First National Campus

First National Sculpture Parks

"What I like about the story of the great wagon train migration across America is the daring, the tenacity and the innovativeness of the pioneer spirit that opened the West."

Bruce R. Lauritzen
Chairman, First National Bank

Information about Pioneer CourageInformation about Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness
Pioneer Courage ParkSpirit of Nebraska's Wilderness Park

General Information

Omaha was a gateway to the nineteenth-century west, and First National wanted to commemorate springtime in the region, before the wagon trains arrived. The fact that the settings for the two parks are not adjacent created a challenge for the team of artists and planners, who found a way to weave the parks together through the urban landscape. That was the genesis of Pioneer Courage by Blair Buswell and Edward Fraughton and Spirit of Nebraska’s Wilderness by Kent Ullberg.

Beginning at 14th and Capitol Streets, a wagon train leaves Omaha and proceeds along a dry creek bed (Pioneer Courage). The train disturbs a nearby group of bison, causing them to stampede down 15th Street onto Dodge, where they flush a flock of geese from a nearby pond (Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness). The geese take flight in and around the intersection of 16th and Dodge Streets, and the sculpture narrative concludes with these majestic Canada Geese flying into and through the First National Tower Winter Garden Atrium. First National Sculpture Parks flow together from the approaching wagons to the running bison and lifting geese, creating ghostlike images which transition through both time and space of modern day Omaha.

Project Scope

Five city blocks were transformed into a green urban sculpture park depicting a moment in the rich history of Omaha, Nebraska. Using the city’s architecture and urban landscape created a unique setting in the downtown area for one of the largest installations of bronze and stainless steel works of art in the country and in the world.