A powwow aptly marked this month’s 40th anniversary of the Keeper of the Plains, the 44-foot Cor-Ten steel sculpture that was designed by Blackbear Bosin and dedicated on May 18, 1974. Bosin, a Kiowa-Comanche painter, made the Keeper a gift to the city. Given that it’s become the most treasured and identifiable symbol of Wichita, it’s hard to believe now that it cost just $28,000 to fabricate and install at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers. The dissent seven years ago over its updated surroundings, including its dramatic suspension bridges and “ring of fire,” has subsided, thankfully, with the Keeper’s plaza having become a favorite spot for visitors and locals alike. “It has conveyed everything I wanted to say,” Bosin once said. And 40 years later, the Keeper stands taller and prouder than ever, reflecting both Wichita’s cultural beginnings and aspirations.
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