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 city has been unhappy with the amount of foot-traffic the historic area gets and multiple studies have been done to try and address shortcomings. City council will be discussing the request for proposals that the Department for Culture & Creative Development has devised to encourage more visitors.
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.
It is said that New Yorkers don’t go see the Statue of Liberty -- they just take it for granted. With that as premise, I took you to the River Walk in a recent report so that others could remind you how wonderful the River Walk is. Those to whom I spoke expressed too much enthusiasm for only one report, so here's a follow up.
"I’m Catherine Perez, we just recently moved to the San Antonio area from Florida."
I asked Catherine what she thought of the River Walk in its holiday finery.
San Antonio’s largest single piece of art has many fans, both local, and international. It's the San Antonio River, downtown. A pan flute fills the air with South American magic at the River Center Mall lagoon, where the barges circle and head out on their circumnavigation of the river's big horseshoe bend.
I went down the other night to see what people thought about how the city dresses up its River Walk for the Holiday Season.
"My name is Justin Self, and I’ve been having fun just walking around and seeing all the pretty lights."
Paseo del Rio officials are checking their lists for decorations and lighting on 26 river barges that have to be ready by Friday for the big holiday river parade.
Decorators in the Paseo marina below downtown San Antonio are working to string lights, build stages, and cover woodwork and electrical cords with layers of cotton that will make the barges look like they went through snow.
The bats that fly out from under the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin are a popular visitor attraction, but San Antonio now has its own bat population large enough to show off along the San Antonio Riverwalk.
The Paseo del Rio Association, the San Antonio River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Bat Conservation International are hosting Bat Loco, an informative series of bat walks, now through mid-August to raise awareness of the importance of bats in our ecosystem.
One of San Antonio’s River ducks is the subject of a city investigation this week, and a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
The City's Animal Care Services has several videotapes from Riverwalk restaurants, and is searching for those responsible for the death of George the Duck.
Considering ducks can live into their 20s, George was young. The duck had lived for only two years, all of it on the San Antonio River, when he was abducted last week and allegedly beaten to death by two men somewhere along the Riverwalk.