Woodcock Nature Center and the Friends of Weir Farm National Historical Park have found a new home for one of the seven life-size Centennial Art Bison, created to commemorate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.
The two organizations announced the arrival of its new art installation at Woodcock Nature Center, where the Art Bison will sit perched on a hilltop overlooking the wetlands and forest of the southern end of the Woodcock preserve along the orange trail. The wooden life-size silhouette of an American bison is covered with the watercolor image of “The Weir Preserve” created in 1985 by artist Sperry Andrews, who was one of many artists who lived and created at Weir Farm.
Previously placed throughout Weir Farm’s historic landscape from 2016 to 2018, the Art Bison were covered with paintings created by the three generations of artists who lived at Weir Farm. They also paid tribute to the bison as the national animal and a symbol of the National Park Service.
Two other Art Bison have found homes at Wilton locations — one at Cider Mill School and the other at the Gilbert & Bennett Cultural Center. Three others have been installed at Ridgefield Academy, Norwalk’s Columbus Magnet School, and the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. Each Art Bison has a descriptive plaque on the back detailing the artwork.
Officials hope that in its new location, the Art Bison will inspire Woodcock Nature Center visitors to appreciate the landscape and think about the important connections between art, nature and creativity.
“The Centennial Art Bison were a great success, capturing the imagination of more than 100,000 visitors to the park,” Judy Wander, President of the Friends of Weir Farm, said. “We are extremely grateful to Woodcock Nature Center for providing a new home for this Art Bison, where it will continue to delight visitors. The setting is a perfect location to showcase the artwork of Sperry Andrews and inspire the public to enjoy art outside in nature.”
Woodcock Executive Director Lenore Eggleston-Herbst is thrilled that the nature center will be a place for this unique piece of art to continue to be appreciated by the community.
“Our educators are eager to incorporate it into our ongoing programming related to land history, native animals and habitats as well as the intersection of art and nature in our culture,” Eggleston-Herbst said. “We welcome visitors to experience the bison and the rest of our 150-acre preserve on their own time dawn to dusk daily.”
Located on 150 acres of state-protected land, the Woodcock Nature Center includes a pond, wetlands and nearly four miles of publicly accessible woodland trails. The Center is home to a variety of living local and exotic creatures including snakes, frogs and lizards, and also currently houses two non-releasable birds of prey.
The preserve is a haven for aquatic life and a remarkable variety of birds. Along the trails are historic stone walls and stands of old maple, beech, oak and hickory trees. An Everglades-style boardwalk allows rare access through part of the rich, abundant wetlands nestled in the woods. In these graceful surroundings, young and old can experience the rich, renewing world of nature. Woodland trails are open to all, sunrise to sunset, every day of the year.
The Center staff works with the local protected wildlife to serve as a resource for educating the community about our natural surroundings through public outreach, school field trips and visits, on-site birthday parties, after-school programs and an extremely popular summer camp. For a complete schedule of activities visit the Woodcock website.
Friends of Weir Farm is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit partner of Weir Farm National Historical Park (NHP). The Friends work to engage the community in a deeper appreciation of Weir Farm NHP, raise funds to enhance the visitor experience, and foster the next generation of park stewards. They also advocate for Weir Farm NHP and support meaningful projects and programs that promote the natural, recreational, and cultural resources that make it unique.
Visitors to Weir Farm National Historical Park can see the home and studio of America’s most beloved Impressionist, J. Alden Weir, and walk in the footsteps of a world-class artist. Set against a rural Connecticut landscape that has been painted by thousands of artists from 1882 to the present, Weir Farm is a national legacy of American Impressionism, the creative spirit, and historic preservation. Explore this National Park for Art and experience what Weir described as “The Great Good Place.” Learn more online.