Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

{8-Foot Tall Fiberglass} Boot Project Set for {Cheyenne Depot} Museum
Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune-Eagle ^ | 01-16-04 | Eastwood, Cara

Posted on 01/16/2004 6:11:32 AM PST by Theodore R.

Boot project for Cheyennemuseum

By Cara Eastwood Published in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

CHEYENNE - Nancy Sinatra's boots were made for walkin,' but the boot that arrived in Cheyenne Thursday was made for talkin.'

It is the first of 20 to 30 that will decorate the Capital City this summer as a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation.

Complete with spurs and leather detailing, the 8-foot-tall fiberglass boots will provide Wyoming artists an unorthodox canvas on which to paint the stories of the West.

Gordon Horton, coordinator of the project called "These Boots are Made for Talkin'," said he hopes artists capture the color and feel of Cheyenne and Wyoming as they decorate the boots.

The project took root as the Cheyenne Depot Museum Foundation Board sought a creative means to raise money for the fledgling museum.

"We got a book from New Mexico last year, and they did the Trail of Painted Ponies," Horton said. New Mexico artists decorated the ponies, and they were displayed all over the state, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

New York and Chicago also used farm animals in similar projects that created public works of art and raised millions. Recently, Casper and Billings caught on to the trend, offering buffalo and quarter horses, respectively, to local artists for decoration and public display. In Billings the project helped restore the city's historic depot, and Casper's buffaloes raised money for the Nicolaysen Art Museum.

Holly Turner, executive director of the Nicolaysen, said the painted buffalo project in Casper last year netted $260,000 for the museum.

"It synthesized art and commerce," Turner said, "and had an incredibly exciting effect on people. People heard that we were doing it and would come on busses to join in the buffalo hunt."

Because of the successful fundraiser, the museum is debt-free for the first time in 15 years.

Initially, the Cheyenne group talked of using horses to pay tribute to Wyoming's rich western culture. After realizing that the Downtown Development Authority already had plans to use a cowboy boot in a new identity campaign, though, Horton said the boot idea took off.

"I think it's the first inanimate object," Horton said with a laugh on Thursday.

Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Christian Cherek confirmed that Cheyenne is the first city to use a boot as its symbol in a public art program.

"We're not benefiting from the proceeds of the auction," Cherek said, "but we're using the event as a way to launch the new logo."

Cherek said she hopes most of the 20 to 30 boots will be located downtown for display this summer.

Delivery men tried to squeeze the first of the fiberglass cowboy boots through the doors of Deselms Fine Art and Custom Framing on Thursday morning, but unfortunately, it wouldn't fit.

Owner Harvey Deselms, who is in charge of finding artists for the project, said he didn't include the metal strips the boot was mounted on in his careful calculations.

For now, "it will be living in the Depot," Deselms said.

Manufactured at Bob Pruitt Plastics in Gibbon, Neb., the boots arrive in Cheyenne bright white and ready for decoration.

"There should be some great stories painted on these boots," Horton said. He hopes they will generate creative storytelling, encouraging the artists to wonder, "What if you found this boot on Cheyenne's Boot Hill? Who might have worn it? What might it have seen?"

The museum board mailed letters this week to artists and sponsors to solicit their participation in the program. Sponsors will buy the boot and provide moving and storage costs, Horton said.

By early February, Deselms hopes to know which artists will be involved in the project. In March, they will get their boots and should have them completed by the middle of June, he said. The boots will be on public display in July, August and September.

"The dinner and auction event is tentatively set for Oct. 9," Horton said, where he hopes the painted pieces will raise as much as $300,000 for the Depot Museum Foundation Board's endowment fund for long-term investments.

"They're going to be collectors pieces," he said, "created by celebrities and professional artists. It's a very serious fundraising event."

When completed, the Depot Museum will showcase transportation, from stagecoaches to the railroad. As it expands, Horton said, he's sure the museum will cover a wide array of transportation-related topics.

Horton and Deselms both have high hopes for the value of the finished pieces, citing some of Casper's painted buffaloes fetching more than $20,000 at auction.

"There's no reason a big ol' boot shouldn't go for that either," Deselms said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Wyoming
KEYWORDS: cheyenne; christiancherek; depotmuseum; fiberglassboots; gordonhorton; museum; painting; railroads; stagecoaches; thewest; transportation

1 posted on 01/16/2004 6:11:33 AM PST by Theodore R.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson