The Composer

Categories: 2024 May-June Issue, Bronze, Buswell, Blair, and Sculpture.

The year is 1841, and the sounds of men and animals fill the streets of what would one day become Omaha, Nebraska, as the first serious group of pioneers sets out along the Oregon Trail. From high atop a rearing horse, a wagon master calls to the party of covered wagons, urging the travelers through a dry creek bed and toward a new life out West.

This is not a scene from a new Taylor Sheridan television series; it’s a six-block-long monumental installation in downtown Omaha, something Utah-based sculptor Blair Buswell has been contributing to for the past 20 years. “I’m very proud of what my partners and I came up with,” he says, adding that he collaborated on the award-winning installation with fellow sculptors Ed Fraughton and Kent Ullberg, as well as the late, renowned landscape architect Jim Reeves. “Being part of this team has been a super experience.”

The youngest of five children, Buswell is no stranger to working on a team. Growing up in North Ogden, Utah, he played several sports in school and enjoyed skiing and riding horses during family camping trips in the mountains. When he wasn’t outdoors, he was often copying Norman Rockwell magazine covers in pencil and making his own toys out of plasteline clay that came in four colors. “This was before Play-Doh,” says the 67-year-old artist. “I would mix red and yellow together to make orange for the skin color. Then I would make blue pants, a yellow shirt, and a red hat, and that’s how I’d make my cowboys and Indians.”

Read the full article in the May/June 2024 issue.

Risky Business

18″ high by 16″ wide by 32″ long

Trading for Directions

Life and 1/4