The Briscoe Western Art Museum just added another gallery and this one is outdoors. The grand opening of the one-third acre McNutt Courtyard on the east end of the Briscoe’s Market Street museum on Thursday morning unveiled eight western sculptures.
I spoke to the museum’s Executive Director Steven Karr about the process for finding the sculptures.
“It was really trying to find pieces that were emblematic of the American West,” Karr said.
Emblematic, but, Karr hopes, not necessarily what you’d expect.
“It was, I think, also an opportunity to challenge the public’s notion of what Western Art is" he said. "Western art isn’t just cowboy art; it’s so much more.”
Two of the pieces were created by renowned western artist Sandy Scott specifically for the courtyard, and others were purchased already completed. Aside from the outdoor art, the space itself is impressive. Karr said that was part of their reasoning.
"It’s also an opportunity to provide what we believe is a contemplative space for the public,” he said.
The courtyard stretches out beneath several older live oaks, just now putting on their spring leaves. Limestone mixes with a mostly native plant landscape, and with blooming flowers. In the midst of a bustling downtown, it’s an oasis. Karr said that providing this space was also an invitation to visitors to come inside the museum as well.
“It’s an opportunity too, to bring some of the character of the museum itself in the old Central Library Building, and bring it to the outdoors,” Karr said.
As you may know, the Briscoe fills the first San Antonio Public Library building. Those more recent to San Antonio may remember it as the Hertzberg Circus Museum. That building, and the expansive new museum addition back up to the River Walk.
It's free to tour the courtyard and it will be open the same as the museum hours: Tuesday-Thursday form 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- For more on the Briscoe Western Art Museum visit: www.briscoemuseum.org