By Michele Robertson
Carlsbad residents may not know that one of the country’s most famous sculptors has four works on display at our local museum and arts park. Situated at the entryway of the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center (CMAC) stand three statues by internationally acclaimed sculptor,
. On a nearby wall you can view a bronze bas relief.
A native of Lubbock TX, Goodacre passed away of natural causes at her home in Santa Fe NM on April 13, 2020, at the age of 80. Among her most famous works are the Vietnam Women’s Memorial which can be seen along The Mall in Washington, DC, the Irish Memorial at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, and the obverse side of the Sacagawea $1 coin.
Goodacre graduated from Colorado College and studied at the Art Students League of New York. Even though she made her home in Santa Fe, she kept her Texas roots. She has a street named after her in Lubbock, and several of her sculptures grace the campus of Texas Tech University.
Goodacre has received many awards and acknowledgments for her art. She was inducted into the West Texas Hall of Fame, named a “Notable New Mexican”, and inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Awards from Allied Artists of America, the National Academy of Design, National Sculpture Society, and the Knickerbocker Artists’ gold medal for Distinguished Achievement in American Art are just a few recognitions she as been honored with.
Julia Heaton, committee chair for the Fine Arts Acquisition and Vetting committee, shared some of the history of the Goodacre sculptures that reside in our Halagueno Arts Park, located around the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center and the Carlsbad Public Library.
Throughout the 1990’s a longtime CMAC board member, patron of the arts, and chairman of the Fine Arts committee, Mrs. Charles (Frances) Feezer donated three Goodacre sculptures. In November 1992, Dance Day, a larger than life Navajo woman with child was donated. July 1994 brought Ollie on his skateboard, and in September 1998, The Facts of Life, a depiction of children in conversation was donated. All of these were placed at the entry of the museum.
“Frances Feezer had the prescience to understand the talent of Goodacre as a sculptor,” Heaton said. Due to that foresight, residents and visitors of Carlsbad are able to view incredible works of art right here in our hometown.
In 2016, another Goodacre piece was added to the collection. Buffalo Dancers, a bronze bas relief was gifted to the city by the Feezer Fine Arts Fund, The Museum Amigos Fund, Matteucci Gallery and Glenna Goodacre, Ross Feezer, the Mayor’s Fine Arts Acquisition and Vetting Committee, David Prell, Michael J. Cleary, and the Carlsbad Community Foundation. 2016 was also the year Goodacre retired, donated her tools and equipment to the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe and broke the molds for her existing sculptures. This is one reason Heaton says “The sculptures we have of hers are priceless.”
Former Director of Arts & Culture for the City of Carlsbad, Patsy Jackson-Christopher has always held a deep appreciation of Goodacre’s work. One of the main attractions for Jackson coming to work in Carlsbad was the quality artwork within the CMAC collection. “Art adds a richness to your life, and Glenna took realism to the next level” she said.
Goodacre’s son-in-law, Harry Connick Jr., announced her passing on his social media on behalf of his wife, Jill Goodacre, actress and former model. She said “I lost my mother, hero and best friend today, and my heart is completely broken. She was one of the most celebrated artists of all time, and yet she always said that her greatest pieces were her two children. I will miss her love, laughter, and humor.”