FARGO — After one of the city's most visible bison sculptures was temporarily removed this summer from the corner of Main Avenue and Broadway for reconstruction and another was removed along Broadway to make room for a mini-park downtown, the question was asked, "Where did they all go?"
Well, with the help of readers who contacted The Forum, many more of the bison have been found. At last count, 28 of the 40 statues painted professionally have been located.
Martha Keeler Olsen, who managed the public art project that installed bison across the Fargo-Moorhead area in the mid-2000s, said that’s a pretty good number, considering that many were purchased at auction by private individuals in addition to the companies that sponsored and then kept their statutes. Plus, almost 13 years have passed.
So where are they? Here's what The Forum and readers came up with:
1. The bison on the corner of Broadway and Main Avenue next to Wimmer's Diamonds will be returned to its home this week after being removed and protected during roadwork. The statue, called "Heartbeat of the Red River Valley," was painted by Pat Krueger of Blaine, Minn., who said the bright sunset and colorful prairie grasses and coneflowers on the statue greet a herd of bison as they run toward the Red River.
2. The "Nights in the Valley" bison near Atomic Coffee and Dempsey's Pub along Broadway in downtown Fargo has been donated to the Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, N.D. Painted by Nathan Mastrud of Fargo, its theme was an organic landscape, featuring the prairie, skyline and the banks of the Red River.
3. It's not easy to miss the bison statue called "A Foot In The Past, An Eye To The Future" on the second floor of the North Dakota State University Memorial Union. The school's theater technology student chapter worked with professor Don Larew on the design. One side represents older students with horn-rimmed glasses and knickers, while the other side features newer students with flip-flops and sunglasses. The word "Bison" has been added to the statue in big letters.
4. The "Fire and Wind" statue sits by the front door of the NDSU Research and Technology Park. It was created by Karen Bakke of Fargo, who worked with sponsors Xcel Energy and Bobcat to show North Dakota's pride in its quest to become a world leader in energy production and manufacturing. It has wind turbines on one side and fire to represent manufacturing on the other side.
5. The "Pace-alo" statue stands by NDSU Renaissance Hall along NP Avenue in downtown Fargo. It was painted by Elizabeth Stromme of Kloten, N.D., who lost her son in a snowmobile accident. She said painting the sculpture was a "lifesaver" for her in her grief. The statue shows two boys sitting by a lake with arms around each other, reflecting her lost son and his brother. "Pace" is Italian for peace.
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6. The lobby of the PRACS building in south Fargo has four bison statutes on loan from Jim Carlson. The first one after entering the main lobby door is "Jim Bob," painted by Tam Goodwin of Towner, N.D., with scenes of rural North Dakota and her church.
7. The second statue in the lobby of the PRACS building is "Art," painted by Linda Whitney and her art history class at Valley City State University, featuring seven buffalo running on the prairie.
8. A third statue adorning the PRACS building lobby is "Brutus." Covered in sunflowers, the statue was painted by Fargo artist Ellen Jean Diederich. It's named after his "brutish" appearance and her father's nickname.
9. One of the more complicated looking bison is "Wacapi Wanagi," or "Ghost Dance," also found in the PRACS building lobby. Using an acrylic-transfer process, Laura Heit-Youngbird and her students at Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton made a collage of images from the Smithsonian Archives related to the Ghost Dance, the slaughter and near extinction of the American bison, and the massacre of mostly women and children at Wounded Knee.
10. One of the bison statues has landed on top of the Southside Center strip mall on University Drive and 15th Avenue South, just above the Metro by T-Mobile store. It is the "Plains, Pioneers, Progress" statue painted by saddle maker and artist Mike Bray of Monticello, Minn.
11. The Rocking Horse Farm housing development in south Fargo is the site of two bison, displayed outside. One is "Spirits of the Prairie," by Karman Rheault of Moorhead who loved the idea of putting the bison and the spirits together as some Native American cultures believe that when a native woman dies her spirit goes into a bison.
12. Also in the Rocking Horse Farm housing development is "Bison Pull Toy" by Juliet and Larry Hanratty of West Fargo, who were inspired by antique pull toys.
13. A statue called "Diversity" is in the entryway of the new Fargo City Hall. The artist, Kim Jore of Fargo, chose the subject to show how American Indian culture has blended with Caucasian culture. She used pheasant and turkey feathers in the headdresses on the statue.
14. "Tigalo," painted by Jack Lunde of Fargo, is a whimsical hybrid of a buffalo and a tiger. It stands at the entrance of the Red River Valley Zoo.
15. "Buffalo Path, The Gathering" is displayed at West Acres shopping center. The artist, Monte Yellow Bird, said the bison features bright colors found in sunsets. Horse images running across the statue represent individuals who helped in developing the blessing ceremonies for the herd's unveiling.
16. "Ms. B...Flying Diva" sits outside in front of the YWCA women's shelter on South University Drive. Pilot and artist Rhonda Ness created the bison to be a female pilot. It features a sheepskin collar made of thousands of packing peanuts and wings made of fiberglass.
17. Artist Ryan Lavelle painted "Industrial Bison," which is at the RDO Equipment Co. offices, 700 7th St. S. in Fargo. Half metal and half beast, the shiny silver statue shows the ties between the industrial presence and natural resources.
18. F-M Convention and Visitors Bureau at 2001 44th St. S. in Fargo. Artist Anne Bradley Kiefel of West Fargo painted an abstract version of the bureau's logo on the colorful bison, which features the Red River.
19. University of Mary, 1351 Page Drive in Fargo. "Dakota Dream" by Carrie Jean Ness-Savageau of Fargo shows a landscape of the prairie and badlands. She used plaster gauze to add texture to the bison's head.
20. WDAY lobby at 808 3rd Ave. S. in Fargo. Spider Johnk and Darrell Dodge created their bison, "Tag, You're It," in graffiti style, with historic events, heroes and victims to tell the story of the Fargo area.
21. Bonanzaville at 1351 Main Ave. in West Fargo. "West To Dakota" by Jan Johansen of Anoka, Minn., is painted with colorful images of events remembered by her great aunt, who settled in North Dakota in the late 1800s.
22. Rourke Art Museum at 521 Main Ave. in Moorhead. Geri Burkhart Weiner of Fargo thought it would be fun to use Vincent Van Gogh's name as a pun for the local college team. The bison painting is thus called "Gogh-Bison-Go!" She used images of his paintings and painted the head to resemble Van Gogh himself.
23. Microsoft at 3900 44th Ave. S. in Fargo. Arion Poitra and David Swenson's sculpture portrays the bison as a spiritual guide that can't be contained. They drilled dozens of holes in the bison, called "Mashkode-Pijiki," allowing a solar-powered light source to illuminate the white bison at night.
24. Don's Car Wash at 2727 13th Ave. S. in Fargo. Inside the car wash sits "A Path Through the Prairie," by Heather Dahl of Kindred, which shows a rural landscape at harvest time as well as another scene with pheasants flying up and out of a field.
25. South of Fargo. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has three bison roaming among prairie grass on a parcel of land south of Fargo. One of the statues is "Bi-Sun" by Elizabeth Schwankl of Fargo, a play on the word bison and the inspiration for painting two suns, one on each side.
26. Also in Burgum's prairie grass is "Mica Star Boy: Spirit of the Cave" by Moorhead artist Jill M. Johnson-Danielson. She turned the bison figure into a mosaic by cutting triangular-shaped tiles and placing them one by one.
27. The third bison roaming Burgum's prairie grass is "Heart of the Prairie" by William Damon of Fargo. He believed the bison was the "heart of the prairie." The piece has lightning bolts in the shape of a heart, pictographs and an Indian Head nickel.
28. Dakota Montessori School at 1134 Westrac Drive in Fargo. The calf, which made the herd reach the No. 40, was painted by Ruth Severson of Buchanan, N.D. She was inspired by White Cloud, the late albino buffalo who lived with the National Buffalo Museum herd in Jamestown. She used broken pottery, copper wire and glass eyes to transform the statue into "Shattered Cloud."
Not counted in the professionally-created herd of 40 bison are four full-size statues given to art classes at schools and painted by students. Those four are at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo (in the lunchroom), Horizon Middle School in Moorhead, Fargo North and West Fargo high schools.
Thanks to Martha Keeler Olsen, a book called "Herd About the Prairie" with copywriter Hope Deutscher, and the many readers who emailed or called The Forum, including Grant Kraft who helped in the search.