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Briscoe Western Art Museum To Celebrate Black Cowboys And Challenge Outdated Myths

Mark Maggiori, Once Upon a Time, Oil on linen.jpg
Briscoe Western Art Museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum celebrates its seventh birthday this year. The centerpiece of that celebration will be the unveiling of a new painting that museum officials believe will symbolize their objective to illustrate an accurate history of the Old West.

CEO Michael Duchemin said the Briscoe exists in part to challenge the myths Hollywood perpetuated.

“The goal of Hollywood is to present dreams and fantasies," he said. "The real West is a different story.

Larry Callies.png
Nick Simonite
Larry Callies

Duchemin said the Briscoe tries to tell that story through art. On. Sat., Oct. 24, they will unveil a painting by Mark Maggiori.

Mark took it upon himself to create a painting that represents Texas cowboys who are African-American and to offer that as a gift to the Briscoe to begin a collection where we can focus on being more inclusive,” he said.

The painting is just a first step. The Briscoe plans to expand the effort through other artists, including the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers, a group of reenactors representing African-American soldiers who served in the American West and after the Civil War period,” he said.

“We've got a really terrific program with a curator and founder of the Black Cowboy Museum in Rozenberg, Texas," Duchemin added. "Larry Callies will be talking about his experience growing up as a Texas cowboy and his experience with rodeo.”

Callies was a nationally-rated championship high school rodeo star as a young man.

“And we've also got Clifton Fifer, who's a cowboy storyteller and poet,” he said. “He's a fourth generation Texan who has really taken the cowboy life and presented it not through visual arts, but through storytelling and through poetry, singing and dancing.”

Duchemin expressed optimism over the new endeavor.

“It's really opening a door to the new beginning and gives us a place where we can be more inclusive and be more diverse in our own storytelling,” he said.

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii