The Briscoe Western Art Museum officially opened its McNutt Courtyard and Sculpture Garden to the public today, completing the opening of the museum in the old Hertzberg Circus Museum building downtown, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Briscoe Executive Director Steven Karr says the sculpture garden will be an oasis in the heart of downtown.


  "The Courtyard is about a third of an acre," Karr said.  "It has a lot of really wonderful western contemporary sculpture, from some of the nation's great artists."


  Karr says the courtyard is also the newest public park in the city's downtown.


  "It's open and free to the public during operating hours," he said.  "This is an opportunity to create another green space in the middle of downtown San Antonio."


  Karr foresees tourists slipping into the Courtyard to relax, coming up from the Riverwalk or down from the Alamo, and he hopes they will be intrigued by the museum and decide to come in to check it out.


  The Briscoe is one of the most complete collections of western artifacts and depository of western history in the United States.  Organizers envisioned it as a tourist attraction for people who have been to the Alamo and want to know more about the period.