Bison benefaction

By Sarah Pridgeon

A 500-pound statue of a buffalo made entirely from welded horseshoes was lifted into a safe place next to Old Stoney on Tuesday morning. The enormous piece of art will remain in its temporary storage until the building has been completely renovated, when it will take up residence close to the door and no doubt attract plenty of attention from potential visitors.

Created by local artist Frank Schwegel, the sculpture has been donated to Old Stoney. While it will not yet be fully visible to passersby, lest it get in the way of the contractors as they work to complete the renovation, the curious may catch a glimpse of its metal, glinting in the sunshine, to the right of the building near the soon-to-be city park.

Schwegel visited with the county commissioners on Monday to tell them about the donated art and inquire as to the possibility of placing other pieces of artwork around the county. The pieces would be for sale, he said, but would be replaced if they were purchased.

(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Frank Schwegel prepares to unload his donated bison sculpture at Old Stoney on Tuesday.
(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Frank Schwegel prepares to unload his donated bison sculpture at Old Stoney on Tuesday.

Schwegel explained that he has a workshop, but no studio to display the large sculptures. He told the commission that he is investigating potential options, hoping for input from all possible sources.

Commissioner Kelly Dennis explained that county policy is for anything on county property to be “strictly non-commercial.”

“We get a lot of enquiries for different types of activity throughout the year,” he said, recommending that Schwegel also speak with the city.

Schwegel replied that he was not surprised to hear this answer and had approached the commission purely as a matter of due diligence. He has also spoken with several property owners who are welcoming of the idea of placing the artwork on his land, he said.