Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where the buffalo roam

We saw lots of buffalo on our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. We saw them all, from herds roaming the meadows to the huge hairy beasts walking on the roads. But my favorite buffalo were those roaming the streets of West Yellowstone, Montana.

These were colorful animals, ones you could walk right up to and touch, and they wouldn't charge you. Of course, they weren't real, but rather made from fiberglass which had been painted with scenes depicting Yellowstone (park and city) and Native Americans.

Once there were 37 painted buffalo on the streets, but they were auctioned off to raise money for community and economic development in West Yellowstone. Today, only 11 painted buffalo remain. They can be found mostly on Yellowstone Avenue, the street that ends at the entrance to the park.

I was really quite intrigued with the uniqueness of this project. I wish more towns like West Yellowstone, Joseph in northeastern Oregon with its magnificent bronze statues  and Toppenish in central Washington with its Old West murals, would do outdoor art displays like this. Or maybe they have, and I just don't know about them.

What's your favorite city outdoor art project?

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