All my friends and those who visit the gallery are aware of my obsession with American Bison and the Tallgrass Prairie. It's one of the reasons I live in Pawhuska, the Gateway to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, home of 2,500 bison roaming freely on almost 3,900 acres of preserved prairie.
Artists are continually inspired by these majestic animals. They grace, if you can use that word for bison, many pieces of art. Many of the artists in the gallery have captured the bison in various medias and styles, from bronzes to oils and photography. Every piece seems to tell a story of the lives of the bison.
American Bison were once almost extinct but have made a great comeback. The herd at Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is dramatic, if gathered in small herds or a solitary bull making his way across the broad expanses of the prairie. I never see a bison but I am moved in some way.
From Buffalo Nickles to huge bronze sculptures, bison are a part of the story of America from the Native Americans to today. The Native Americans called the bison 'the providers', sent by the Great Spirit to provide for them. Every piece of a bison was used and the animals were respected. A bison in the wild is a spiritual experience.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and see these living legends, you should exercise it. It's beautiful any time of year, and leaves the heart full and the spirit lifted.
Musings by Bruce Carter, Owner/Curator of Tallgrass Art Gallery