Blackbear Bosin's Studio

Wichita Urban Native History Tour

Blackbear Bosin's Studio

Wichita, Kansas 67203, United States

Created By: Wichita History Walk


Blackbear Bosin, a celebrated Native American artist of Kiowa and Comanche descent, played a crucial role in Kansas’ artistic landscape. His Wichita studio spaces served as hubs for his prolific output and his dedication to elevating Native American art.

Bosin's artistic journey began in earnest while serving in the Marines during World War II. While stationed in Hawaii, he was hospitalized at Aiea Heights Naval Hospital for nearly two years. Bosin passed the time by fostering a love of painting that he had held since childhood. Aiea Heights hosted an exhibition of his artwork just in time for his discharge in 1945. Shortly thereafter, Bosin returned to Wichita.

In 1959, Bosin established the Great Plains Studio at 342 N Water, to expand his work and offer a platform for fellow Indigenous artists. Around the same time, the Hotel Broadview commissioned him to design a stunning 1,500-square-foot mosaic titled, The Advance of Civilization in Kansas for its Crystal Ballroom. It is one of the largest continuous mural in Kansas.

In the winter of 1972, he moved his studio to 710 W Douglas, in the now-bustling Delano district of Wichita. This space operated until Bosin’s passing in 1980 and played an essential role in the creation of his most iconic work, the Keeper of the Plains. This majestic steel sculpture, standing at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers, has become a defining symbol of Wichita. The location is now occupied by the Delano BBQ Company, and they honor Bosin's legacy by displaying information and artifacts from his life as an artist.

Although Blackbear Bosin's physical studio locations may have changed, his legacy within Wichita's art scene remains significant. The Mid-America All-Indian Museum houses the largest public collection of his work, ensuring that future generations can appreciate the artistry and cultural contributions of this remarkable figure.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Wichita Urban Native History Tour


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