Bison-tennial staues on display

A total of three Bison’s are now in Miami County, painted and ready to be viewed by locals and non-locals in celebration of Indiana’s Bicentennial.

On Friday, Troy and Ruth Caldwell of Caldwell Monuments unveiled the bison that they and many members of their staff decorated in celebration of 200 years of statehood.

“We had, not quite, but almost everyone on staff had some role in the process,” Troy Caldwell said. “We had three or four people painting it and then we had a couple of guys helping with the limestone piece.”

Caldwell said he wanted the bison to stand on a large limestone piece because limestone is one of the major stones found in Indiana. 

. “It’s been fun and it has been an energizing experience for our staff,” Caldwell said.

On June 22 another bison, decorated by Marelee Compton at the Miami County Artisan Gallery and others from her staff, was unveiled at the Miami County Courthouse.  This 5-foot-tall, 100 lb-painted fiberglass Bison is now on display on the first floor of the courthouse. It will be displayed in and out of the courthouse until the first of the year.

Compton said previously that she wanted to go for more of a “natural approach” and have the bison painted bronze.

“It will look classy and a little bit like a statue,” Compton said. “The horns will be natural and there will be enough darkness in contrast so it will look rich.”

Being part of the Bicentennial is something that Compton and her husband Terry, who co-coordinates the gallery with her, are both looking forward to very much.

“Every day is an adventure,” Compton said. “I really feel invested in this.”

United Way of Miami County Director Debi Wallick said there is a third bison in the county as well, but it is a little smaller than the other two.

“There is also a baby bison at the Chamber of Commerce,” Wallick said. “Then we have our bison here at Caldwell and we are at full circle.”

Wallick said having the three bison in Miami County is great not only for those who live here, but for those who visit, or just might be passing through.

“I am just so excited to be part of this endeavor and celebrating 200 years of the bicentennial,” Wallick said. 

These bench mark art projects began November-December 2015, and can be featured: 1) Peru Circus City Week July 16 – 23, 2016, 2) August 2016 Indiana State Fair, 3) September 9, 2016, Official Torch Relay Route and 4) December 11, 2016 Bicentennial Statehood Day across the state.

Working with Indiana Association of United Ways (IAUW), United Way of  Miami County Director Debi Wallick, the Project Lead was Mr. Ralph Duckwall II, County Commissioner. Other members of the committee (and sponsors) were Sandy Chittum, President of the Miami County Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Ron Droscha of Century 21 Creative Realtors, Dakota Studebaker of Paul Richards Chevrolet, and other Miami County Commissioners: Mr. Josh Francis, Mr. Jim Clary and Larry West. Project Artist was Marlee Mickelson Compton MS, CRC , Director/Curator of Miami County Artisan Gallery (MCAG). The base for the Bison was painted by MCAG volunteer interns, Ms. Belle Eisaman and Mr. Larry Killion, from Peru Senior High school, and Ms. Avery Withrow and Ms. Allana Lease, both graduates of Maconaquash Senior High School.