Friday, September 28, 2018

Explosion of art exhibits in Snowbird Country

RVing Snowbirds may leave their chilly hometowns in the winter, but they don't leave behind their thirst for culture and art. Lucky for us, there are numerous exemplary art museums and galleries scattered across America's Sun Belt. Here are just a few.

Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Docent tours highlight Blanton's collection. (Blanton Museum)

Sitting on the University of Texas campus, the Blanton Miuseum showcases art from across the ages -- ancient Greek pottery to abstract expressionism. "With a year-round schedule of traveling exhibitions, art lovers [including Winter Texans] are sure to discover new and old favorites at the Blanton."

With nearly 18,000 works in the collection, in addition to the touring exhibits, there is always exciting works on view that range "from across the ages, from ancient Greek pottery to abstract expressionism."

'Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design' Oct.14-Jan. 6, 2019

'Making Africa' (Blanton Museum)
The touring exhibition, Making Africa, showcases the work of more than "120 artists and designers and illustrates how African design accompanies and fuels economic, social, and political change in the continent."

Organized by the Vitra Design Museum and the Guggenheim Museum BilbaoMaking Africa features work that ranges from "playful to provocative to political, the work often breaks conventional barriers between disciplines and expands the potential of design in the twenty-first century."

Blanton Museum of Art
The University of Texas at Austin
200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-5482
Closed Monday. Thursday admission is FREE

Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Oklahoma Fancy Dancers (
If you are an admirer of American Indian art, and you are in the Pheonix area this winter, take time to visit the Heard Museum and be prepared to experience some of the very best creative and technically excellent work by Native American artists.

The Heard is dedicated to presenting the "stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art."

'Yua: Henri Matisse and the Inner Artic Spirit' - Oct 29- Feb. 3, 2019

Henri Matisse, White Mask on
Black Background
The Henri Matisse exhibition explores "the surprising and little-known story of how Inuit people and culture inspired one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Henri Matisse. Included in the exhibition will be works by Matisse that have not been publicly shown in the United States, and will reunite dozens of stunning Yup’ik (Native Alaskan) mask sets that have been separated for more than a century."

"Matisse is celebrated for his sensuous approach to color and composition. Largely unknown to the general public, however, are his striking black-and-white portraits of Inuit people that were inspired, in part, by a group of Yup’ik (Native Alaskan) masks." The Heard Museum will be the only venue to see these original works of art.

61st Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market - March 2-3, 2019

Jamie Okuma Beaded soft sculpture
The Heard Indian Fair & Market is the largest art market in Arizona. There will be more than 600 Native artists from 116 tribal affiliations in the U.S. and Canada. "A variety of traditional and cutting-edge media dazzle visitors each year."

There are live performances on two stages, storytelling and crafts, book signings, artists' demonstrations and featured artists.

View the 2018 Best of Show Award by Jamie Okuma ( Luiseño/Shoshone-Bannock): Protect, Honor, Cherish, a beaded soft sculpture of a Shoshone mother with her child in a cradleboard.

Heard Museum
2301 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 252-8840
Open daily.

Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

Salvador Dali (

"The Dalí Museum celebrates the life and work of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) and features works from the artist's entire career. The collection includes over 2,000 works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity including 96 oil paintings, many original drawings, book illustrations, prints, sculpture, photos, manuscripts and an extensive archive of documents," according to museum literature.

'Magritte & Dali' - Dec. 15-May 19, 2019

One exhibition not to miss is Magritte and Dali.   It "is a first-of-its-kind special exhibition dedicated to the world’s two most celebrated surrealists, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali. Showcasing carefully curated, exemplary pieces from Magritte’s and Dali’s works, Magritte and Dali pushes back the curtain to reveal what lies beyond the simple appearance of painted images. The two preeminent surrealists opened the mind to an alternative view of the world, constantly challenging reality."

(L) Detail of The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition, Salvador Dali. (R) Detail of L’Ile au tresor (Treasure Island), Rene Magritte. (
Dali Museum
1 Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
 (727) 823-3767
Open daily.

-- Julianne G. Crane
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Oktoberfests abound for RVing snowbirds

Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas - Nov. 2-11, 2018 (Wursfest)
The world's biggest Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany.  Only about two-percent of the crowd attending the Oktoberfest activities, "typically hails from the U.S. And it’s little wonder why, considering the trip would cost the average American roughly $5,000," according to estimates.

Fortunately, in the United States, we are lucky to have dozens, upon dozens of communities hosting their own festivals featuring over-flowing steins of brew, live music, folk dancing, German food and elaborate parades.

Here are a few of the events popular with snowbirding RVers:

'Ales on Rails' Clarksdale, AZ (AlesOnRails)
Arizona Oktoberfest celebrations - Autumn 2018
Check out more than 15 Oktoberfest festivals in Arizona, including options in Phoenix and Tucson.  With almost one million residents of German descent in Arizona, RVers will be able to celebrate German heritage at one of the many Arizona Oktoberfests. Click here.

Oktoberfest / Beer Festivals in South Florida--
Fall 2018
The Broward-Palm Beach New Times has posted a handy guide to 2018's Ocktoberfests and Fall Beer Festivals.
Grovetoberfest, Miami,  (Grovetoberfest)
For a monster festival on Oct. 13, head to Grovetoberfest in Peacock Park, Miami.

For $44 you will have five hours (beginning at 2 p.m.) to taste samples from more than 500 beers at the largest selection of local craft beer anywhere in Florida. There is also a live entertainment stage.

'Wurstfest' in New Braunfels, Texas - Nov. 2-11, 2018
Originally settled by Germans in 1845 the town of New Braunfels. between Austin and San Antonio, revels in the opportunity to celebrate its heritage each year.

“Sprechen die Fun (Do you speak fun)?” is the theme of Wurstfest, which begins its 10-day run on Friday, Nov. 2. The festival includes a carnival, a Bavarian marketplace, food trucks and five music stages.  Wurstfest even has a popular craft beer garden, giving the many craft breweries their time in the Texas sun.

Potter's Creek COE, Canyon Lake, Tex. (Julianne G. Crane)
After your fill of beer and sausage, there is more to see in this Hill Country town. Nearby is the quite walk-able old town. Take a moment to check out the "Dreamy pastries and historic murals in old downtown New Braunfels."

For nearby public RV Camping click on: COE Potter's Creek Campground, Canyon Lake, Tex.  Other camping in New Braunfels' area is available at: Trip Advisor (click here).

For other great Beer Fests around the United States, click on "2018’s Best Places for Oktoberfest Celebrations" for WalletHub's list of best cities for partaking in the epic German festival. The personal-finance website "compared the 100 largest cities across 24 key metrics, ranging from share of German population to number of beer gardens per capita to average price for Oktoberfest celebration ticket." For fun facts and statistics, click on the Oktoberfest infographic.

-- Julianne G. Crane
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