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From a bold and richly detailed mural showing the westward Mormon exodus to a massive sculpture of the town founder Buffalo Bill Cody created by famous New York heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Cody’s art scene is robust, diverse, and easily accessible. And it’s making headlines.

In just a few days this summer, both USA Today and Travel + Leisure Magazine listed Cody among the top art destinations in the country. Cody was the only town in the U.S. to be included in both lists. Livability and MarketWatch also featured Cody as being in the top nine small cities to visit for its “cool” and “stellar” art scenes. 

Visitors to Cody will quickly discover the town’s cool art vibe during their first stroll down the street. Nearly every street and corner is lined with sculptures, such as a life-size sculpture of Buffalo Bill Cody “sitting” on a functional bench called “Born Under a Wandering Star.” 

So put on your most comfortable shoes and join us on a walking tour of Cody’s famous art scene. We suggest starting at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and moving east along Sheridan Ave., the town’s main street.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Locals explore the Buffalo Bill Center of the West
(Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

The five-museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West can take days to explore, and all five museums under its roof merit time and attention. For anyone who appreciates Western art, however, the Whitney Western Art Museum offers some of the best displays of the art of the American West to be found anywhere. The museum was established in 1959 and includes historic paintings, sculptures, and prints created by artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and Thomas Moran. 

Cody Country Art League

Just across the street from the Center of the West, the Cody Country Art League is dedicated to promoting art and artists. It has a variety of displays and artist shows housed in the original Buffalo Bill Museum, now on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is also home to the Cody Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, where travelers can obtain maps and information about all of the region’s attractions.

The Galleries of Cody

Many of the town’s art galleries are located within walking distance of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. They display paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and other original pieces created by local and regional artists.

By Western Hands Museum & Gallery

Just a few years old, the unusual – and free – By Western Hands Museum & Gallery was inspired by Thomas Molesworth. His Cody-based Shoshone Furniture Company became known for its creations of functional, artistic furniture that was popularized by Cody’s dude ranches as well as in lodges such as the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The facility is dedicated to the preservation of Western design, with a gallery displaying the functional art of locals, as well as a museum and space for workshops.

The Cody Mural Historic Site

A short four-block walk north of Sheridan Ave. takes visitors to the Cody Mural Historic Site in the rotunda of the Church of Latter-Day Saints in downtown Cody. The massive mural by Chicago artist Edward Grigware depicts the beginning of the church and the experiences of early members during their exodus from the East to Utah.

Art-Walking in Cody

The artist was not a church member, so he spent nearly a year studying its history and expansion into the West. His stunning interpretation draws visitors of all faiths from around the world. The historic site is about to get a $3.5 million upgrade that will greatly enhance the visitor experience.

Pioneer Museum

A stop to see the Cody Mural should also include a walk through the Pioneer Museum on the same site. The museum includes commissioned pieces as well as works by local artists. These original creations also help tell the story of the LDS pioneers. 

Art-Walking in Cody 1

A Vacation in Cody Yellowstone is a Work of Art

Whether you’re an art lover or an artist looking for inspiration, Cody Yellowstone is a must-visit destination. Start planning your getaway today with your free vacation planning guide.