Gradually we are beginning to
grasp the extent of that unusual undertaking of last winter, the
Public Works of Art Project, although much of the work completed
since the government's patronage of art ceased to be a seven-days'
wonder, has had little acclaim outside of the locality for which
it was made. Yet some of it is of high quality.
The reproductions on this page and pages following are of mural
panels painted under the Project by Vernon Hunter, an artist of
Texico, New Mexico, for the new courthouse at the town of Fort
Sumner. They tell the story of the passing of the last American
frontier; of the settling of a strip of territory in the Southwest,
between the XIT Ranch and the Pecos River, overlooked a few years
earlier in the rush to the West. They give the earlier history:
Fort Sumner established in the sixties a few miles from the site
of the present town; and the adventures of Billy the Kid.
The first days of Texico, prairie town and amusement center for
Texas cowboys, are pictured, and the later event that brought
change to the country. But the murals are more than an interesting
record of historical events and of the people who took part in
them. They have charm and great decorative quality.
The force and vitality
that built up the Southwest
The stringing of the homesteader's
barbed-wire fence meant
the end of the open range
The Pecos River, Fort Sumner, 1865,
General Carlton, commander of the fort,
and Kit Carson, the Indian scout
Billy the Kid and his associates,
the house where he was killed, and,
inserted, portraits of his mother and the only man who ever
drew his fire and escaped
A town of yesterday and of today