Reed Spencer was a student in Carl Granzow’s (Art) Advanced Sculpture course when he created Buffalo, the sculpture that now resides on the south coulee on the University campus, in 1982. Students in the class were asked to create something that related to the history of the area that would stand up in the environment.One night after dark, Spencer and a friend clandestinely placed Buffalo in a pickup, drove along the coulee and set it up. It was an instant success. When Spencer received a call from the President’s Office a few days later, he wasn’t asked to take it down. Spencer was pleasantly surprised to hear that they really liked it.
After the University decided not to purchase the work, numerous faculty members from across campus collected $450 and bought it from Spencer. It was their intention that the sculpture remain with the University in perpetuity.
Spencer says that his idea was “to create an image of something that was once there, but is now gone.” Granzow refers to the piece as “a drawing on the horizon in space” or a “contour drawing.”
Today, Spencer is a computer science and art teacher at Willow Creek Composite High School in Claresholm. He is happy that his Buffalo still provides enjoyment to the University community.
This story was originally published in the University of Lethbridge internal publication, University of Lethbridge Legend, by Mike Perry, University Archivist in April 2005.