Community Texas Tech Community

Texas Tech Public Art: Wind River

Photo and Graphic by Campus Live Intern Roberto Mata

Art Exhibit Wind River on Texas Tech University Campus

When visiting Texas Tech University, one of the first things one may see is the substantial amount of art throughout the campus. With one percent of the university’s overall budget dedicated to art on campus, there is plenty to see when seeing the campus.

About Wind River 

        Perhaps one of the most unique pieces of art on Tech’s Campus standing in front of Grover E. Murray Hall is Wind River. It was built by artist Deborah Butterfield in 2004 and is the shape of a horse. The statue can be deceiving with a wood-like look, but it is made out of Bronze. 

        Per, “Butterfield is particularly well-known for her horse sculptures. Bronzes are cast from carefully selected branches, sticks, or metal objects, which cause the sculptures to resemble textured line drawings. Horse sculptures are placed in various locations around campus (Will Rogers, Masked Rider). But the Butterfield horse invites viewers to look at this animal in a new way.

Works of art that encourage the viewer to study an animal, an object, or an idea from a fresh perspective seem particularly appropriate within a university, for the paradigm shift one experiences in an academic environment is often a gateway to intellectual growth and personal discovery.”

        While the sculpture is ornate in itself, it is one of more than 75 different pieces that all resemble the Wind River piece. As for college campuses, it stands as one of 20 that can be found throughout several American institutions.

About the Artist 

        Deborah Kay Butterfield, the artist who built and designed Wind River, has a long history with artistic pieces. Butterfield is well known for her semi-abstract elegant sculptors of horses. Born on May 7, 1949, Butterfield grew up in California. She would stay in the state to get her education at the University of California. 

While getting her degree and having a love for horses, Butterfield faced a challenge. That of deciding whether or not she would pursue a degree in art or veterinary medicine. Ultimately deciding on art, she achieved her goal of getting a bachelor’s in art. While furthering her degree in Maine, she would be in and out of many different projects. Before creating her first sculpture of a horse in 1973. 

With a successful first piece, her work would then begin to rise in popularity. She then had several grants awarded for her work. Butterfield would become an international artist by creating work in Israel and other countries. 

Now a successful artist, Butterfields work would then explode in popularity, having many of her pieces displayed throughout the country.


        Overall, Wind River by Deborah Butterfield is a fantastic piece that stands in front of Murray Hall. Wind River stands as a symbolic piece not only because it presents a horse. But it also represents the beauty and roughness that comes in the region of Lubbock and West Texas.

With a massive art budget and a lot of art on campus. Look for Texas Tech to continue its growing collection of art. On the Texas Tech Campus and in the Lubbock community. 

For more Lubbock art articles click here!

Story by Campus Live Intern Trinity Porter 

Related posts

Adventure the Outdoor Activities in Lubbock

Regan Hestand

Texas Tech Public Art: Agave Dreams

Campus Live Staff

The Best Bar for Your Buck – LBK

Marcus Pauda