Art-Walking in Cody; Western Town is Home to Historic, Valuable Artwork by Top Western Artists
CODY, Wyo., January 13, 2016 – From a bold and richly detailed mural showing the westward Mormon exodus to a whimsical painting of bare-bottomed cowgirls, artwork found in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country reflects the town’s collective attitude of independence and ambition as well as a deep respect for tradition and history. And most of the museums, galleries and public art displays are within an easy walk of each other so visitors can leisurely explore Cody’s treasures without the hassle of driving and parking.
“Art-walking in Cody is easy, fun and a great way to learn about the history of Yellowstone Country,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm for Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. “Through the artwork found in museums, galleries and even along our sidewalks, Cody visitors are treated to a visual treat while adding a healthy activity to their vacations.”
A day of art-walking
For visitors who want to devote a day to art-walking, Wade suggests starting at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West on the western side of town and moving east along Sheridan Avenue, the town’s main street.
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 got its start with a single striking piece of art – a massive sculpture of the town’s founder called “Buffalo Bill – The Scout” – created by New York heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1924, seven years after Buffalo Bill’s death. The museum itself was established in 1959 and it 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 the promotion of art and artists, and 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.
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. Guests willing to make a short drive can also explore some of the region’s many furniture galleries. Inspired by the town’s most famous furniture designer and builder, Thomas Molesworth and his Shoshone Furniture Company, dozens of furniture-makers have been crafting artistic furniture for more than a quarter century.
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 experiences of early members during their exodus from the East to Utah. The artist was not a member of the church 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.
Bottoms Up. After a day of appreciating the art in Cody, the Bottoms Up Lounge in the Cody Holiday Inn offers a fitting ending. On the wall of the lively lounge is a fun and slightly risqué painting of four britches-less cowgirls gathered on and around a fence. The painting was created by Edward T. Grigware – the same artist behind the epic Cody Mural – and commissioned by an acquaintance of Quinton Blair, the patriarch of the family that owns the Blair Hotels, comprised of the Cody Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn and the Buffalo Bill Village Resort. Grigware used his girlfriend as a model for all four of the cowgirls in the painting.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
The Park County Travel Council website lists information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, weather and more. Travelers wishing to arrange vacation can also call the Park County Travel Council at 1-800-393-2639.