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Art al Fresco's Newest Exhibit Brings Art to All!

When I was in 5th grade, my mom went back to get her degree in art. I was submerged into her world of canvases and clay, and our family car often smelled of turpentine as she rushed from class, still covered in paint, to pick us up from school. We took her work, and the sheer immersion in the arts, for granted back then, and now as a mom myself, I sheepishly realized I hadn’t made a huge effort to expose my own kid to all of the things that were just a part of my daily life then. I have a son who appreciates art a little more than most 11-year-old boys do I suspect, mostly because he has a well-rounded exposure of the arts at his school. But he sure doesn’t do back flips or suppress slumped shoulders at the idea of spending a day off of school at a museum.  Can anyone relate?

Then I came across Boerne’s Art al Fresco public art program. Whimsical, large-scale sculptures are chosen each year through a nationwide competition, and around 10 are chosen by a special committee to be temporarily displayed around Boerne for a year. At the end of the exhibit, the City of Boerne has the option to purchase any of the sculptures, and then the process begins again, and a whole new round of amazing works of art will dot the landscape throughout the city.    

The best part is that the sculptures aren’t stuffed in a gallery where kids must be quiet and keep their hands to themselves, so there’s no need to keep a deathly grip on your kid’s wrist lest they knock over a $9,000 vase. These amazing pieces are in completely accessible places like outside the Patrick Heath Public Library, along the beautiful trail system and around downtown Boerne’s Hill Country Mile. They are designed to be touched and admired closely, and we even got to hear from the artists themselves using an app called “Otocast,” which was really interesting. In fact, when I brought my son and a couple of his friends to check out last year’s exhibit, I figured we’d see one or two of the sculptures, then the boys would soon start begging for ice cream over at the Sugar Shack. I was already planning my negotiation: You can have the sundaes, but ONLY if there’s no whining while I hit a few of MY shops along the Mile.

But after seeing the first two sculptures, and listening about them together on Otocast, we marked them on our map, and the kids excitedly asked to visit ALL of the sculptures. Success!! We used that beautiful Spring day to walk along the trails, let the kids navigate the map when we had to hop in the car, and marked every single sculpture off the list. (And while there was no time left for my shopping fix, we still stopped for ice cream to celebrate our completed mission.)

I can’t wait to schedule our day this year since the brand new exhibit was just installed on April 7. And more excited to tell them that their unanimous favorite, the big purple “Bull” over at the Longhorn Café, is one of three that will permanently stay in Boerne.

To add to the excitement, Art al Fresco is hosting a “Take your Selfie Outside” contest on Facebook in conjunction with the Boerne Parks & Recreation “Get Fit Boerne” promo. All you have to do is take a selfie with any (or all!) of the new temporary sculptures, post them on the Art al Fresco Facebook page, and you’re entered to win some great stuff from many of the local shops.

The 10 new temporary sculptures are up and ready, and I encourage you, too, to make a day of it and see them all. You can find a map with pictures at The Patrick Heath Public Library, The Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau on Main Street in front of Walmart, the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce or find it at www.artalfresco.org. And don’t forget to download the Otocast app to round out your experience.

Written by: Kirk Thompson, Guest Blogger