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Local Public Art
The Story of Sor Capanna
— Harry Jackson
"In 1958 and '59, I went to Rome a lot, and there I met a big, likable American named Remington Olmsted who had just started a restaurant in the Trastevere section called Da Meo Patacca. He and I loved to sing cowboy songs while sweet Italian supplied the background. It was a very unusual but sympathetic musical marriage—we were all really doing the same thing.
Remy then commissioned me in 1961 to do a statue of the great street stinger and poet Sor Capanna, who was a hero of the poor people of Trastevere. He sang about his people and their whole history until his death in 1923.
Naturally, the Establishment hated him. He spent most of his life in and out of jail. He was a man after my own heart—both as a poet who sang his own verses and as an outlaw.
In both respects, he the same breed as the artist and the cowboy for whom "goin' to jail is just one of the hazards of goin' to town."
Born Under a Wandering Star
— Vic Payne
Born Under a Wandering Star is the first in a series of life-size monumental benches. Vic Payne sculpted Buffalo Bill in one of his Wild West show coats, waiting patiently for a visitor to come sit alongside him on this functional five-foot bench. One of Buffalo Bill’s quotes, “I could never resist the call of the trail,” is sculpted on the reverse side of the log bench, thus the name Born Under a Wandering Star.
Vic Payne is a noted western sculptor and artist who has been sculpting for over 35 years. He was born in 1960 and grew up on a ranch in New Mexico, which instilled in roots of the West in Vic and became central in shaping his character. Vic’s distinctive style and artistic approach to sculpting along with his attention to detail is widely recognized as being imaginative and innovative, chronicling the life and era of our nation’s history. Vic’s mission is to lead the viewer through an emotional journey that tells a story with his art. Vic and his wife, Angie, life in Cody.
With this series of benches, Vic pays tribute to the great men and women of the American West. Buffalo Bill Cody captivated the American West, the land, and the people more than any other individual in the history of the West.
High 'n' Dry
— T.D. Kelsey
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West has loaned this large-scale sculpture, High 'n' Dry, to the City of Cody, cast 1 of 7 (2000). The loan will extend for five years with the option for renewal beyond that period. The Center of the West is gratified that the sculpture will be enjoyed by the citizens of Cody and visitors to the region.
The artist, T.D. Kelsey, donated High 'n' Dry to the Center of the West in 2012 as part of an impressive collection of seventy bronze sculptures gifted in memory of the artist’s wife, Sidni. At present, nearly twenty other Kelsey sculptures are on view around the Center of the West’s campus, in galleries throughout the complex, and enlivening its outdoor gardens.
Kelsey, of Guthrie, TX and Cody, WY, is among the most accomplished Western American artists working today. He has garnered this reputation by combining strong technique, imaginative compositions, and intimate knowledge of Western subjects to create sculptures.
Much of Kelsey's work features iconic Western animals; especially prominent among his body of work is the horse. "Horses have always been my first love—right behind my late wife."
High 'n' Dry depicts a cowboy leaning into a steep, rocky path, holding up his hat to water his horse. Risking safety for the well-being of his companion, the cowboy is in a perilous position, downhill from his horse who balances with strained limbs on an unstable shale outcropping. The composition for High 'n' Dry was inspired by Kelsey's own experiences. "I’ve ridden over a lot of rough and dry country. You learn quickly to take care of your horse. He may be your lifeline—literally."