In January 2017, the Rock Art Foundation officially transferred its assets, property, administration and activities to the Witte Museum. This momentous gift includes ownership and protection of one of the most significant archeological sites in North America; The White Shaman Preserve, located on the Pecos River, near the Seminole Canyon State Historical Park. For decades, the Rock Art Foundation has led the way in stewardship, access and passion about the people of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
The Witte Museum has a long history of excavation and study in the Lower Pecos region of Texas (since the 1930s), and houses more than 20,000 artifacts from these ancient sites. With the opening of the New Witte on March 4th 2017, visitors have unparalleled opportunities to be transformed through immersive experience of prehistoric life in the Kittie West Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery and also onsite at White Shaman Preserve and other sites in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands.
The Witte Museum is proud to offer access to the Rock Art Foundation White Shaman Preserve, as well as to numerous additional prehistoric and historic sites throughout the Lower Pecos region of West Texas. Witte Museum members will receive discounted tickets to all Rock Art Foundation guided tours.
The Rock Art Foundation exists to promote the conservation and study of the Native American Rock Art in the Lower Pecos region of Southwest Texas.
Until recently, few people knew that Texas harbored one of the largest and most diverse bodies of rock art in the New World. For decades, several individuals had devoted considerable time and energy to the recording and preservation of the art -- Dr. And Mrs. D. J. Sibley, with their friend and local rancher Rose Mary Jones, convinced the state to purchase Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site as a refuge for examples of all the prehistoric pictograph styles. Solveig Turpin and her colleagues searched for unknown sites; and Jim Zintgraff photographed the many sites now seen by the public at the Witte Museum. Faced with the realization that the art was deteriorating at a rapid pace, we decided to coordinate our efforts and form a foundation that could enlist the talents of a wider spectrum of the public.
The goals of the Rock Art Foundation are simple: public education, research, and preservation. Since 1991, the Foundation has grown to over 900 members. One of the most important sites in the Lower Pecos region, the White Shaman pictographs, was purchased by board members Gale and Connie Galloway and donated to the Foundation. Now, hundreds of people have the opportunity to experience the rock art of the Lower Pecos through a program of guided tours that provide both an aesthetic and educational opportunity to the public.
The Rock Art Foundation is based in San Antonio, but the RAF also owns and maintains the White Shaman Preserve near the Seminole Canyon State Historical Park and the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area.
The Rock Art Foundation (RAF) is a Texas non-profit organization established in 1991, with 501(c)(3) status since 1992. The Foundation exists to promote the conservation and study of the Native American rock art in the Lower Pecos region of Southwest Texas.
For over five millennia, aboriginal artists recorded elaborate scenes upon the limestone canvas of canyons and rock shelters in an area defined by the lower courses of the Pecos and Devil's rivers and their confluences with the Rio Grande. The pressures of modern development, burgeoning populations, industrial pollution, environmental degradation, natural rock decay, and vandalism are inexorably erasing these fragile works of art. The Rock Art Foundation believes that the most effective conservation program must incorporate two approaches: education and preservation.
The call for more public education was first articulated over 50 years ago by A. T. Jackson, an early chronicler of the pictographs. It is the goal of the RAF to educate the public by fostering an appreciation for these endangered art treasures, and rallying support for their preservation and further study. Rock art conservation is a field in its infancy and long-term experimentation is a prerequisite for attempts to clean, preserve, or restore the cave paintings. Much more immediate action is needed to ensure that at least a sample of the elaborate and diverse pictographs and petroglyphs remains for the next generation to appreciate. With this in mind, the RAF is pursuing several options:
Educating public and private sectors about the endangered status of rock art in Texas
Restoration and preservation research
Acquiring endangered sites for transfer to agencies capable of ensuring their integrity.
Continuing to locate and document previously unrecorded sites
Fostering harmonious relations with land owners for site management / protection and supervised visitation
Archiving photographic collections
The Rock Art Foundation seeks support from foundations, agencies, and individuals who share a concern for this vanishing legacy of prehistoric art and lifeways. All funds are devoted to achieving these goals. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Rock Art Foundation may purchase a membership through our online store or call us at 210-525-9907. You may also write the Foundation at PO Box 702052, San Antonio, TX 78270-2052.
THE ROCK ART FOUNDATION ALSO PROUDLY SERVES AS "THE FRIENDS OF SEMINOLE CANYON" THE NON-PROFIT SUPPORT GROUP FOR
SEMINOLE CANYON STATE PARK
Amistad National Recreation Area (National Park Service)