WICKENBURG – Seven new residents have moved (or been moved) into Wickenburg and they’re permanent in the strictest sense of the word. They stand along the main thoroughfares as reminders of the city’s heritage as one of the last vestiges of the Old West. They never move, never blink, never mind posing for tourist cameras. They can’t because they’re bronze sculptures, strategically installed in front of business places and tourist attractions.
One is a bronze schoolteacher waiting at the train station.
Around the corner, a grizzled old bronze miner pulls his donkey along the sidewalk. A bronze jailbird sits forlornly in chains; and a bronze vaquero strums his guitar in front of a saloon. Elsewhere, a bronze cowboy dances with his bronze dance hall gal and a bronze businesswoman stands in front of the hotel she helped build.
Each is life-size and strikingly realistic because the figures were painted after being cast. They are the work of J. Seward Johnson, who spent considerable time with Wickenburg historians and civic leaders to determine which characters would best represent the concept. The artist also sculpted 16 lesser figures (rattlesnakes, gila monsters and roadrunners) which are situated across the downtown area.