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Colorful, painted horses to descend on Ogden for Pioneer Days celebration

SYRACUSE — McCall Takos has painted her horse with a whimsical blue-lined sky resting atop a hilly landscape of purple, yellow and red.

Grass reaches up the horse's legs on its left side. On its right side, two barren trees, stark and brown, stretch from the horse's hooves across its shoulder and flank.

Michael Collins' family used to eat breakfast with his horse when he kept it in his kitchen. Now, painted brown and featuring Western scenes and wanted posters, the horse is gleaming with a glossy clear coat.

Both horses are awaiting placement at a to-be-determined location in Ogden as part of the 75th anniversary of Ogden's Pioneer Days.

Starting Sunday, the first of 55 painted fiberglass horses will be placed along Washington Boulevard from 22nd Street to 26th Street and on 25th Street from Wall Avenue to Washington.

It takes 20 people two days to secure the horses to concrete bases and set them in their locations, said Jo Packham, arts chairwoman for Pioneer Days.

Four horses will be unveiled at 5 p.m. July 3 during a ceremony at Ogden's Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave. After that, they will grace Ogden as a reminder of its rodeo heritage until Oct. 1. Then they'll hunker down in a city warehouse until next year.

For Collins and Takos, art students at Northridge High School, this is a chance to break out and get noticed. Their names will be inscribed on a plaque with their creations.

Collins said he has sold art before, but this is Takos' first public art showing. The two Davis County teens will receive at least $500 for their work.

They put finishing touches on their steeds Monday and Tuesday at the Syracuse home of their art teacher, Wendy Dimick, a local artist who painted horses sponsored by Hill Air Force Base, the Standard-Examiner and the American Dream Foundation.

Dimick painted two horses in advance of the 2008 Pioneer Days events, which led to her getting three requests this year.

Working around the horses in her garage, Dimick guided Collins, 16, and Takos, 17, through some of the techniques to complete their work by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

The students spent most of their time on the concrete floor, Collins twisting around his horse's hooves to blend his colors, and Takos consulting artwork by Timothy Sorsdahl, an abstract landscape artist, for inspiration.

And Tuesday brought the end of two weeks worth of work, every day for several hours.

It was a learning experience for the teens, who said they now know what it's like to produce art on a deadline.

Dimick knows that feeling all too well.

"I'm so glad to be done," she said.


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