CALGARY.- The Calgary Stampede today unveiled plans for a stunning Western bronze destined to become one of the largest sculptures in North America and one of the citys most photographed icons.
By the Banks of the Bow, an ensemble of 15 horses and two cowboys, blends historical and modern day images into a larger-than-life exhibit that reflects the spirit of Calgary from the influence of the Bow River to the significant role of the cowboy and the free spirit of the western horse.
"This amazing bronze will be something that all Calgarians will be proud of, says George Brookman, chairman of the board and president of the Calgary Stampede. We hope that for Calgarians and all out of town visitors, a visit to Stampede Park will not be considered complete unless theyve had a chance to interact and take photographs of this magnificent piece of art. This artwork symbolizes and celebrates our western heritage and the spirit of our city and our province.
Brookman says the sculpture, which depicts cowboys herding their horses across the Bow River, exemplifies what public art is all about it captures the publics attention, invites people to walk along side the horses and cowboys and creates a unique and historical sense of place.
"This will be one of the most spectacular pieces in North America," says renowned Calgary historian, Hugh Dempsey. "This is an example of drama and history combined into something with which the public will be abl to easily interact." The sculpture is historically significant as it represents the evolution of breeding stock used to settle the west near the turn of the century while also depicting horses that may have competed at the Calgary Stampede over time.
Created by local artists and ranchers Bob Spaith and Richard Roenisch, the piece depicts a snapshot of Calgarys past, when the area around Calgary was a wide open prairie and ranchers herded their horses across the Bow. This piece really embodies the western tradition of everybody helping everyone else, says Spaith. We both want to honour these horses. This will not be a stylistic piece. We want a horseman, a rodeo cowboy and an every day Calgarian to believe that these horses are real and could spring to life at any point. When people can see the essence of the horses, feel their wildness - then well know weve been successful.
The 1,250-square-foot sculpture, funded by a $2 million contribution from an anonymous donor, will be located just south of the Corral, in the heart of Stampede Park and will be ready for installation early in 2010.