Burleson loses a gem
When Charlie Boren and his wife Louise turned over Russell Farm Art Center to the city of Burleson in 2011, Charlie’s vision was to turn the property into a place where artists could thrive and the history of the city would be preserved.
Boren, 90, the driving force behind the Russell Farm Art Center, passed away Sept. 4 in Austin.
“Charlie was a great man who was generous with his time, talents and treasure,” Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said in press release. “He was one-of-a-kind and we will miss him tremendously.”
Because of his and Louise’s generosity, the Russell Farm Art Center is now a gem of the Burleson parks system where the community can learn about the city’s agricultural and cultural history, enjoy the outdoors, grow vegetables in the community garden, gather for festivals and develop a love for art.”
The impact Boren made on the community went beyond his work with artists.
After inheriting the farm, Boren moved to Burleson from Austin and continued his career in education serving as the principal at Burleson High School.
After retiring from education at the age of 52, Boren embarked on a second career of a wood sculpture. He learned from master sculptors around the world and developed his own signature style. Boren worked most on art that depicted symbols of Texas. One of his most famous sculptures is that of a cowboy boot.
Boren often worked with an art group called the Texas Wild Bunch. His sculptures can be found all over the world.
Ever the teacher, Boren turned his family farm into the Russell Farm Art Center in 2001. The non-profit organization became a meeting place for artists where they could study, discuss and promote their calling.
In 2011, Boren turned the farm and the center over to the city of Burleson in hopes of preserving it for future generations.
“The generous gift of Russell Farm Art Center to our city provides residents and visitors a tranquil place for them to visit and soak in the beauty of nature,” city of Burleson Director of Recreation and Lifelong Learning Marc Marchand wrote in a press release. “We are exposing a new generation to this historic farm through weekly story times, art camps, historical tours and so much more. This beautiful property sets our parks system and our community apart from other cities and we will forever be thankful to the Boren family that entrusted us to continue their vision of making Russell Farm the centerpiece for art and agriculture.”
According to a post by the city, Boren and his wife gifted Russell Farm to the city in 2011 to make sure that the beautiful piece of property can be preserved as a farming site and a haven for art and artists. Because of their generosity, Russell Farm has become a gem of the Burleson Parks system where the public can learn about the city’s rich and cultural history, enjoy the outdoors, grow vegetables in the community garden, gather for festivals and develop a love for art.
“The family left this for use as a way to educate the public about the history of a pioneer woman who settled here with her five children,” Russell Art Farm Supervisor Mary Ann Spaun said. “She was a widow at 32 years old. She raised her children here and share cropped this land. We offer community gardens for agriculture and art classes here. Charlie and his wife wanted this land to be used for education. We all get to enjoy the environment and the peace and quiet thanks to their gift. People are shocked we are under the parks and recreation department because it looks like a piece of private property. It is a beautiful 33-acre farm. We have preserved all the buildings the way they were when the family turned the farm over to us.”
For more information about the Russell Farm Art Center, visit Russell Farm Art Center