Cowboy poets’ art showing in Fort Buford’s rotundaTwo cowboy art exhibits are running simultaneously this month in the interpretive center at Williston, N.D.’s Fort Buford.
By: Sharon Cox, Art Voices, The Jamestown Sun
Two cowboy art exhibits are running simultaneously this month in the interpretive center at Williston, N.D.’s Fort Buford.
Einar Olstad has a two-year exhibit in the center’s gallery, and during the month of July, William (Bill) Lowman also has a display of his work in the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center’s rotunda.
He will be at MYCIC at 3 p.m., Aug. 19 presenting a stand up version of his books on poetry and art. He has several illustrated publications and my favorite “Spook-n the Wolf,” describes the Lowmans’ experiences with wild animals, North Dakota’s weather and the family’s survival techniques. The Lowmans live in the Badlands. Since many of his paintings deal with the family’s wild-life experiences, his presentation will include the stories behind each art piece.
The Lowmans use their years together as fodder for tall tales, as subjects for art and stories and for playful banter. It’s both refreshing and entertaining.
Over Easter this year, I was among the guests at their lodge, and was privileged to take Easter dinner at their table, replete with their grandchildren, son and his wife, and a funeral director and his wife JoAnn. If the day’s events had been written in a script, it could not have turned out better. With the embalmer and Lowman volleying insults and jabs, the meal played more like a stage presentation than family meal. If Lowman’s August appearance bears any similitude, it will be an enjoyable page-turner.
The poet-artist was in Jamestown a few years back as the Arts Center’s artist in residence, and taught his style of caricature drawing to elementary students. He has paintings as well as drawings, plus book illustrations that he will show during the program in August.
Lowman is a well-known cattle rancher and operates/owns earth-moving machines in the lower end of North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where he and his wife reared their family. They and their children continue to build, ranch and now operate a hunters’ style bed and breakfast, the Lowman Lodge. JoAnn provides meals for those interested (and I assure you, once at her table you would be). Their lodge sleeps at least six in the bunkhouse with additional provisions and space for more.
A full kitchen/bath provides necessities of daily life in the log-cabin style cliff hanging building, while a raised deck off the back gives a space for grilling and lounging away from critters. And to say the view from there is spectacular is to say you’ve just gotta see it to believe it. There are caves and waterfalls, trails and horses for riding if so inclined. I know in April it was perfect weather for the trails, but imagine it would be a bit hot in middle of summer.
Lowman tells stories about the summers as well as the bitter cold winters in his books. He speaks about the bison, cattle and the wild creatures they have encountered as they’ve lived in that remote and pristine location. It’s the opposite of where he’ll be speaking in August. Where the Lowman Ranch is in rocky, dry hills and treeless grasslands, the interpretive center at Ft. Buford is located at the confluence of two mighty rivers: the Missouri and Yellowstone. Trees and hills there are green year-round and like the Lowman Ranch 200 miles southeast, wild animals also frequent the valleys in the area.
But where turkeys are daily guests at the Lowmans, pheasant and bald eagles are regulars at Ft. Buford. Each has its share of deer, wolves and coyotes, and I know for sure wild cats. Those in the Williston/Sidney, Mont., area are big. Having seen footprints wider than my own feet and nearly as long, makes me respectfully aware of the big cat’s presence up there. I saw no footprints at Lowman’s. That doesn’t mean they are not there, however, because they are.
While traveling to the northwestern corner of North Dakota, be sure to stop in at MYCIC. If there this month, Lowman’s work will be there. He will take it with him after his program next month. His presentation is free and open to the public.
If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.