Tribune staff reports

One of the five bison Jackson County received from the state will be introduced to the public Thursday at Cafe Batar on U.S. 50, east of Seymour.

The 5-foot tall, life-sized fiberglass bison has been named Bloomer because it has been painted in a collage of wildflowers native to Indiana.

Those flowers were painted to look like cutleaf coneflowers, wild geranium, violets, morning glories, peonies and tulip trees by Darnell Dukes, director of Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour.

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“Flowers brighten everyone’s day, and this colorful bison is sure to put a smile on your face,” said Dukes, who spent more than 50 hours designing and painting Bloomer the past three weeks.

Cafe Batar, a restaurant, store and gourmet sweet shop at 12649 E. U.S. 50, sponsored Bloomer in partnership with Vision Financial Group.

Bloomer and the other four bison are the results of the Bison-tennial Public Art Project.

Jackson County United Way in partnership with the Indiana Bicentennial Commission and the Indiana Association of United Ways is overseeing project to artists to paint the bison.

The bison all will eventually find permanent homes throughout the county but can be spotted at different places throughout the remainder of this year.

A second bison has been painted pink for HOPE-Medora Goes Pink cancer awareness day Oct. 8. That bison also features ribbons in the many colors of cancer painted upon it by Nick Walden.

A third one has been painted with scenes of historic places and buildings, including the courthouse, the Medora Covered Bridge and the fire tower in the state forest east of Brownstown. That bison, painted by Brownstown Elementary School art teacher Robb Reynolds, will wind up at the courthouse and is being sponsored by the Jackson County Visitor Center.

The fifth bison, painted to look like a bison, will spend its days in Vallonia and is being sponsored by the Jackson County History Center.

“Being a part of the bison project enables us to promote something new and exciting to out-of-town guests, giving them another reason to visit Jackson County” said Barbara Tracy, Cafe Batar’s owner. “Our wooded environment and gardens adjoining the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge are a spectacular location for displaying the life-sized bison.”

The bison are a part of a statewide project to celebrate Indiana’s rich and diverse history and unique features as part of this year’s bicentennial celebrations around the state.

Jackson County’s bison are going to have a busy summer and fall, spending time at festivals and at the county fair’s seven-day run, which began July 24. They will participate in a countywide bicentennial celebration planned for this fall at Freeman Field in Seymour.

The bison also will be located along the route of the state Bicentennial Torch Relay, which begins Sept. 9 in Corydon and ends Oct. 15 at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Once the celebrations wind down after Statehood Day on Dec. 11, the five bison will find more permanent, secure homes in the county.

Bloomer will be on display at Cafe Batar on Thursday through Sept. 13. He will then join the herd of other Jackson County bison going on tour to many of the fall festivals and bicentennial celebrations in the area. He will return to Cafe Batar on Oct. 20 through Nov. 26.

Cafe Batar is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.