Remembering Glenna Goodacre

Santa Fe sculptor Glenna Goodacre dies » Albuquerque Journal


A True Texas Artist

Occasioned by the sad news of Glenna Goodacre’s passing this past week, the Briscoe Western Art Museum pays homage to a spectacular artist. Her work highlighted many of the overlooked figures in history and captured moments of true joy.  Her art is a permanent fixture of the museum collection.

Born in 1939 in Lubbock, Texas, Goodacre found her passion for art-making as a young woman seeking to stand out to the vastly male-dominated genre. Throughout her career, she was selected for several prominent national projects, including the well-known Vietnam Women’s Memorial installed in Washington, D.C., in 1993, and her 1998 eight-foot standing portrait of Ronald W. Reagan, unveiled at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Her art also appears in public, private, municipal, and museum collections throughout the U.S. 

The Briscoe is home to Goodacre’s The Basket Dance, which greets visitors at the museum’s entrance. Her bas-relief sculpture for the Sacagawea coin was the first piece of U.S. currency to feature a woman. Goodacre was a gifted sculptor who had the ability to capture genuine emotion in her work.  Her memory, like her sculptures, will live on. 

Glenna Goodacre
(American, 1939‒2020)
The Basket Dance 1987 Bronze

The Basket Dance is a tradition of the Hopi Tribe (Arizona). The women chant while presenting baskets to the four directions of the compass, lifting them, then lowering them. Their movements are designed to bring cold, wet weather so crops will grow the next spring.

In a statement released from Board Chair, John T. Montford and wife Debbie:

“Glenna has occupied a unique and important standing in the registry of great American Artists. In particular, many of her bronzes represent an insightful look at the evolution and character of the American West.

Her contributions to American art, whether the impressive bronze statue of President Ronald Reagan, the legendary relief of Sacagawea on the US dollar coin, or the classic portrayals of the American experience with her works displayed at Texas Tech University are a lasting tributes to her talent and skill as an iconic American artist. Her bronzes welcome guests at the entryway to the Briscoe Western Art Museum. She touched every part of the country with her works, and built a lasting and loyal following.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Glenna. She and Mike have been personal and professional friends for many years. She was likable, always with a contagious smile and dynamic personality. She will be missed.”

This blog entry was written by our Exhibitions Manager, Jason Kirkland. Jason has been at the Briscoe for 1.5 years and his primary focus is developing and implementing the Briscoe’s exhibition schedule and the rotation of works throughout the permanent galleries.