20 Years of Night of Artists

Coming up on its twentieth year, the Briscoe Western Art Museum’s signature event Night of Artists predates the museum. Originally conceived and coordinated by a small group of devoted Western art collectors, Night of Artists held its inaugural event in local hotel ballrooms. From there, it moved to The Skyroom at San Antonio’s University of the Incarnate Word.

Volunteers who became involved with the show early on found themselves learning quickly about the process of coordinating a fine art show. These individuals, many of whom have maintained close ties with the museum, acted as curators, art handlers, and preparators during the shows. Because the event took place over a single weekend, the volunteers unpacked and hung the artwork prior to the Friday night sale and repackaged the work on Saturday for buyers to take their newly acquired treasures home with them.

The show first took place on the Briscoe Western Art Museum campus in 2012, which again predated the opening of the museum-proper. The caliber of the artwork brought into the show set the tone for the museum that was under construction and maintained a similar guiding point of inspiration—The West. Given the West’s diversity geographically, socially, and historically, the work presented was (and still is) also diverse. Artists were invited to participate with the concept of diversity in mind. The show included artists from various regions and nations—men and women from different backgrounds, expressing their inspiration in different images and media, telling their stories in different ways, yet united by that one point of inspiration—the West.

Night of Artists, in many ways, laid the foundation for the Briscoe and all it has become. From its early beginnings to the present, the show has grown into a truly beautiful and fitting celebration of Western art and culture. While we look back fondly on Night of Artists over the last nineteen years and the way it has ingrained itself into the heart of San Antonio, we also look forward with anticipation to what the next twenty years will bring.

This blog entry was written by our Curator of Collections, Ryan Badger. Ryan has been at the Briscoe for two years and his primary focus as Curator of Collections is bringing the stories of the Briscoe to life through the curation of the collection.