Promise of the Prairie statue
This statue of a pioneer family was sculpted by Loveland, Colorado, resident George W. Lundeen. It is a copy of a work commissioned by the artist's hometown of Holdredge, Nebraska. Like other pioneer family monuments, "Promise of the Prairie" celebrates western settlers' vision for the future. It was dedicated in 1993.
Backstory and Context
This sculpture depicts a pioneer family. Like other pioneer family monuments, it presents a nuclear family as a vision and hope for the future. And like other pioneer family sculptures, it features a father dressed in overalls, a mother wearing a prairie-style gown and apron, and their young son. But Promise of the Prairie strays from other pioneer family monuments in important ways. It emphasizes the married couple rather than the child, and gives the father a greater nurturing role. Most pioneer monuments place a school-aged son in front of his parents, preparing to lead them into the future. Mothers often gaze lovingly at a baby in their arms. In this work, in contrast, the father holds a preschool-aged boy. This emphasizes the father's nurturing role alongside his leadership. Both father and mother gaze into the distance, imagining their future. Rather than gripping books to prepare for the future, the young boy plays with his father's wide-brimmed hat. The boy is barefoot, which was typical for frontier children but is rarely seen in pioneer monuments. On this young boy, it further emphasizes his innocence.
A plaque at the base of the statue declares,
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
It also states that the statue was "Given for the people, by the people." It was dedicated July 22, 1993.
This statue was sculpted by Loveland, Colorado, resident George Wayne Lundeen. He is part of the Lundeen family of sculptors and artists. This work is a copy of a piece commissioned by the artist's hometown of Holdredge, Nebraska. Another copy stands in Westminster, Colorado.
George Lundeen--Biography, Lundeen Sculpture. Accessed September 4th 2019. http://www.lundeensculpture.com/bio-george/.
Promise of the Prairie--Greeley, CO. Accessed September 4th 2019. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7V9T_Promise_of_the_Prairie_Greeley_CO.
Prescott, Cynthia Culver. Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory. University of Oklahoma Press, 2019.