A model for Rawlins, WY, "Flying Horses"

You’re welcome to contact the sculptor for more details and images at

The PARC Program

This is the potential start to a really wonderful project.  It's about horses and railroads.  If you'd like to learn more about the project visit:

Look for the PARC project public vote and survey at


The Model Details

 Here are some images and description of the project I have proposed:

The Model

The Model in it's Proposed Site.

The Specifications

The Preliminary Drawings

The Text

Written Proposal and Intent
Rawlins, Wyoming - Public Art for the Rawlins Community

Sculptor: Reven Marie Swanson

“High Plains Travel”

Moving, rolling, riding, turning.
Swaying, rocking, eyes set on the horizon. 
Across the high blue sky, wind pushing wispy clouds. 
A leaf floats on sea of waving prairie grass. 
A drink from the spring. 
A warm cup of coffee.
A smile to welcome the day’s journey.

Description of the Proposed Sculpture

In consideration for this project in Rawlins, Wyoming, it is proposed to create a sculpture with three kinetic horse pairs suspended on a steel cable between two upright structures resembling train track rails.  The horses fashioned from mild gauge steel and fitted bearings, are brightly finished in durable colors. The support poles fabricated in mild steel balance structural beams.  The mix of kinetic movement, color and bouncing patterns reflects the ‘moving energy” of Rawlins – it’s crossroad for travel, history, industry, commerce, culture, townships and people.

There’s a historical considerations to Rawlins as a geographic crossroads since the discovery of the Rawlins Springs. The outpost soon became part of a clothesline connection to commerce playing a signficant role in the expansion of the Great American West and Transcontinental Railroad.  As time proved, Rawlins continued to grow as a major corridor from East to West.  The construction of Interstate 80 ensured Rawlins the benefit of being a major crossroad.  The history of a “moving culture” filled with automobiles, tractor trailers, rail cars, tourists and businesses.

The site considerations challenges the sculpture to address the existing structures and competing visuals from commercial signs.  The site has both a ‘drive-by’ location as well as a pedestrian use.  The sculpture must be sensitively placed so as not to interfere with the signs or window displays of the adjacent stores, but create a notable attraction.

The visual considerations of the“drive-by” and pedestrian walkway, the sculpture must be simple design, but generate a bold statement.  The background of local businesses creates a mixed visual canvas.  The sculpture rocks in a whimsical fashion – horses leaping in different directions, at different speeds.  The visual element reflects the daily engagement of light, sound and people.  People – going places, doing things – having a good time in Rawlins.

Appropriateness of Design Concept

As a professional sculptor, Ms. Swanson is intrigued by this project because of her travels through Rawlins.  As a kid, she visited family members who lived there and remembers seeing the town through those young eyes.  Recently she passed through Rawlins and stopped in the downtown coffee shop.  It was a bright sunny day.  The cup of coffee was dreamy.

Ms. Swanson designs sculpture that is site-specific and one-of-a-kind.  Her process is to collaborate seeking input from the community and art committee members. 

For this project, she invests time researching the history and culture of Rawlins, WY.  The research uncovers details that the original founders of Rawlins were a tough breed.  That strong gumption to build a city must still drift through their descendants today.

The sculpture represents the essence of the culture, people and history.  A sculpture of this proportion and placement plays a big role in defining the history and culture of it's residence. It creates a sense of place, gathering and reflection.  An image speaks a 1000 words, so does a sculpture placed on a downtown corner speaks about the folks who have made Rawlins their home.

The collaborative efforts to create a one-of-a-kind artwork, drives her interest to this project.

The Horses

Fabricated in sheet metal mild steel, the shapes are cut and formed using a planishing hammer and plasma cutter.  Each pair is unique rendered from the influences of the Native Americans who migrated on the High Plains.  At the center, the horse pairs are mounted to the suspension cable using a double-seal bearing construction.  The bearings allow for wind-powered motion.  A powder coat finish applied to all steel finishes contains UV protection.  Additional colors may be applied using a high-quality enamel paint. The sculptor uses a unique, proprietary process in her powder coatings that produces a vibrant energy.

To engage the horses movement, a weight is attached below the bearing housing.  The weights represents cargo, the root of most travel through the area.  By carefully balancing the weights, the horses will generate irregular movements, giving an organic and predictable quality to horses’ movement.

Support Poles and Cable

In an upright stream, two support poles suspends a 3/8" stranded steel cable.  The hardware of the cable attachments tensions the cable and secures the height of the discs at 12-feet above ground.  The support poles standing approximately no more than 18.5-feet above ground are finished in a random polished steel.  The uprights are constructed to depict train track rails.

Foundation Design

A foundation design for the support pole may incorporate two different designs.  One design specifies an underground foundation pier.  The other design implements an above ground pedestal.  The pedestal is well-anchored to the substrate ground.  The uprights are fastened by using a base plate and cathedral joints.  The sculptor has experience installing both types of the foundation designs and would be able to provide support for their installations.  For more information, please consult the sample Public Engineer rendering included in
this proposal.

All designs and modifications to the sculptor’s presentation rendering are subject to change due to the assessment and approval of the Public Engineer, building code requirements and the City Engineer’s permit and approval.


The sculpture is built with the highest quality materials available within the appropriated budget.  The sculptor builds her work in a fashion to anticipate at least a 20-year life span.  All materials are designed to withstand the harsh Wyoming weather conditions with UV-protection applied to finished surfaces, double-sealed bearings and appropriate support poles.  Standard colors are incorporated so that if any future touch-up is required, the spray equivalents are readily available.


The sculpture requires little maintenance.  An annual washing of the sculpture with mild soap and water lengthens the life of the colored pieces ten-fold by removing pollution residue and bird droppings.  An application of commonly used car wax to the colored surfaces shines the colored surfaces ‘like new’ if applied every three years.

In the event the support poles are marked by graffiti, the surface may be cleaned with ‘graffiti remover’ or
mineral spirits.

Insurances and Warranties

The sculpture maintains liability insurance for both professional endeavors and vehicles.  All contract labor for fabrication and installation will carry the same insurances.  The sculptor guarantees the workmanship is of the highest quality possible and may warranty her workmanship for as long as the City deems necessary.

Notes to the Model

The model has been built to scale of 1-inch equals 1-foot. The components are all in proportion with the exception of the cable stops.  The cable stops are larger than expected construction.

About the Sculptor

Reven Marie Swanson has been working as a professional sculptor since 1989.  She has completed numerous commissions and permanent installations.  Her work may be viewed along the Front Range and throughout the West and Mid-West, including permanent installations in Gillette and Jackson, Wyoming.  She has earned many awards and recognition where ever her work travels.  She understands the intricacies of fabricating sculptures for the public.  Her track record collaborating with structural engineers, city officials, architects and neighborhood representatives exemplifies her professional character and experience.  She has never missed a deadline and always meets her budget.

Ms. Swanson builds one-of-kind unique contemporary sculptures.  In doing so, every project presents different challenges.  She has a strong collection of vendors who understand her work and are ready to assist in the fabrication of quality sculpture.  All these vendors are long-time businesses and local to the Front Range.  This allows her to provide the ‘most art for the dollar’.

The Building Energy with Art project personally inspires and captures the excitement and creative energy of Ms. Swanson.  It’s a project close to her own upbringing and personal experiences living and traveling and visiting Rawlins, Wyoming.

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