Remembering the Russell Farm Art Center
Circa 2008

Charlie Boren and his wife, Louise were the last descendants of Martha Glenn Russell to own the Russell Farm. During the years Charlie Boren and his wife lived there, it was known as the Russell Farm Art Center, a place where artists and students could share and expand their knowledge of art. Some of the sculptures of Charlie Boren, a renowned artist in his own right, as well as many works of art, including sculptures, paintings from other artists can be seen today on a visit to the Russell Farm.
Content is from the site's archived pages, as well as from other outside sources.

If you have inadvertently ended up here while searching for the Russell Farm, go to its current website at:

Russell Farm Art Center
405 W County Road 714
Burleson, TX 76028-6751, US

The Russell Farm Art Center is a rustic and very picturesque slice of Texas. The Center is located on a gentle hillside surrounded by beautifully landscaped terrain. The original farmhouse, along with its barns and other restored farm buildings are all nestled within stands of native Texas Oaks and Mesquites. Surrounded by a variety of livestock and wildlife, the Center provides the perfect environment for the contemplative or creative thought mutual to fine art.

The farm has been passed down through the family over the years. Martha Glenn Russell started the farm in 1877. She and her husband, Dr. Robert Russell, moved to Marystown community, Johnson County in 1874 where he built a country store and practiced medicine. Two years later he passed away.

Martha Russell, with five young children to raise alone, sold their store and bought 540 acres of land at what would become the Russell Farm. She moved her family into their new three-room home on Christmas Eve of 1877. Even today, the central core of the farmhouse is made up of two of the three original rooms built in 1877.

In order to ease the workload of maintaining the farm, Martha opened some of the land to settlers. Here they could raise their families while sharing some of the labor around the farm. Martha lived the remainder of her life on this farm. She died February 7, 1931 and was buried beside her husband in the Marystown Cemetery.

Te Russell Farm was entered in the Texas Family Land Heritage Program in 1977 by Martha Russell’s grandson, Russell Lace. This program honors family farms that have been in continuous operation for at least a hundredyears.In order to maintain this family connection, Martha and Russell Lace chose their nephew, Charlie Boren, to keep the heritage alive. Charlie, along with his wife Louise moved to the farm in 1979.

Charlie Boren’s vision has transformed the farm into the Russell Farm Art Center. For over thirty years, Charlie has worked to achieve excellence in the artistic use of wood. He has studied with the Masters of Bavaria, England, Canada, and the United States. Through study and experience, Charlie has developed a singular style; his sculpture is a harmony of wood and artistry. Charlie’s sculpture is exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the state and in private collections throughout the world.

Just as Martha Glenn Russell had opened her land to newcomers looking for a place to work and raise a family, Charlie and Louise continue in similar tradition with the foundation of the Russell Farm Art Center.

 The Russell Farm Art Center is a place for artists and students to share and expand their knowledge of art. Surrounded by the beauty and the history of the farm, artists are invited to tour the galleries, attend seminars, and participate in workshops and classes

“Russell Farm Art Center is a Texas chartered, 501(c) (3) non profit organization dedicated to the development and support of visual arts and cultural awareness, and the preservation of historic lands”

We are supported in part by tax deductible donations graciously given to us by people who believe in what we are doing to add to the cultural awareness of our community and to foster the growth of artistic talent

Russell Farm Art Center, located on a Texas Century Farm, is a non-profit organization of working artists dedicated to fine art, with an emphasis on wood sculpture

Louise and I seek to provide a place that promotes artistic expression. The Russell Farm has a heritage of pioneer spirit, located in a tranquil natural setting that will help aspiring artists for many years to come
- Charlie Boren
(Resident Master Sculptor)


From the Editor: If Charley could see us now... That shortcut to town is now paved! Lots of small changes and repairs to the structures. One biggie. The Art Center experienced a ransomeware attack and was shut down for a while. They brought in a tech person who eventually fixed things up. He didn't pay the ransom, he just found all the backups in the cloud and restored the system. This tech has a truly unique high tech business. He specializes in removing bad search results from Google. So if you don't like that DUI summons you got showing up in Google when people search your name, you can hire his outfit to bury that result. He uses something called search engine optimization to change the search in Google. And he loves Charlie's boot.


Burleson mourns loss of Russell Farm’s grantor

By Jessica Pounds/ Sep 5, 2018 /

Charlie Boren, who gifted the Russell Farm Art Center to the city of Burleson in 2011, died Tuesday. Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said Boren was a great man who was generous with his time, talents and treasure.  Courtesy photo

The Russell Farm Art Center is a place in Burleson for artists and students to share and expand their knowledge of art. The city of Burleson is mourning the Tuesday death of Charlie Boren, 91, who gifted the farm to the city in 2011 so that it could be preserved as a farming site and a haven for art and artists. 

“Mr. Boren had a long and distinguished career in education, and after retiring as the Burleson High School principal, he became a world-renowned wood sculptor,” Burleson spokesperson DeAnna Phillips said. “His historic family farm became a vibrant artist community where many young artists came to learn from a master artist-teacher. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Boren’s family and friends who lost a great man who did so much for our community.”

Boren was born in 1927 in Snyder. The people around him in his early life lived close to the land, and he developed a strong appreciation for both its beauties and its challenges. 

His earliest experience with wood carving came as he watched an aging neighbor whittle small prairie critters while he told him exciting stories of his days as a deputy sheriff in the Oklahoma Badlands. This impression of creating art with one’s hands and simple tools remained with Boren long past childhood.

In 1945 when he graduated high school and entered Baylor University, World War II was in its final stages. After one semester, he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps and served two years as a combat air crewman.Following World War II he came home, married his childhood sweetheart, Louise, and went back to college. During the next 35 years, Boren devoted himself to a career in education, while at the same time preparing for a second career in art. This combination of teacher-artist is the basis for his work of the past 30 years.

He chose wood as the medium for his sculpture because of its natural beauty. He has said, “My challenge as an artist is to create a harmony between the perceptual images of my mind’s eye and the natural properties of the piece of wood. When this occurs, a thing of beauty is born.”

In 1979, Boren and his wife left Austin and moved to a historic family farm in Burleson, where he continued to create sculptures and had the facilities to include teaching others the age-old art of wood sculpture using traditional tools and methods. Students from all over the United States came to work and learn through private lessons and group seminars. 

Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said Boren was a great man who was generous with his time, talents and treasure. 
“He was one-of-a-kind and we will miss him tremendously,” he said. “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.”

In 2001, Boren established the Russell Farm Art Center. With the help of five local artists who served as directors, they formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of visual arts, the support of community cultural development and the preservation of historic lands. This is the goal toward which Boren worked for much of his adult life.

Marc Marchand, director of recreation and lifelong learning in Burleson, said Boren’s gift of the Russell Farm Art Center provides residents and visitors a tranquil place for them to visit and soak in the beauty of nature.

 “We are exposing a new generation to this historic farm through weekly story times, art camps, historical tours and so much more,” he said. “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.”

Boren’s funeral services are pending.




Information from

The Russell Farm Art Center has become a local attraction that offers the public a glimpse into the past as well as contemporary art work. Local artists will be on site, working on their own creations. Russell Farm is a unique and historic facility that features several buildings dating back to the earliest days of what would become the Burleson community.

Built in 1877  the Russell-Boren house was the home of the Russell family for 135 years. The farm was donated by Charlie Boren and his wife, Louise, to the City of Burleson in October 2011 for historical, art and agricultural/natural uses at which time the property was renamed Russell Farm.
Starting in July 2017, guided tours of Russell Farm are available on the first Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Docents tell visitors stories of the families who lived there and demonstrate how the house grew from the original 3-room home to the much larger home it is today. Several buildings at Russell Farm can be rented for parties, weddings, company picnics, meetings, reunions or other group functions.


Dana Killen

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dana Killen has been involved with art in one form or another all her life. She attended special Saturday art classes at Carnegie Art Institute while in elementary and junior high school. Since earning her B.F.A. she has worked as a graphic artist, art director and creative director in New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as maintaining her own freelance business, now specializing primarily in illustration and portraiture. She enjoys making and carving pottery as well as painting in oils, acrylics and watercolor.

Her introduction to wood sculpture came through an opportunity to join a carving class taught by well-known artist Charlie Boren. This opportunity has quite literally brought a new dimension to her life as well as her art. She appreciates the “one-of-a-kind” aspect of wood sculpture and is fascinated by the never-ending possibilities offered by the many different kinds of wood. Each has its own individual characteristics and presents its own particular challenges.

Dana enjoys the excitement of uncovering the potential in each new piece of wood, as well as the challenge of remaining flexible in the design to either take advantage of or work around its hidden “surprises.” She hopes to bring this felling of discovery to the viewer by creating pieces that offer ever-changing forms as the work is turned or the lighting altered. It’s part of the fun of working in a three dimensional medium. The natural warmth and beauty of wood breathes life into the work and adds a tactile quality that is irresistible.

   - Dana Killen


Charlie Boren

For over Thirty years, Charlie Boren has worked to achieve excellence in the artistic use of wood. Through study and experience, Boren has developed a singular style; his sculpture is a harmony of wood and artistry.

Born and reared in Snyder, Texas, Charlie Boren is a native son whose sculpture clearly reflects his pioneer heritage. A proud member of Texas First Families, Boren traces his ancestry to Nancy Boren who was given a Spanish land grant in the Robertson Colony and to her son Elijah Boren, a member of the early Texas Rangers.

Charlie Boren holds a BS and MS from Baylor University and worked as an educator for twenty-five years in Austin, Texas. During this time Charlie developed and refined his techniques as he studied with the masters of Bavaria, England, Canada, and the United States.

Boren's sculpture is exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the state and in private collections throughout the world.

Boren lives and works on his historic family farm south of Burleson, Texas. Founding and developing this farm into the Russell Farm Art Center is Charlie's latest endeavor.

Charlie's work is on display at the Russell Farm Art Center.

   - Charlie Boren


Pete McCaskill

Born and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Pete developed an interest in art and creativity at an early age. Whether it was drawing pictures, making sculptures out of mud or playing the guitar, he was always creating. Throughout his early education he took whatever art or drawing classes were offered. In college he continued taking classes in both technical drawing and art.

Pete began his professional career in Mississippi as a drafter, and worked in many different disciplines from making maps of the Mississippi River bottom, to drawing plans for a nuclear power plant. In 1986 Pete moved to Texas and began working with a company making decorative architectural castings. Here it was his job to take the plans and ideas of the architects and designers and develop ways to bring their ideas to life. This line of work allowed him to work on some very ornate and beautiful buildings with architects, designers, sculptors and craftsmen from all over the world.

Three years after being asked to participate in a wood sculpture study group under the tutelage of renowned sculptor Charlie Boren, Pete has decided that it is time to return to first hand creativity. He now works on his own creations at his workshop in Alvarado, Texas. His work can be seen at the Russell Farm Art Center gallery.

“Life is too short to spend always working on someone else’s ideas. I feel that God has given me a gift, and I do not want to waste it. To take an old piece of wood, that most people would not see fit to burn, and bring out the beautiful work of art hidden within, gives me an indescribable feeling of satisfaction.”

   - Pete McCaskill


Steve Baldwin

Steve is a native Texan with lifelong aspirations to be creative, and a long time interest in various forms of woodworking. He pursues a technical career to pay the bills but manages to add creative touches to technical documents and presentations by use of graphical illustrations.

In early adulthood Steve’s hobby of drawing combined with woodworking through use of his dad’s scroll saw for creation of Christmas ornaments and small signs. Concurrently, an interest in carving developed and was stimulated by workshops on realistic duck decoys with an accomplished carver in the Arkansas Ozarks. It seemed only natural to combine gouge and knife carving with scroll saw work.

A unique style evolved and matured over the years and has been rewarded by many commissions for personalized pieces and an assortment of general works on subjects such as Texana, flora and fauna, aquatic life, crosses, wildlife and many others.

One of Steve’s annual ‘for the fun of it’ activities is entering one or more pieces in the Texas State Fair where he has a winning tradition since 2000 including a Blue Ribbon and Best of Show in 2004 in the Designer-Craftsman department which includes all forms of woodwork plus leather work, stained glass, jewelry, metal/bronze sculpture and many other art forms.

A chance acquaintance in the mid 1990’s with world-class wood sculptor Charlie Boren led to private lessons in the challenging art of ‘real’ wood sculpture using large chunks of native Texas hardwoods. When Steve was later invited to join the artists guild at Russell Farm Art Center he gladly accepted the opportunity to diversify his craft while working with wood sculptors with many different talents, styles and favorite subjects. Steve’s intricate ‘wall sculptures’ are unlike the other wood creations in the gallery, but there are similarities in design concepts, layout, detail and finish processes. There are always opportunities to improve or do something different on the next piece – more depth, more character, different choice of wood, etc.

 For this reason the casual Saturday morning sessions at Charlie’s Russell Farm workshops are rewarding as they provide a pleasant environment where Steve and the other artists get inspired, challenged and supported as they attempt to convert their creative ideas into works of art in wood.

   - Steve Baldwin


Warren Freeman

Warren Freeman was born in Massachusetts in 1934 and lived in New England until 1986 when a job transfer moved him to Texas. From an early age he has worked with wood, first learning from his father who was an excellent carpenter working almost exclusively with hand tools. He made his first boat when he was ten. Growing up in New England fostered an interest in colonial and Shaker furniture and antiques. He enjoys reproducing this type of furniture and restoring old pieces in need of repair. He also has experience in building houses and was one of the founders of Johnson County Habitat for Humanity and it first president.

However, except for doing a small amount of letter carving on signs called quarter boards he had never done anything that could be considered “artistic” until he was invited to study wood sculpture with Charlie Boren. This has opened up a whole new world of woodworking and has been a very gratifying experience. It is a lot of fun to study a gnarled stump of wood, decide what sculpture is lurking inside and then bringing that sculpture to life.

   - Warren Freeman


Sharon Markwardt

I feel that good artwork will elicit an emotional response from the viewer, and engage him/her for long enough to make him curious. Enough of the real world is ugly and painful, so I prefer to create art that is beautiful, fun, or uplifting. I enjoy exploring the themes of positive and negative space, light and shadow, and of course, color. I believe every artist needs to be able to draw well, and be versed in good design. Once these fairly mechanical aspects are mastered, it is possible to stretch beyond those foundations to construct works that are uniquely human. I also feel it is important for artists to give back to their communities, so I teach drawing and painting classes, and serve as President here at the Russell Farm Art Center. I find the Saturday morning group critiques fun and rewarding. Join us!
I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1981. Over the years, I have worked in dozens of media, but predominantly watercolor. I began using oil paints about the same time I got my horse, so she nudged me in the direction of Western and Equine subject matter. I love the variety in design, color and texture of boots, spurs, tack and horses, so I keep finding exciting subjects to paint. Though I enjoy the spontaneity of my abstract work, the Spirit of the West and the grace of a horse in motion are difficult to resist.

If you’ve seen my work, you can tell I love color! I believe it adds to the beauty and intensity of living. A little extra zip, music with a dance rhythm—Visual Salsa to spice up life. Sometimes I want to create moods and emotions, but often the colors I choose are just more pure versions of what I actually see. My color motto: Push It!
One of the things I find most fun about my current, mature body of work is that each almost seems like two different paintings. From up close, you think, “Wow, what wild and crazy colors!” but from across the room, the piece suddenly appears to have realistic colors, though with a bit more sparkle. My teenagers refer to them as “High-Def”. The simplification of backgrounds places the emphasis on the subject matter and the composition, and results in works that are more contemporary than most Western art.
The opportunity for Art is everywhere—seek it out, and Enjoy! If you like what you see, visit my website for more:

   - Sharon Markwardt


Cher Ptacek

In the summer of 1966, I borrowed my parents’ Kodak box camera to photograph the Beatles in concert. Not only did I leave the arena entranced by the Fab Four, I also came away with a deep love for photography that has never left me. The fact that I can freeze a moment in time or capture a fleeting emotion thrills me even more today than it did yesterday. 

My formal education includes a bachelor’s degree in journalism education and a master’s degree with a specialty in photojournalism. As an educator, I shared what I know about photography with high school students across Oklahoma and Texas. Watching them discover the power of light as it was rendered first by film and later by a digital sensor was a journey I enjoyed every day of my career. Now, having recently retired after 29 years of service, I am able to explore and continue to grow as a photographer in my own right.

I’ve also discovered other ways to depict what I enjoy in life through paint on canvas and on ceramics. This art, plus my photographs, are only a small demonstration of how I now view the world and all the exciting, beautiful things in it. Hope you enjoy your visit.

- Cher Ptacek



Summer 2008 classes


Course #
Course Description:
 Woodworking - The Scroll - Carving Techniques

Learn a truly unique woodworking technique from an award-winning local artist and sculptor. This accelerated class will introduce you to an art form resulting from the combination of scroll saw work and relief carving. This is not a classroom lecture, but a hands-on workshop held in the barns and studios of the Russell Farm Art Center, three miles from downtown Burleson. Materials, equipment and tools provided.  See Steve’s work at

For:   Ages 18+
Fee:  $95.00
Instructor: Steve Baldwin
Location: Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson
(call Steve Baldwin @ 817-447-0432 or Burleson Community Ed @ 817-447-5729 for directions) 

Course #
Course Description:  Beginning Traditional Relief Woodcarving 

Learn from one of the best woodcarvers in the nation. Pete will teach you how to take any piece of wood and transform it into a treasure. Pete McCaskill teams up with Charlie Boren to get you started on a life-long, rewarding hobby.

For:  Ages  18+
Fee: $95.00
Instructor:    Pete McCaskill
Location: Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson
Please call Pete McCaskill at 817-291-7585 or
Burleson Community Education at 817-447-5729 for directions

Course #
Course Description:  Intermediate Traditional Relief Woodcarving 

Learn from one of the best woodcarvers in the nation. Pete will teach you how to take any piece of wood and transform it into a treasure. Pete McCaskill teams up with Charlie Boren to get you started on a life-long, rewarding hobby.

For:  Ages  18+
Fee: $95.00
Instructor:    Pete McCaskill
 Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson
Please call Pete McCaskill at 817-291-7585 or
Burleson Community Education at 817-447-5729 for directions

Click here to see MAP to RFAC

Course #
Course Description:
 Introduction to Direct Stone Carving

This course covers the centuries old methods of carving stone and creating stone sculpture using hand tools. Tools and materials are furnished. 

Note: Price does not include cost of tools—$78.00 from instructor.   

For:   Ages 18+
Fee:  $95.00
Instructor: Don Wall
Location: Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson

Course #
Course Description:
 Limestone Carving

This class introduces students to stone carving tools, techniques and types of stone to create three dimensional sculpture. This is a hands on workshop providing basic understanding of tools and supplies available and a good beginning to limestone sculpture.  Stone and tools are provided. Tools will be available for purchase as well. Students required to bring safety glasses, leather gloves, ear plugs and dust mask (disposable type).    Please call Jennie Franz at 817-790-2446 if questions.

For:   Ages 18+
Fee:  $95.00
Instructor: Jennie Franz & Dana Killen
Location: Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson


Course #
Course Description:
 Basic Sculpture... Clay... Wax to Bronze

Learn the secrets of basic sculpture of the human form or the animal form with wax and clay. 

For:   Ages 18+
Fee:  $95.00
Instructor: Jeff Gotfried
Location: Russell Farm Art Center, 405 W. County Road 714, Burleson

Russell Farm Art Center is a Texas chartered, 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to the developement and support of visual arts, cultural awareness and the preservation of historic lands.