The West Yellowstone Economic
Development Council, Inc. (WYED) wanted to provide a new venue for
artistic expression in West Yellowstone and at the same time enhance
the economic vitality of our town. Buffalo roaming the streets of
West Yellowstone has been a common thing in years gone by. Why not
have artistic versions of these majestic animals roaming our streets
Montana artist and sculptor, Joe Halko, was contracted to create a
near life-sized model of a cow buffalo. His completed model was then
sent to Fiberstock Inc. of Buffalo, Minnesota, for final fabrication
of 27 fiberglass buffalo statues that were trucked to West
Yellowstone in early November 2006.
The project was eagerly endorsed by the town with sponsors
contributing $3,000 each to help cover production and preparation
costs associated with the project. Generous donations of up to
$10,000 were also given in either cash or in-kind contributions.
Artists from 4 states were solicited to present an artistic
rendition of one of three themes - Yellowstone National Park,
Historic West Yellowstone or the Native American. Over 40 artists
responded with contracts being awarded to 25 local and regional
artists. Soon thereafter, 25 of the naked buffalo left West
Yellowstone for travel to Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado.
It has taken 5 months for the buffalos to be dressed in brightly
colored paints representing the artist’s chosen themes but the
buffalos have again come home to West Yellowstone.
A 26th buffalo, affectionately named "Frances", was painted by 15 of
the participating artists in a collage painting on the evening of
May 31, 2007 continuing through June 1, 2007 in West Yellowstone. The Grand
Unveiling of all the painted buffalo occurred on June 2-3, 2007 on
the front lawn of the West Yellowstone Historic Center. On June 3,
the actual roaming took place as “Buffalo Herders” distributed the
buffalo statues, securely mounted on their bases, to their new homes
around West Yellowstone. Each spring for the next three years, the
buffalo will truly roam as they are moved from one sponsor to
another around the town. Please continue to check this web site for
updates on the new sponsor locations for the buffalo.
fall of 2007 it was determined to add a crop of buffalo calves to
our roaming herd of painted buffalo. Ten artists were commissioned
to do the painting of the calves. As was the case with the cow
molds, the ten calf molds took their place with their respective
artist for 6-8 months in the states of Minnessota, Wyoming, &
Montana. The calves were completed during the winter months of
'07-'08. They were ceremoniously unveiled in June of 2008 and have
taken their place next to the painted cows during this past summer.
The calves were an exciting addition to the herd in 2008.
The events of 2009 hold an even greater significance for the herd.
On the evening of August 29, 2009 the West Yellowstone Painted
Buffalo herd will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. For
the months leading up to the auction, bids will be accepted via
www.wyed.org. On August 28, 2009 the highest online bid for each
animal will become the starting bid for that animal at the live
auction. The winners at the auction will ultimately determine
the final "resting pasture" for each of the painted buffalo herd. A
portion of the buffalo proceeds will go to benefit certain West
Yellowstone non-profit organizaitons such as the Yellowstone
Historic Center Museum. Please accept this as your invitation to
join us for a weekend full of events starting August 28, 2009 and
concluding August 30, 2009. Don't miss out on this once in a
lifetime opportunity. Never again will these animals be available to
the general public. Place your bid TODAY!
Hundreds of thousands of pictures will be taken by visitors who will
be in awe of these brightly painted buffalo. These pictures and
other souvenirs will be carried with them throughout the world. It
is hoped that West Yellowstone, Montana, will long be remembered as
being the home of The Painted "Buffalo Roam".
Click here to place a bid
to purchase one of these magnificent works of art!