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Serving: IN
painted buffalo at the Indiana State Fair Tom J. Bechman
ART ON DISPLAY: Painted buffalo statues appeared at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday in 2017. Who says ag and art can’t complement each other?

Who says ag people don’t appreciate fine art?

Hayhurst’s Hayloft: Here’s a look back at a different kind of “horsing around.”

Were you ever told to “stop horsing around” as a kid? The phrase took a new spin in 2007 when Terre Haute’s Sheldon Swope Art Museum created its own summerlong public art exhibit, “Horsing Around.”

With the Indianapolis Colts holding their summer training camp at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for several years, the west-central Indiana city embraced the opportunity and its many benefits. The museum launched a fundraiser where local businesses and organizations sponsored fiberglass colts, and local artists were commissioned to paint them.

The 30 sculptures were each 4.5 feet tall, 4 feet long and 11 inches wide. They were primarily located downtown, but many were also proudly displayed by private individuals.

According to the Terre Haute Tribune Star, for a $2,500 sponsorship, the museum touted the artwork as a community project that benefited the Swope’s education programs and exhibitions. Similar projects have been done with cows in Chicago and pigs in Venice, Fla.

Artistic themes for the Terre Haute colts ranged from the medical emphasis “Scrubs” for sponsor Union Hospital to “In God We Trust” for the mayor’s office. “Many Hands,” a colorful primary collage of painted hands, stood at the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, while Hulman-owned Clabber Girl Corp.’s “Race Horse” was painted like a black-and-white checkerboard and displayed at the business’s historic headquarters.

I think it’s time to reinvent the artistic array of animals for other organization’s worthy efforts. How about the Indiana Sheep Association offering wooly-looking lambs and sheep sculptures for families to paint and auction off? Boar and dairy goat breeders could join forces to raise money for their state shows with custom sculptures.

Creativity and ingenuity started this trend several years ago. Let’s keep it going in the name of Indiana agriculture.

Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute, Ind.

TAGS: Farm Life
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