Frontera Audubon announces inaugural art exhibition inside the Skaggs House

The Historic Skaggs House, once filled with family and friends, is now filled with fine art. Frontera Audubon Society presents its inaugural exhibition: Au Naturale: Celebrating the Tradition of the Nude in Art, on display through May 15th.

“This is a chance for the public to experience breathtaking pieces by local artists against the backdrop of this unfinished, beautiful structure, The Skaggs House,” Executive Director Sarah Williams said.

The public is invited to an artists’ reception on Thursday, May 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free to the public. Au Naturale will be on view in the Skaggs House Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. for a small fee until May 15th.

Au Naturale is a group exhibition that focuses on the nude human form, presented by South Texas College’s Visual Arts and Music department in partnership with The University of Texas Pan-American’s art program. The exhibit displays works in various media such as drawing, painting, and sculpture.

“Much of the artwork in the exhibit came out of a weekly practice of a live nude drawing class at UTPA,” said Phyllis Evans, Visual Arts and Music Department Chair at South Texas College. “Art educators in the area have come together for the practice and discipline of figure drawing, and I am pleased it has brought the whole academic community together.”

Evans said the exhibition also marks a milestone for South Texas College. The administration recently granted permission to the art department to conduct live nude drawing and painting classes as part of students’ studies.

“It’s about academics and the importance of having a drawing discipline. As educators, we have the same common mission and this exhibit is evidence of that,” she said.

Luis Contreras, STC faculty member who helped coordinate the exhibit, said the purpose of bringing the works to the Mid-Valley is to continue to showcase the arts in Weslaco.

“We want to promote the Arts Initiative of Weslaco and the efforts to develop an Arts Center in the downtown area and support the cultural arts approach by the Frontera Audubon Society,” he said.

Au Naturale was first exhibited at the South Texas College Art Gallery this past February, and has now taken on new life in the Skaggs House, Contreras said.

“This is an opportunity to bring a quality exhibit to the mid-valley. Exhibiting Au Naturale throughout the home, while the renovation is in progress, will not only bring an entirely different aspect to the space aesthetically, but will expose a certain nakedness of the structure itself,” he added.

The Skaggs House is a Spanish colonial revival style residence, built in 1927, and was designed for owners C. Lester and Florence Richardson Skaggs by prolific Weslaco architect R. Newell Waters.  The house remained in the Skaggs family until 1992 when it was donated to the Frontera Audubon Society.  The home was designated a Texas Historic Landmark in 1994.

Frontera Audubon Society is an urban nature preserve on 15 acres, including trails, wetlands, butterfly gardens, a visitors’ center, gift shop, and an historic orchard and home. The 501©3 nonprofit organization has been in existence for over 30 years and offers opportunities for all people to enjoy nature and birding. For more information, call 956-968-3275.

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