The story behind the painted bison in the Fargo area

We’ve all seen them. They are on our streets and inside local businesses, drawing the attention of our curious citizens and temporary tourists alike. We all wonder – what are they doing here? How many of them are there? Where can I find the rest of the herd?

Painted bison in front of Rourke Art Museum

That’s right – I’m talking about the collection of painted bison throughout the FM community that are part of the local art project called “Herd About The Prairie: A Virtual Art Stampede” that was initiated by The Arts Partnership (formerly the Lake Agassiz Arts Council) back in 2005. Few people know very much about the project that was launched in 2005 and concluded with a public unveiling in 2006 at the Fargo Marathon. Since then, these public works of art have been dispersed throughout the community and enjoyed by thousands of people living in and visiting the area. The thing is – most people don’t know about the project or where to find the rest of the herd. Rest assured, the issue has been detected and researched; this is what you need to know:

Herd About The Prairie: A Virtual Art Stampede resulted in 39 full-size bison and 1 calf that were all created in a minimum 90-day timeframe by different local artists that were selected by a jury. There were also 10 tabletop bison that were created as an option for those that didn’t have the money (or space) to spend on a full-size bison. Of these 100lb fiberglass statues, any which were not kept by their sponsors were then allowed to be purchased via a public auction. All proceeds from the auction went back to The Arts Partnership to continue doing creative work within the FM community and support the artists and art organizations that make up their association. Where can you find all of these gems, you ask? With some in other parts of ND/MN region, there are approximately ­20 of these beauties that can be easily found in the FM area. These bison are well-tempered and will allow selfies (don’t try this in the wild, people!). You can see photos of some of the bison on this Pinterest board. Here’s where the bison can be found, and if you’re on a mission to see as many as possible, this map of their locations might be helpful.

  • Fire and Wind
    • NDSU Campus
    • 1834 Research Circle N, Fargo, ND 58102
  • Gogh-Bison-Go
    • Rourke Art Museum
    • 521 Main Ave, Moorhead, MN 56560
  • Tigalo
    • Red River Zoo
    • 4220 21st Avenue SW, Fargo, ND 58104
  • Buffalo Path, The Gathering
    • West Acres Shopping Center
    • 3902 13th Avenue S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Ms. B…Flying Diva
    • YWCA
    • 3000 S University Drive, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Industrial Bison
    • RDO Equipment Company
    • 700 7th Street S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Heartbeat of the Red River Valley
    • Wimmer’s
    • 602 Main Avenue, Fargo, ND 58103
  • West to Dakota
    • Bonanzaville
    • 1351 Main Avenue, West Fargo, ND 58078
  • Aunie
    • FM Convention and Visitors Bureau
    • 2001 44th Street S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Dakota Dream
    • University of Mary (Fargo Campus)
    • 1351 Page Drive S, Ste 103, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Tag, You’re It
    • WDAY
    • 808 3rd Avenue S, Fargo, ND 58103
  • Nights in the Valley
    • Atomic Coffee
    • 222 Broadway, Fargo, ND 58102
  • Brutus
    • Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services
    • 4801 Amber Valley Parkway S, Fargo, ND 58104
  • Wacapi Wanagi (Ghost Dance)
    • Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services
    • 4801 Amber Valley Parkway S, Fargo, ND 58104
  • Mashkode-Pijiki
    • Microsoft