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Access Points 13: ‘Cowpony’ at Booth Western Art Museum

Did you recognize this week’s Access Point? Like I hinted, it’s not a cow.

It’s the ‘Cowpony’ at Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville.

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Cowpony, by artist Lori Musil, lives at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. AJC photos by Jamie Gumbrecht

Tip of my imaginary cowgal hat to commenters Robbie and Fisherman, who names the place to find it within minutes of each other this morning.

This pony began in 2001 as piece of public art in New Mexico’s Trail of Painted Ponies project. This was just before every city seemed to have a fiberglass animal public art project. You might’ve seen the “We Let the Dawgs Out” project in Athens, or the Tybee Turtle Tour on Tybee Island.

In New Mexico, about 120 artists decorated identical fiberglass horses. Artist Lori Musil painted this one after her horse was lost in a herd of cows, the Booth Museum reports.

On her Web site, Musil explains that she made smaller version of the Cowpony to sell after the life-size pony had gone on to a different life. Those smaller figurines went into six editions, and were retired in June 2008.

The life-size version was exhibited around New Mexico, the horse was sold along with other painted ponies at auction. Eventually, it landed at the Booth, where it became a 5-foot tall visitor favorite. It’s not something you usually see in a museum, but just right for this one.

Earlier this month, the pony moved to a new space inside the Booth. The museum opened a 40,000-square foot expansion and grouped most of its contemporary art into that space.

The open spaces and high ceilings really are better for more modern art, which tends to be larger. It also means that this pony rests among modern interpretations of the Old West, paintings by Andy Warhol, John Wayne movie posters and hundreds of American Indian artifacts. Pretty good company for a lost little pony that found itself all the way in Cartersville.

When you visit — maybe this week for the Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium? –  look closely. You’ll see that there is, indeed, a horse hiding among all those cows.

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The Cowpony moved into his new digs this year.

Want to go? Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. $10 for adults, $8 for people ages 65 and older, $7 for students, free for members, children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult, active military. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 770-387-1300, www.boothmuseum.org.

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