Around Kansas Blackbear Bosin

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas, I’m Deb Bisel. Even though he was born in Oklahoma, the Kiowa Comanche Blackbear Bosin adopted Wichita as his hometown and of course one of Wichita’s most iconic works of art was done by Blackbear Bosin. The “Keeper of the Plains” is a 44 foot tall steel sculpture that embodies the essence of the American Indian’s relationship to the Great Plains. And it’s just an incredible work of art. If you’ve even been to Wichita you can’t avoid seeing it. He was just a remarkable man. Born in 1921 in Anadarko, Oklahoma, most of his early surroundings were spent in the Comanche community. And he attended St. Patrick’s Mission School and that’s where he became exposed to the work of the five Kiowa painters. He started painting and he never ceased until he died August 9th, 1980. Now when he was going to trade school he sold his paintings for $2.50. And he left Oklahoma to go to the Marine Corps during World War II and while serving he was given the opportunity to hold his first one man show, actually in Honolulu. It was a sell out. When he came out of the Marine Corps he went to Wichita and that was his home for thereafter and he left an incredible mark on that community. And everywhere you go throughout the community of Wichita he was recognized. But then he was recognized not only nationally but internationally. He was featured in magazines and he was commissioned by the Franklin Mint to produce a metallic historical series by the U.S. Department of the Interior and to create several paintings. Besides being recognized as an artist Blackbear Bosin held executive positions as the Mid-America All Indian Center Board of Trustees, the Indian Center Museum’s Acquisition Board of Wichita and the Kansas Arts Commission. He was made a fellow of International Arts and Letters in Switzerland. And one of his most noted honors was he was the Governor’s Artist when Governor Robert Bennett was in office in 1977. Blackbear Bosin, one of those incredible Kansas people that you will want to find out more about. We’ll be right back.