The City of Cody recently added to its portfolio of public art with a donation from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West: a large bronze sculpture in the shape of a medallion, depicting William F. …
The City of Cody recently added to its portfolio of public art with a donation from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West: a large bronze sculpture in the shape of a medallion, depicting William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody in profile.
In 1974, at the encouragement of U.S. Sen. Al Simpson, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association commissioned Montana sculptor Robert “Bob” Macfie Scriver to create a sculptural tribute to Buffalo Bill. The plan was to install the work at the front entrance of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, now known as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
The resultant bronze medallion was based on designs by Robert William Meyers and reworked and cast by Scriver. The monumental emblem was installed above the Cody museum’s main entry doors, where it greeted visitors until 2013.
Then, in late 2020, Cody Mayor Matt Hall and the city council gratefully accepted the artwork on behalf as a gift from the Center of the West.
Hall heralded the acquisition as another community-focused activity that bolsters the arts and humanities in Cody. He said the Scriver medallion will have “a big impact” as “a centerpiece.”
“It’s dramatic,” Hall said, adding, “Wherever we end up finding a good spot for it, it will show people how our community feels about arts and culture and how we take those things seriously.”
The Cody Public Art Committee has not yet determined an installation site for the Scriver medallion, but prior to exhibition, the sculpture will head to Caleco Foundry — owned by Hall’s family — for a “face lift” of sorts. The medallion will be cleaned and will receive a new patina (surface treatment). It will emerge rich brown with highlights, like a shiny penny.
Karen McWhorter, the Center of the West’s Scarlett curator of Western American art, said she’s glad the medallion will be enjoyed publicly, “especially since it had such a longstanding place in the community to begin with.”
“I feel strongly that despite the challenges we all currently face, committees — through efforts like this and love for community — can rise above and find creative solutions, one of which is working with partners,” McWhorter said. “The center and the city are epitomizing collegiality here and focusing on the betterment of the community and prioritizing that together. This is just another great example of that.”
Meanwhile, Hall intends to support the Cody Public Art Committee’s momentum into 2021.
“I hope that we can get [the Scriver medallion] positioned quickly and tackle the next projects in the hopper,” he said.
For more information, visit www.cityofcody-wy.gov/375/Public-Art-Committee.