Motorcycle crash sidelines museum director, yet the show still goes on at Museum of Western Art

Darrell Beauchamp, MOWA's executive director, is recovering but art is still being made and loved at the Kerrville museum.

Saturday was one of those days that Darrell Beauchamp would love to see — a showcase of teaching artists at Kerrville's Museum of Western Art.

For Beauchamp, transforming MOWA into a world-class showcase also means vigorous community engagement to expose many to the wonders of art.

The Art as a Hobby event at MOWA proved to be a big success, but everyone associated with the museum noticed the one person missing from the day — Beauchamp.


On Aug. 20, Beauchamp purchased a dream — an Indian motorcycle. He was 40 minutes into his first ride when an animal — either a feral hog or deer — hit him as he was going an estimated 60 MPH.

Beauchamp has been in a San Antonio intensive care unit recovering from major injuries for the last week. On Friday, he scratched out a description of his wreck on Facebook, along with a selfie.

"I still don't know what hit me or what I hit," Beauchamp said. "The next thing I know, I'm looking up at trees and at the (Department of Public Safety officers) and the paramedics looking at me."

Fortunately, Beauchamp wore a helmet and riding clothing, but he still suffered a broken sternum and seven shattered ribs. Some of the ribs were replaced via a new procedure using porcelain and titanium.

For those in attendance on Saturday, Beauchamp's absence was considerable.

"We need him back," said Jason Scull, the museum's sculpture artist in residence. "He's a significant impact here."

Sculptor Jason Scull works on a piece during Saturday's Art as a Hobby event at the Museum of Western Art.

Over the last two years, Beauchamp has added to the permanent collection, improved the quality of the shows and helped MOWA be named one of the top five Western art museums in the U.S. by True West magazine.

However, the show had to go on Saturday.

"We all held our breath when we heard the news," said Darla Pfiester, who has worked at the museum for 25 years and is currently the education coordinator. "But we all know what we're doing. We hurt for him but everyone stepped up."

Pfiester said without Beauchamp present, she worried some artists might not want to attend, but they were all there on Saturday. The museum was filled with young people, taking their aim at sculpture, water color and leather work.

Scull, who has spent the last six years sculpting bronzes and other pieces at MOWA, was surrounded by five people, including four boys following his lead. For more than 35 years, Scull has been casting bronzes — usually Western-themed. On this day, he was carefully working a bust of a Native American man.

His apprentices at the table were working on various projects, including a sculpture of Winnie The Pooh.

Kerrville's Anne Dohmann savored the opportunity to spend time with Scull and talk about the process of sculpting. Dohmann was sculpting a jackrabbit.

"I just love it, and Jason is cool to talk to," Dohmann said.

Just down the hall, John and Edith Maskey were giving a demonstration of watercolor. The two painters are from Comfort and have both held a long association and fondness for the museum.

The couple was painting and teaching to anyone who wanted to stop by. The Maskey's works have been on display at the museum in years past, and the two said they're looking forward to seeing Beauchamp return, especially for next month's Roundup — one of MOWA's biggest fundraisers of the year.

Comfort's Edith Maskey demonstrates a water color painting on Saturday.

In another part of the museum, Jack Thorn of Kerrville's JDS Leather worked with two teenage boys on the intricacies of pounding leather. One of the boys was getting tips from Thorn on how to refine a keychain.

Even without Beauchamp's guidance, the museum was in good hands with volunteers and art lovers, but all who were there said they couldn't wait to see Beauchamp get back to work.

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