FIRST NATIONAL BANK
PBS stations are broadcasting a documentary on our firmís First National Bank project, entitled Making an American Monument: an Epic Journey in Bronze. Learn how the largest installation of bronze sculpture evolved from conception to installation over 11 years with behind-the-scenes artist studio visits, foundry visits including bronze pourings, installations, and more. Click here to watch a short preview of the documentary. For airing dates and times contact your local PBS station.
For nearly 150 years, family-owned First National Bank has played a significant role in financing growth in the Midlands. In 1854, the Lauritzen family's ancestors arrived in Omaha, Nebraska, and three years later founded Omaha's first bank, trading gold dust and buffalo hides. First National Bank of Omaha and its affiliates are now recognized as the largest privately held bank in the country, with more than 90 banking locations serving more than 6.6 million customers in all 50 states. The Lauritzen family's sixth generation continues to invest in the economic and cultural growth of Omaha and the region. In 1998 the Bank designated two parcels of green space as a sculpture park to the city.
As the bank's art consultant and project manager since 1999, Boody Fine Arts assisted in assembling a team of design professionals and artists, coordinated the multiple site master planning process (now entitled Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness and Pioneer Courage), and has continued to manage and oversee the implementation of the master plan. Currently, the Master Planned sculpture park consists of 123 works of art dispersed over sections of 6 city blocks.
The selected team includes internationally renowned landscape architect Jim Reeves of JVR and Associates, and three of the nation's leading bronze sculptors, Blair Buswell, Ed Fraughton, and Kent Ullberg. Other team members include Leo A. Daly, HDR, RDG, Peter Kiewit and Sons, Hawkins Construction Company, The Fountain People, Architectural Granite and Marble, and a number of subcontractors.
The Master Plan united two interrelated public art sites to create an environmental sculpture where the visitors become participants with the art. This allows the public to feel connected to the monument's history through touching the art, walking around it, and even sitting on some of the smaller animals. Individual works making up the monument are 1.25 times life size and cast predominantly in bronze, creating a uniform appearance and continuity between the two sites. The sites and transition works of art depict life on May 21, 1841, when a wagon train leaves downtown Omaha and proceeds along a dry creek bed (Pioneer Courage). The disturbance stampedes a nearby group of bison and flushes a flock of geese from water (Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness).
Installed in 2005 and 2009, Sculptors Blair Buswell of Highland, Utah, and Ed Fraughton of South Jordan, Utah, created Pioneer Courage with four pioneer families and their covered wagons departing westward from Omaha. Each wagon stands approximately 12' high and more than 40' long when the oxen, horses or mules are placed in their hitches. Individual characters range in height from 3' to 7 1/2'. This site also includes Blair Buswell's Wagon Master that stands at 11' tall and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. The Wagon Master served as a crucial element to wagon trains, guiding their members west and looking after the families and their supplies. Ed's Hunter Group portrays the constant need to provide additional nourishment and supplement the families' meals with meat.
Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness consists of 67 bronze and stainless steel works by Kent Ullberg, N.A., F.N.S.S., of Corpus Christi, Texas. His site occupies the Bank properties on all four corners of the 16th and Dodge intersection as well as works on 15th Street. This wildlife monument includes 3 bulls standing at 8' and weighing nearly 1,400 pounds, several yearling bulls, and 2 cows with their calves, as well as a large water feature with 8' Canada Geese in bronze taking flight. As the geese fly across the street they are attached to 18' bronze trees, a traffic signal, the corner of a building, a light post, 2 other poles, and culminate with several stainless steel geese suspended within the glass atrium of the Bank's headquarters. Each of these works has been strategically placed to engage visitors, particularly children, as they pass.
Kent Ullberg was featured in Wildlife Art magazine's November/December 2007 issue, in an article titled Kent Ullberg's Omaha Project: His Magnum Opus is Complete. To read this article, click here.
Kent Ullberg and Boody Fine Arts were featured in Western Art and Architecture magazine's Winter/Spring 2008 issue, in an article titled They Walk Among Us. To read this article, click here.
JVR DRAWINGS, COLLABORATION, CONSTRUCTION AND INSTALLATION PHOTOS
To view a gallery of JVR drawings, collaboration, and construction and installation time lapse images, click here.
PIONEER COURAGE GALLERY
SPIRIT OF NEBRASKA'S WILDERNESS GALLERY