The Briscoe Museum of Western Art "Voices of the American West’s" first speaker appears Thursday, October 2nd, and his resume is about as odd as it gets. He’s a well known creator of jewelry. He’s a Colorado Rancher. And he was an Olympic Athlete.
“Bill Bradley and I were on the same Olympic Team in 1964,” he said.
He was even a Senator for two six-year terms. Have you guessed who he is? He says you can call him Ben.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum has a new offering. It’s a distinguished Lecture series to be held the first Thursday of the next three months. I spoke to Jennifer Chowning, who is their Senior Head of Education and Programs.
“It’s entitled 'Voices of the West' and we are bringing in three distinguished speakers to explore some facet of the American West experience.”
They start off next week with a bang.
“In October on the second, we are inviting Ben Nighthorse Campbell.”
He’s been an Olympic Athlete, jeweler, rancher and Senator.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum is inviting the public to their art-strewn courtyard. The party is called Summer Sol Fest, and as for party places, the McNutt Courtyard off of the Briscoe is well-positioned.
“We now have several sculptures out there, it’s a beautiful space," said the Briscoe’s Jennifer Wijangco.
And it's not just beautiful; it's shady. Massive oaks cool the courtyard and the western art that’s positioned all through it.
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.
The newest River Walk tile mural was unveiled on Tuesday morning and it celebrates the story of water in San Antonio.
"Contrary to popular belief, oil isn’t the lifeblood of this city, it’s water," said Briscoe Western Art Museum’s Executive Director Steven Karr. "So it’s an important story to tell."
To tell that story, the Briscoe collaborated with San Antonio Water Systems and artists from Dunis Studios and decided to continue a long-standing San Antonio tradition of creating and installing large tile murals along the River Walk.
That water tank behind the Arneson River Theater stage marks San Antonio’s oldest pump station. Just to the west of it is the brand new Briscoe Museum. The area between them is the beautiful McNutt Courtyard.
As an entrance to the River Walk, it’s a prime place to carry on a San Antonio art tradition — a painted tile mural.
"It’s completely in the W.P.A. tradition," said tile expert and author Susan Toomey Frost talking about the Works Progress Administration tile murals installed as part of the old River Walk. She cites a long tradition.