Briscoe Western Art Museum
San Antonio, TX
The Briscoe Western Art Museum, named in honor of the late Texas Governor, Dolph Briscoe,Jr. and his wife, Janey Slaughter Briscoe, preserves and interprets the art, history, and culture of the American West through engaging exhibitions, educational programs, and public events reflective of the region’s rich traditions and shared heritage.
Located along the San Antonio River Walk, its campus is inclusive of the restored historic 1930’s art deco/neo classical former San Antonio Public Library building which now serves as the Museum space with nine galleries on three levels. Highlights include Pancho Villa’s saddle, a diorama of the Alamo, an authentic Chuck Wagon, and works by Frederic Remington and Taos Society of Artists. The new, three-story Jack Guenther Pavilion hosts private events and public programs along with the outdoor McNutt Courtyard & Sculpture Garden.
Visitors to the museum are able to walk to the Alamo, Convention Center, Hemisphere Plaza,the Tower of the Americas, River City Mall, the Children’s Museum and Magik Theatre, LaVillita, the Arneson River Theater, Main Plaza and San Fernando Cathedral.
UDF provided two loans to the Briscoe Western Art Museum totaling $12.5 million. The loans were provided at below market interest rates and came with other advantageous features as well.
The project site is located in a severely distressed, major urban census tract in San Antonio, TX with a poverty rate of 37.5%, a benchmarked median family income that is only 61% of the benchmark median family income and an unemployment rate that is three times the national average. The area is designated by the CDFI fund as an Economic Development Hot Zone. The property is located within the San Antonio, TX Empowerment Zone as well as an SBA designated HubZone. These exhibits of severe economic distress in this community indicate a great need for economic development in this community.
Therehabilitation of this historic structure and its transformation to a western art museum came with numerous benefits the community. The one-time economic impact of the construction of the Briscoe Museum was estimated to be $33.3million and 361 jobs and the combined annual economic impact of the operation of the museum and tourism traffic is $9.6 million and 126 jobs. Many of the jobs created are accessible to low income persons and residents of low-income communities which provide much needed jobs in an area with unusually high unemployment rates. The community has seen benefits from the rehabilitation of an underused/underutilized structure which results in an increase of safety and appearance of the local neighborhood.
The building overhaul and museum opening contributed to the ongoing redevelopment of the downtown area. By drawing additional tourist dollars to the downtown San Antonio area, the museum has fueled growth in neighboring businesses, restaurants and hotels. Its success has made the investment in this underserved community more attractive for other lenders and investors who may have been hesitant to invest previously.
The museum provides cultural and educational opportunities for local low-income residents.Within the museum exists space for permanent and travelling exhibits with interactive features,a learning center and library that hosts live re-enactments and story-telling, a museum shop and sales gallery.