Bessie Bovine

Bessie the Bovine, a colorful piece of public art, took up residence recently in front of the Baker Heritage Museum at 2480 Grove St.

Friendship and a public art project are the reasons there’s a colorful new bovine in front of the Baker Heritage Museum.

Molly Wilson, who serves on the Baker City Public Arts Commission, is heading a project to place cow sculptures around Baker City.

Her friends, Cammy Warner and Diana Brown, knew about the project. On a trip through Central Oregon last year, the trio discovered a large metal cow at an antique shop in Canyon City.

Wilson knew it was perfect.

All it took was a return trip with a horse trailer, and some hefting, and the blank canvas of a cow came to Baker City.

And there it sat for several months, until moving to the garage of Warner, who volunteered to put the artistic touch on the creature.

“I knew what I wanted to do. I’d do a little here, a little there,” she said.

Her husband Fred helped too — he handled the details while she focused on the abstract art aspect. She used bright, metal-specific spray paint to decorate the hide in blocks of color.

“He helped and we got it done,” Cammy said. “It was fun.”

The Public Arts Commission wanted the cow placed somewhere along Campbell Street.

Warner serves on the Baker County Museum Commission, and the Baker Heritage Museum is located at the corner of Campbell and Grove streets, just east of Geiser-Pollman Park.

She talked to other commission members to see if the museum could host the cow.

The answer was yes.

“I think it catches people’s eyes and might draw them in,” Warner said.

Bessie the Bovine was placed in front of the museum in mid-April.

Wilson wants to grow the herd around Baker City, but the project depends on more fundraising. She’s also looking for a source of metal cow sculptures.

Anyone who would like to support the project can take a donation to Baker City Hall and specify it is for Public Arts Commission’s cow project.

For more information, contact Robin Nudd at City Hall or email her at

Other Public Arts Commission projects include more vinyl wrap decorations on utility boxes around town, and installing an art sculpture by Shawn Peterson outside of Royal Artisan.

To learn more about the Commission’s mission and projects, go to Under “Government,” click on “Public Arts Commission.”

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