News Alert Fargo/Moorhead Area Overrun with Oddly Adorned Buffalo

The cities of Fargo and Moorhead have some strange and beautiful visitors to its parks, sidewalks and other public areas. These buffalo are part of a large public arts project and fundraiser from the Lake Agassiz Arts Council called Herd About the Prairie. The project is a very public display to help raise funds for the not for profit arts organization that helps out the arts in the Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo area. The 74 fiberglass Buffalo will be on display in the Red River Valley from May to August 2006. The buffalo will be auctioned off as the finale of the Herds show in the valley to raise the final funds of the project.

The Lake Agassiz Arts Council was formed 35 years ago to promote the arts in the Fargo Moorhead area. The council is an association of 50 not-for-profit art organizations, artists and arts related businesses which advocate and serve the arts in the area. The council raises money for arts related projects, events and to recognize arts supporters. The council has a publication called the FM Arts Forum available throughout the cites of Fargo and Moorhead at many public businesses and city buildings. The council also has a website where you can learn more about their valuable services and help to the arts here: www.fm-arts.com .

The buffalo are sponsored by any interested individuals businesses, organizations or groups and then the sponsor chooses the artist who will paint and decorate the buffalo. They are painted, adorned or decorated however represents the theme of the project and the groups likings. The buffalo end up with not only paint or other finishes but decorated with additional materials to create truly unique works of art. Some portray the regions history or a specific theme while others tend to take on personality and traits of the artists or the theme of the group designing and decorating the fiberglass animal.

The animal picked for this project, the buffalo, was chosen for its ties to the Native Americans and the lands of the Great Plains. This majestic animal is the largest land animal of the North American continent and was found in the millions across the prairies of North and South Dakota. This is from their web site about the project: “Herd About the Prairie celebrates our collective story, imagination, and culture-past and present. A herd of bison is nature’s fitting symbol of the region’s history and is also representative of the strength and spirit of American business and artistic expression.”

The large buffalo that are being placed in the Fargo/Moorhead area are made of fiberglass with a metal base by FiberStock Inc, of Buffalo, Minnesota. The original mold was created by Montana artist Joe Halko and made available by special arrangement with the Charles M. Russell Museum of Great Falls, Montana. The buffalo weigh a total of 200 pounds with 110 pounds of fiberglass and are 8 feet long, 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Many organizations not only get to create their own special theme or style of the buffalo but get to name it before it goes on display. The plaque on each buffalo will show the name of the buffalo and the artists of that work as well as the organization who sponsored that individual buffalo. The group or artist who decorated each buffalo gets to name it and many of the names I saw on the buffalo were quite appropriate. The buffalo are not only painted but decorated in so many ways, one is made up to be a child’s pull toy with wheels and rope attached while another is an aging pool party animal with towel thrown over the shoulder, rubber ducky wader and very appropriate comb over for the balding spot of the aging fellow.

Each buffalo has a sponsor that gets to choose an individual or group to decorate the buffalo. The artist or group can be from a list of interested individuals on a list that the council has or they can find their own artist to adorn and decorate the work of art. Many unique designs have been done with these works of art and it is a treat to go on this buffalo hunt to find the many buffalo lurking the sidewalks and parks of the area. If you are in the Fargo Moorhead area this summer be sure to check out these unique additions to the community and try your own modern buffalo hunt with the Herd About the Prairie. You can get more information about this project from the Lake Agassiz Arts Council website for Herd About the Prairie here: http://www.herdabouttheprairie.org/ . If not just sit back and check out my collection of buffalo pictures from my hunt.

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