart that’s for the children and community,” Melissa said. “I’d like to see the Taste of Kyrene grow because it really helps the school district.”