Bronze buffalo paintout brings regional artists to Owensboro.

The 2017 BRONZE BUFFALO FESTIVAL at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, September 21 to 23, will be highlighted by an Exhibition and Gala Saturday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The Gala will feature live and silent auctions, Kentucky cuisine, spirits and live jazz by Louisville’s Greg Walker Trio.  Complementing the event is an exhibition of paintings from the annual BRONZE BUFFALO EN PLEIN AIR PAINTOUT, designed to document Owensboro and Daviess County as they appear in 2017.

As a part of the festival, dozens of visiting artists from surrounding states visit Owensboro for the BRONZE BUFFALO EN PLEIN AIR PAINTOUT two days prior to the Gala to render paintings of familiar local sites, the people and special events.  All of the paintings completed in the competition will be presented in a one-night exhibition and offered for sale at the Gala.  Purchase and Merit Awards totaling $3,000 will be distributed by the juror, noted Kentucky painter Jim Cantrell of Bardstown, Ky.

Spectacular jewelry will be highlighted in the Gala’s live auction, including a white gold diamond sapphire bracelet and ring appraised at $25,000. A special feature is a six piece collection of Irish Waterford Crystal, including 4 candlesticks, a hurricane lamp and a large serving bowl.  Silent auction items are antiques, original art, weekend retreat vacation packages, fine wines and bourbons. Mick Ford with Ford Auction and Realty Company is the Auctioneer.

Six artists have been named BRONZE BUFFALO ARTISTS and invited to each donate a painting to be auctioned as a benefit for the museum.  These artists – Todd Derr, Iris Gentry, Katie Lowing, John A. Medley Jr., Joe Overby and Stacey Higdon – will be introduced at the Gala.

The Festival and Gala are sponsored by museum patrons Dr. and Mrs. R. Wathen Medley, Jr., Swedish Match North America and Atmos Energy Company. A special feature of the Gala, “A Bourbon Tasting”, is being presented by O.Z. Tyler Distillery. Master of Ceremonies for the Gala will be H. Dean Jones II.

Admission is $50 per person and Friends of the OMFA Foundation receive a discount, as their admission is $40 per person. Reservations can be made online at or by phoning the museum at 270-685-3181.  Proceeds from the Gala will be designated to benefit the museum’s continuing education and outreach programs for the community and region.

The Buffalo theme for the Gala is based upon the museum’s two heroic-sized bronze buffalo installed in its Ryan Park along Frederica Street.  The bronzes were commissioned to initiate the Bronze Buffalo Trace, a visual arts documentation designed to celebrate the origins of Owensboro.  Present-day Frederica Street began as a buffalo trace through which settlers made their way to the banks of the Ohio River to establish the settlement of Yellow Banks.

The bronze buffalo, Into the Wind and Meadowlands Pair, were gifts to the museum and the community from Mary Lou Steele and her late husband, Robert Steele, and former Mayor and Mrs. Ron Payne.  The bronzes were created by the noted American wildlife sculptor, T. D. Kelsey, of Texas.

The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is located at the corner of 9th and Frederica streets in Owensboro, Ky., and is open Tuesday through Friday, Noon to 5 p.m. and weekends, 1 to 4 p.m.  Admission is free but donations are encouraged.  For more information, visit the museum’s website, or phone 270-685-3181.