ArtsArts Events

The Briscoe Kicks Off 2023 on the Wild Side


For a beautiful view of 2023, mark your calendars to look west and visit the Briscoe Western Art Museum. From the heart of San Antonio, the museum known for spotlighting the art and beauty of the American West is starting the year in a wild way with its free Wild West Wildlife Festival, as well as a weekend of beastly programming that features the most famous bear in the world to close out the fantastic Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life In The Wild exhibition. Also included are free, hands-on educational programs, free locals days and the amazing art of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Calendar highlights include:

Free Wild West Wildlife Festival

Highlighting the animals and natural beauty that put the “wild” in the wild West, the Wild West Wildlife Festival celebrates the flora and fauna that define the West and inspire Western art. The Briscoe hosts a beastly day of animal fun, education and hands-on crafts for all ages.

Activities highlight the wildlife that calls the West home, with a focus on Texas habitats and creatures great and small. The free festival features art, storytelling and more to inspire everyone to explore the nature all around them and includes free admission to the museum Jan. 21, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Thomas D. Mangelsen

Thomas D. Mangelsen:  A Life In The Wild

Western Art celebrates the American West, including the wild places and wildlife that grace the land. Through Jan. 29, the Briscoe features 40 of the renowned nature photographer’s most resonant photographs in Thomas D. Mangelsen-A Life In The Wild, taking viewers on a journey across the West and around the globe.

One of the most prolific nature photographers of our time, Mangelsen is an award-winning photographer whose images have been exhibited internationally and published in iconic mediums such as National Geographic, Good Morning America and 60 Minutes.

Meet Jackson Hole Grizzly Bear 399

Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m.

Join us as Todd Wilkinson, author of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek: An Intimate Portrait of 399, the Most Famous Bear of Greater Yellowstone, talks about the most famous bear in the world, Bear 399. One of the oldest grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Bear 399 is the world’s most famous brown bear mother. Wilkinson will also discuss the iconic Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The event is free for museum members. Tickets are $14 and are available online.

San Antonio DreamWeek:  The Briscoe Presents Art In The Wild & Write In The Wild

Jan. 29, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Discover nature in the heart of San Antonio with San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea Vocab Sanderson in the museum’s McNutt Sculpture Garden. Everyone will commune with nature and work hands-on with clay sculpting, sketch drawing or watercolor painting to explore DreamWeek’s themes of representation and identification. Guests will then be immersed in Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life In The Wild for the last day of the exhibition. After presenting original poetry inspired by Mangelsen’s images, Sanderson will invite guests to choose an animal for their own poetic inspiration. The event is free with museum admission.

The Art of the Rodeo:  Student Western Art Competition Exhibit

On display Jan. 5 – Feb. 5, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s Student Western Art Competition Exhibition fills the Clingman Education Gallery and is included with general admission. Featuring the 12 winning entries in the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s Western Art Competition, the pop-up exhibit showcases the best work from the annual contest that includes 183 South Texas school districts across 54 counties, as well as those attending a private school or home-schooled in one of the eligible counties.

Each of the works showcases an appreciation of western heritage, which the Briscoe and the Rodeo happily share. “Horse Talk” a colored pencil drawing by Katherine Ferno, a student at Dripping Springs High School, is featured as “Best in Show”. Enjoy the rodeo exhibition during regular museum hours and be sure to stop by when you’re downtown for the Rodeo’s Western Heritage Weekend, Feb. 4.

First Sundays Free for Local Residents

To show how friendly the West is and to thank the San Antonio community for its continued support, the Briscoe Western Art Museum makes the first Sunday of each month “Locals Day”, greeting locals with free general admission. Bexar County residents can enjoy the Briscoe’s Locals Days through 2023, with free admission on Feb. 5, Mar. 5, Apr. 2, May 7, June 4, July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3, Oct. 8, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3. As always, children 12 and under receive free admission to the Briscoe every day, as do active duty members of the military, making the Briscoe a terrific spot for local families to enjoy any time.

Free Education Series Offers Hands-on Learning Fun

Families and visitors of all ages can learn about the American West in the Briscoe’s free monthly education series, Full STEAM Ahead. Learners of all ages work together and learn about the American West by engaging in hands-on, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) learning experiences. Each activity ties back to the Briscoe’s art and artifacts, bringing the West to life in a new way.

From transportation and weather to animals, astronomy and engineering, each program explores an aspect of life in the West to engage and inspire learning. Full STEAM Ahead is included with general admission and is free for museum members. 2023 Full Steam Ahead dates include:

  • Jan. 21 (Wild West Wildlife Festival)
  • Feb. 18
  • Mar. 18 (Part of the Briscoe’s Spring Break Roundup)
  • Apr. 15
  • May 20
  • June 17
  • July 15
  • Aug. 19
  • Sept. 16
  • Oct. 21 (Briscoe’s 10th Birthday)
  • Nov. 11 (Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival)
  • Dec. 15

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is located at 210 W. Market Street. More information and tickets are available here.

Feature photo: Anouk Krantz’s American Cowboys, 2021.