WS: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Corazzi: I began my professional career, in Eastern Pennsylvania, as a French teacher. After 7 years, I became a high school principal and for my last 16 years in public education,  I was school superintendent. In 2000, I left public education to work with my son who had started a software company that dealt with the business side of public education. Initially, I travelled the country doing speaking engagements to promote the company’s software product. Shortly thereafter, the dot com bubble burst and the company downsized, and I became CFO and HR Director until he sold the company seven years ago. Having the opportunity to work with my son, for that many years, was a special time in my life. During that same timeframe, my interest in outdoor photography was heightened when my wife and I began visiting the National Parks out West, i.e. Yellowstone, Teton, Arches, Canyonlands, etc.

WS: How did you become involved with Western Art and Western museums?

Corazzi:  Growing up during the years when Western stories were the mainstay of the movies and television, I developed a natural affinity for the “West.”And in 2002, my wife and I were visiting Yellowstone, on a photography trip, and we happened to meet a husband-and-wife couple who were longtime collectors of Western fine art. And although they were from California, the husband was a longtime Board member of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. As a result, that happenstance meeting in Jackson Hole Wyoming turned into a long-term friendship that ultimately resulted in my joining Board of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. 

WS: You ended up playing a significant role in Oklahoma City. 

Corazzi: Yes, I did. For the past fifty years, the Museum has been home to the largest Western fine art show in the Country – the Prix de West, which also happens to be the largest fund raiser for the Museum. As a member of the Board, I served on the Committee that managed the Prix de West Show/Sale and for the past six years I was chairman of the “Prix de West Committee”. It was a very enjoyable and incredible experience, because in that role – I had the opportunity to regularly interact with over 90 of today’s top Western fine artists. And having that experience resulted in my opportunity to develop close friendships with most of those artists, to work closely with my fellow Committee members in managing the Show and it also allowed me to work, on the “business side” of the Show, with the Museum’s management team and staff.  

WS: Tell us more about how you organized the Prix de West.

Corazzi: Absolutely. First, the quality of the art is superior to most shows, but you have to maintain a mix in terms of subject matter: figurative work vs. landscapes, that kind of thing. And you have to think about what sells. I track every major Western Art sale in the country, keeping an eye on, strengths, weaknesses, patterns. We would ask that artworks be physically on the premises by a certain date so that we could preview every piece and screen them. We didn’t take everything by every artist. It was more than a part-time job; it was a passion.

WS: Your website is filled with your amazing photography. That has to be a passion for you as well. 

Corazzi: I love photography. I do sell a few pieces, but that’s not why I do it. I always took pictures but I began to get serious about it in 2014. I sometimes think that if I had started earlier, I might have tried to be a full-fledged professional. My specialty is Western, wildlife, and landscape, though I shoot pictures wherever I travel. 

WS: You mentioned when we were first chatting that your friendships with artists have had a large impact on your wildlife photos.

Corazzi: I’ve had the chance to go out into the wild with some of today’s finest wildlife artists in the world: Greg Beecham, Lyn St. Clair, Pete Zaluzec, Dustin Van Wechel – to name a few. With those artist friends, I have been to Canada photographing bighorn sheep and I regularly travel to Yellowstone in order to photograph grizzly bears and to the Onaqui Wild Horse Management Area (Utah) in search of wild horses. Having the opportunity to photograph wildlife in their natural environment has been an enjoyable experience – which is enhanced by sharing that experience with some of today’s foremost wildlife artists. 

WS: Do you collect Western and wildlife art? 

Corazzi: Yes, I began collecting Western and wildlife twenty years ago and my collection consisted of works by: Bill Anton Tom Browning, John Coleman, Bill Nebeker, and Tim Shinabarger, Curt Walters, Robert Peters, Z.S. Liang, Russell Case, Carrie Ballantyne and Logan Hagege. Other artists whose work I have collected include Joe Bohler,Tim Cox, Richard Loffler, Paul Moore, Scott Powers, Mian Situ, and Jim Wilcox. However, several years ago, my wife and I decided to downsize our home and move to Arizona. As a result, I have been deaccessioning my collection.

WS: You do some writing for the Western art magazines as well.

Corazzi: I’ve written for Art of the West magazine, and I do one or two articles a year for Western Art Collector magazine. My next piece, for Western Art Collector, comes out in August. It will tell the story of renowned cowboy artist Tom Browning.

WS: Any thoughts on Western Spirit?

Corazzi: It is a wonderful new museum with great potential. And I would hope, as a new member of the Museum’s Board, that my experiences and the knowledge – which I have gained from serving on the Board of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, from serving as Chairman of the Prix de West Committee and from my extensive involvement in the world of Western fine art – will help contribute, in some small way, to the ongoing development growth of Western Spirit Museum. 

WS: Any upcoming travels with camera planned?

Corazzi: This year, I have trips planned to Turkey, Greece and also to Vietnam. These are countries which I have never visited, and I am looking forward to photographing the magnificent landscapes and unique features of these exotic lands.

WS: We look forward to seeing the pictures!