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September 13, 2016 • Headline News
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Osgood Bison-tennial
Town raises funds for state art project

Mary Mattingly

Osgood has joined the herd and is celebrating Indiana’s 200 years with the “Bison-tennial” public art project. The Indiana United Way Bison-tennial project has encouraged the 92 counties to decorate and display a fiberglass bison statue as part of a legacy bicentennial project. The goal was to have one on display for each county. Several decorated bison were featured at the state fair last month.

Osgood bison art projectMARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Left, Artist Nancie Scott Davis, Jerry McKown, who helps out at the museum, and Doug Thayer with the museum board, check out Osgood’s new bison art project.

Although Ripley County did not participate, a group of Osgood citizens pursued the matter. Doug Thayer, a native and member of the town’s museum board, said Donald Dunbar spearheaded the movement and fundraising and they were able to collect over $4,200 from local businesses, individuals and organizations. They purchased an eight foot long, five foot tall fiberglass bison. The cost was over $2,650. Funds will also help pay for a base to be built. The state art project actually was announced in May.

“We got a late start, but it was shipped last week and arrived on Thursday,” Thayer said. It was transported to the Osgood Museum and although it won’t be painted yet, it will be displayed at the mini park during Saturday’s bicentennial torch relay celebration in Osgood. It was also shown this past Saturday at the Osgood Fire Department’s dinner. After that it will be moved inside to the museum where it will stay so it can be painted.

Nancie Scott Davis, an acclaimed artist who moved to Osgood about a year ago, volunteered to paint the large bison. “She relished the idea of helping the town,” Thayer said. She will do so this winter at her leisure, and hopefully “we’ll christen it in the spring,” Thayer said. He’s not sure what the scene will be, perhaps something reflecting the town’s railroad roots, basketball success or the stone quarry business, and submitted some historic books about the town to Scott Davis for ideas. “Maybe every block will tell a story or refer to something,” he said. She said Friday she will first paint the white statue to look like a bison and then create a scene, probably done in sepia-tone. She also welcomed people to watch while she paints it during the museum’s open hours.

Once it is finished Osgood’s bison-tennial project will probably go at the town’s mini-park by the railroad. Thayer said they are talking about featuring a granite marker with names of contributors to help fund the project. Greensburg has a bison on the courthouse property. Thayer has been thrilled with the community response, and is glad they can participate in the state-wide project. It will be an “Osgood bison-tennial” but can be included in the state tourism promotions with the other county projects. He was told the state already has several inquiries about the bison project and that people want to visit all the counties to get their photo taken by it. “It could be a nice little economic boost to the town, with more traffic to the museum,” he commented. You might wonder why bison? As Thayer points out it makes for a clever play on words with the state’s bicentennial!

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