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Don Kennell
Trailblazers installation
MIXED MEDIA repurposed steel monuments


DKLA installation at the Bison Recreation Center in Commerce City, CO just outside of Denver.

“Trailblazers” consists of three monumental Bison made from steel positioned along the north wall of the building facing Highway 2. The title of the artwork refers to the legacy of American Bison as singular path makers, who made the first thoroughfares of America with their migrations. These traces were followed by original Americans, became invaluable to explorers and adopted by pioneers. Though usually north and south, several key east west trails were used by railways resulting in the saying that the bison paved the way for the railroads to the Pacific.

“Trailblazers” uses public art to place the building in its larger context, as part of a bigger story. That story is the west, the prairie and its people. From time immemorial until today, the American Bison have shaped our geography, our societies and our hopes for the future in terms of conservation and the ever-changing relationships we humans have with the natural world. Bison are athletic, playful, agile, fast, powerful, a community that moves in concert, a team.

The materials used in this project represent the synergy between the image, the building, the site and the community. Galvanized sheet metal represents the equipment and machinery found in farm communities. Steel with natural oxidization represents the soil and the farmers who tended it and still do. These materials are indigenous to the region. The image itself is an ancient symbol of the bounty of the Prairie.
By utilizing steel, we mirror the heroic qualities of the animals we depict. Whether using repurposed steel or my technique of creating molded shapes from continuously welded steel, we have pushed the limits of the material. This process allows for artworks that are incredibly strong and durable.

The two "small" maquettes created during the design stage of the monument project are now available through POP Gallery, aptly titled Trailblazer I and II. Designed for outdoor living they have weathered beautifully and both the sculpture and the steel platform have acquired a natural rust patina.

They are available individually or as a pair. Contact POP Gallery for details at 505.820.0788 or email

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