Old Buff sculpture in Topeka park gets facelift from local artist

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Old Buff sculpture in Cushinberry Park is getting a new facelift from a local artist.

Shawnee County Parks + Recreation says artist DeAna Morrison is working to restore Old Buff - Cushinberry Park’s iconic buffalo sculpture. It said the sculpture was once the mascot of the Kansas Technical Institute which served the Black population from Kansas and around the nation from 1895 to 1955.

SCP+R said it contracted Morrison to restore the sculpture. It said Morrison is the owner of Amused Gallery in NOTO and has replaced 20% - 30% of the sculpture, which through the years, has been set on fire, spray painted and had termites and wasp’s nests in addition to missing parts.

After the missing parts were replaced and the sculpture was covered in a concrete mixture, Parks and Rec. said Morrison will use mural paint to restore it to close to its original color. It said she anticipates completing the project early during the week of June 13, weather permitting.

SCP+R noted that Cushinberry Park can be found across the parking lot from the Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site. It said the park is named for Grant Cushinberry, a WWII combat medic and well-known philanthropist who established God’s Little 1/2-acre - a garden and donations clearinghouse to serve the needy.

For three decades, the Department said Cushinberry ran Topeka’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner. It said he was known for taking underprivileged children to fairs, ball games and circuses. It said he was also known for his ability to reach across racial lines.

SCP+R said Cushinberry Park has seen a number of improvements in recent years from new walking paths, a new basketball court, new swings, drinking fountains, benches, landscaping and a new park sign.

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