(Nov. 17, 2009)--In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Ferdinand Pribyl, a Czech Moravian, painted a series of nativities of immense scale, brilliant color and painstaking detail. Through four generations, Pribyl's nativities have been passed to family members and close friends. This holiday season, Pribyl's descendents have chosen to share their family tradition with the Institute of Texan Cultures, which will display two complete Pribyl nativities from Nov. 21 to Jan. 3.
Ferdinand Pribyl's nativities stretch between 8 and 18 feet long. Originally, they were measured to fill entire walls in family members' homes. The Pribyl nativities use cardboard cutout figures placed in a baseboard to add a sense of depth to the panorama.
Pribyl built the nativities from cardboard scavenged from oatmeal boxes, post cards and shirt boxes. The figures stand between four and six inches in height and are painted in meticulous detail. The backgrounds draw on Pribyl's memories of Austria. Vibrant colors bring life to lush green hills, stone buildings, earthy farmhouses and wooden sheds. Central to each nativity scene is the Bethlehem stable with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
Presumably, there were seven Pribyl nativities, painted between the 1890s and early 1900s, each slightly different. Over the years, they have been displayed at various museums, libraries, churches and residences in South Texas.
Ferdinand Pribyl and his family emigrated from his native Moravia in the 1880s and settled in Fayetteville, Texas. They moved to La Grange and then Hallettsville, before joining Ferdinand's brother, Jan, in Victoria. In his late 60s or early 70s with no prior artistic training, Pribyl began work on the nativity scenes.
Bette Stockbauer of Victoria, whose family owns one of the Pribyl nativities, is a descendent of Pribyl's adopted son, Albert Stockbauer. She has had some success in locating other Pribyl nativities around Texas. In addition to the Stockbauer family's nativity, the institute will display a complete Pribyl nativity belonging to the Staha family of Hallettsville, two partial Pribyl sets and a two-dimensional nativity painting, all belonging to other Pribyl descendents.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday.
Holiday hours are:
Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65 and over); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification.
For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy's Curtis Vaughan Observatory will offer free stargazing for the public beginning on top of the 4th floor of the Flawn Science Building. Experienced astronomers will be on hand to show a variety of astronomical objects and answer any questions. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to invite friends and family.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory
This year's keynote speaker is Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisper. The event will feature breakout sessions and a presentation by the Creative Writers from North East School of the Arts. The event is free and open to all teachers from Pre-K through university level. Attendees can earn a certificate for 3 hours of Professional Development Credit.
Riklin Auditorium (FS1.406), Downtown Campus
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University Center Paseo & Lawn, UTSA Main Campus
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Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328), UTSA Downtown Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures invites Texas and Texans to the Asian Festival. What began as a traditional family reunion for the Chinese New Year has expanded to include other Asian communities and participants, showcasing their unique culture and traditions.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
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Business Building (BB 2.06.04), UTSA Main Campus
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Buena Vista Theater (BV 1.326), Downtown Campus
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Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus
The 12th Annual Black Heritage Gala is a formal event which includes a student performance, keynote remarks by Michael Brown, an award presentation, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $10 for UTSA students and $15 for all other guests. Tickets are on sale now at Roadrunner Express. Contact (210) 458-4770 for more information.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will host a free workshop focusing on teaching Latin American culture and geography for students seeking their teacher certification. The workshop includes free resources for teaching Latin American subject matter as well as presentations on language, identity, music, geography, and political and developmental history, and a special educators’ tour of the museum’s Los Tejanos exhibit. Free with registration.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC 3.01.02)
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2015 was a significant year for UTSA. As the university moved forward on the road to Tier One research, designations and recruitment of high caliber faculty and students, it also completed its first ever capital campaign. Read about UTSA's accomplishments in the 2015 Year in Review as we look forward to what the next year will bring.
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