I remember the first time I stood atop Scotts Bluff. The ranger on duty told us that when our pioneer ancestors reached this point, they had accomplished one third of their journey. I looked all around at the vista from the top of the bluff. It is now surrounded by parceled farm land, but I could imagine the rolling hills of grasses that those pioneers had to cross to make their sojourn. In those days, the grasses grew taller than the wagon wheels and often the heads of the people.
The tall grass prairie was a unique ecosystem of the Great Plains. It ranged from Canada to Northern Texas, with Nebraska at its heart. It was home to a wide variety of wildlife; birds, gophers, badgers, even bears and bison. It became home to the adventurous of heart who homesteaded and settled on the prairie. I can still imagine the oceans of tall grass surrounding those lonely travelers, making waves across the horizon.
Material and Construction
This Nebraska By Heart artwork is a monument to that landscape which is now mostly gone from our heartland. The painted heart evokes the impression of those waving grasses. Three dimensional fronds made of fiberglass rods spring from the base of the heart, responding to our Nebraska breezes and recalling the movement of the prairie grass. The piece is a portal through time, capturing a glimpse of what our heartland looked like years before our arrival. That wild expanse is still the heart of the prairie and those who make this land our home.