New art installation arrives at the Woodcock Nature Center on the Wilton, and the Ridgefield border

A new art installation has recently arrived at the Woodcock Nature Center, located at 56 Deer Run Road in Wilton.

Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Weir Farm National Historical Park, one of the seven life-size Centennial Art Bison has found its new home at the Nature Center.

The Centennial Art Bison was previously created to commemorate the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. As of late January, the bison art sculpture has found its new home and has been fully installed at the Woodcock Nature Center.

The piece of art is located on a hilltop that overlooks the wetlands and the forestry lining the southern end of the Nature Center’s preserve along its orange trail.

According to the Nature Center, the Art Bison is a wooden life-size silhouette of an American bison that is covered with the paintings of Weir Preserve artist Sperry Andrews, created in 1985.

Andrews was an integral part of one of three generations of artists who previously lived and created their art at Weir Farm.

The Art Bison were previously placed throughout Weir Farm’s historic landscape from 2016 to 2018. At that point, the bison was not covered with watercolor paintings.

A number of years after it was initally featured, the statue was then covered with paintings from the three generations of artists who lived, and created art at Weir Farm.

Weir Farm, which is listed as a National Historical Park, is located at 735 Nod Hill Road.

Woodcock noted that the statue also paid tribute to the American bison, which serves as the symbol of the U.S. National Park Service.

Six more bison have also been relocated to be on display at several local schools including Ridgefield Academy, the Columbus Magnet School in Norwalk, and the Cider Mill Elementary School in Wilton.

A number of other bison have been moved to the G&B Cultural Center in Wilton, and the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.

Each Art Bison features a descriptive plaque on its back that details the artwork that the sculpture shows.

In its new location, the bison “will inspire visitors to the Nature Center,” they said in a release, noting that it will provide a bridge to appreciate local art of the past.

“The Centennial Art Bison were a great success, capturing the imagination of more than 100,000 visitors to the park,” the President of the Friends of Weir Farm, Judy Wander, said of the new initiative.

She continued, adding that the bison’s new home privide’s ample opportunity for visitor appreciation.

“We are extremely grateful to Woodcock Nature Center for providing a new home for this Art Bison where it will continue to delight visitors,” Wander said. “The setting is a perfect location to showcase the artwork of Sperry Andrews and inspire the public to enjoy art outside in nature.”

“Woodcock is thrilled to provide a place for this unique piece of art to continue to be appreciated by the community,” Woodcock Nature Center Executive Director Lenore Eggleston-Herbst said.

The sculptures will also be featured in upcoming programs.

“Our educators are eager to incorporate it into our ongoing programming related to land history, native animals and habitats as well as the intersection of art and nature in our culture. We welcome visitors to experience the bison and the rest of our 150-acre preserve on their own time dawn to dusk daily,” Eggleston-Herbst said.

While surveying the art featured on the bison, visitors can also experience the many aspects that the Nature Center offers such as nearly four miles of publicly accessible woodland trails and historic stone walls and stands made from old maple, beech, oak and hickory that traverse the trails. Woodcock also features a pond and many wetlands areas that are home to a variety of local wildlife, including snakes, frogs and lizards.

Woodock also boasts an “Everglades-style boardwalk” that allows rare access through part of the rich, abundant wetlands nestled in the woods of the property.