The Capitol Avenue Bronze Project has brought beauty, art, and a sense of pride to downtown Cheyenne. To date 25 bronze statues have been installed throughout downtown with 30 more planned to adorn the streets of Cheyenne in the near future. The bronze statues depict a wide range of subjects including: western figures, people, wildlife and scenes from everyday life that represent the experience of Cheyenne, the state and its residents.
Harvey Deselms, owner of Deselms Fine Art and Custom Framing, came up with the idea about 12 years ago to place bronze statues in Cheyenne’s downtown. The first bronze statue for this project was installed by the 2010 Leadership Cheyenne class at the Cheyenne Depot Plaza, and in the following year a couple other bronze statues were donated and installed downtown. The project had lost some of its steam until last summer when Deselms got six donors together and went to Mayor Patrick Collins to present his idea.
Deselms said Collins loved it. He’d seen bronze statues installed in other cities across the region and nation, such as the bronze presidential statues in Rapid City, South Dakota, and wanted to do the same in Cheyenne. The Capitol Avenue Bronze Project committee, all made up of statue donors, formed quickly afterward.
The citizens of Cheyenne have really stepped up to help in the beautification of downtown Cheyenne through the Capital Avenue Bronze Project. All of the bronze statues are funded by private donors, not public funds. The cost of the statues varies. One of the more recent pieces cost around $40,000 to make and install. The overall cost of the project has been about $1.5 million.
“In my wildest dreams, I never thought the project would have grown to this size,” Deselms said. “I thought we’d get a couple installed and that would be a great legacy. But it’s just exploded in popularity over the last year.”
“By being involved in this project, they can not only leave their mark, but also support the city in its beautification goals,” he said.
It brought a smile to Harvey Deselms’ face when he saw all of the people taking selfies with the different bronze statues in downtown Cheyenne during Cheyenne Frontier Days.
“When I see people admiring the statues, it just gives me this sense of pride and gratitude,” said Deselms.