The Keeper of the Plains
|The Keeper of the Plains|
The Keeper at night lit from below and the footbridge spanning the Arkansas River (2013)
|Height||44 ft. (13.4 m)|
The Keeper of the Plains is a 13.4 metres (44 ft) Cor-Ten steel sculpture by Kiowa-Comanche artist Blackbear Bosin. It stands at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers in Wichita, Kansas adjacent to the Mid-America All-Indian Center. Surrounding the base of the statue are multiple displays which describe the local tribes that used to inhabit this area, as well as several fire pits which sometimes light up to illuminate the statue at night. The fire pits, which are known as the Rings of Fire, are lit manually for public safety and run in 15 minute increments. They are generally lit once a night around 9 pm during the summer and sunset during the winter.
The sculpture, commissioned by the city and private organizations to mark the United States Bicentennial, was erected in 1974. It has since become one of Wichita's most recognized and beloved symbols. A spring/summer 2006 project elevated the sculpture on a 30-foot rock promontory so it could be seen from farther away.
A profile image of this statue comprises the motif adopted by the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, a U.S. Air Force flying unit which is based at nearby McConnell Air Force Base. From 1993 through 2004, an image of the statue, along with the words "Keeper of the Plains," appeared on the tails of Boeing KC-135 air refueling tankers assigned to the 22nd ARW.
In popular culture and the arts
Copy of the statue donated by Wichita to Tlalnepantla, Mexico, a sister city of Wichita.