Return of the buffalo: Artists selected to repaint buffalo statues at City Hall and Central Park

Drew Butler
Artists have now been chosen to repaint the buffalo statues at Central Park and City Hall. The refurbished statues will make their debut later this spring.

Anyone missing the buffalo statues in front of City Hall and Central Park will not have to wait much longer for their return. The pair had been in place for more than 15 years when the city took them down for repairs last fall. The city then partnered with Create Ardmore and the Ardmore Beautification Council to find artists to paint new designs on the newly repaired buffaloes.

Dozens of artists submitted sketches, and just last week the winners were announced. The winning artists will now be spending the next few weeks bringing their designs to life, and the new and improved statues will be unveiled later this spring.

Assistant City Manager Kevin Boatright said the city arranged for structural repairs and got both statues primed and ready to go. Now the winning artists will receive $250 from ABC for paint and supplies, and after the project is complete Create Ardmore will award each artist $500.

The city commissioners chose Shei Phan to paint the buffalo in front of City Hall and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board selected Taylor Tucker to paint the buffalo for Central Park. Boatright said the time frame for how long the projects will take is a bit up in the air because everyone involved wants the project to be done right.

“Basically, we’re going to give them the next month or two to do their work, but it’s kind of a guess as to how long it will take,” Boatright said. “It’s a fairly large project, and we don’t want to rush it. We think public art is very important, and we’re happy to be a part of this joint venture with some other great local organizations. We hope everyone will be able to enjoy the results for years to come.”

Create Ardmore Chair Maria Wilkinson said that they were thrilled with the amount of entries received for the project, and she said there will soon be another opportunity to paint more buffalo.

“There are still two more buffalo to be painted here in town,” Wilkinson said. “One is at the depot and one is at Hardy Murphy Coliseum. We’re moving both to the coliseum to make them a pair, so there’s going to be a new round of submissions for Hardy Murphy.”

Wilkinson said the upcoming project will be in partnership with the Chickasaw Nation. Once all the details are finalized, Create Ardmore will make another call to artists, and the Hardy Murphy Coliseum will select the winning design.