When Californian Jim Dolan wanted to attend Montana State University in 1966, he asked to have the extra $180 per quarter out-of-state tuition waved. He justified his request by saying, “I plan to live here and be an asset to the state of Montana.”
As Michel Corriel tells the story in The Montana State University Magazine, Dolan made good on his pledge in an exceptional way, “Four miles north of the Interstate 90 exit to Helena, a few dark dots can be spied along the ridge of a distant hilltop. Drive a bit farther and the dots begin to take shape. Closer still, and the shapes take form. Horses. Grouped and gathered. Fenceless and wild. Sentinels, dark against a deepening cobalt sky.
Jim Dolan’s 39 steel Bleu Horses are an arresting sight, a gift to the people of Montana…”
Set on land donated by Wheat Montana, the horses are far more than just static sculptures according to Corriel:
“Twelve of the horses have bearings in them, so when the wind blows they swivel, black manes moving. One even has another gizmo where the wind makes the horse’s head dip and rise.
‘I tried to place the horses the way I see the horses living in their natural environment according to their nature,’ Dolan said. ‘They’re social. They pick who they want to be around.’
There are several groupings: a mare with a colt, a couple of young stallions along the ridgeline waiting for something to happen, a watchful horse overseeing them all.
‘They’re not representational,’ Dolan said. ‘They’re symbols of horses and what horses mean to Montanans. But at first sight, I want people to believe they are real horses, just for a second.’ ”
And at first sight, that’s not so hard to believe.
Full story here.