Spirit of the Mustangs, 2019

Vic Payne


Spirit of the Mustangs expresses in the language of horses what it feels like to traverse the undergraduate experience, from the first halting freshman days to the exuberance of a well-earned graduation. Carved with anatomical harmony in a larger-than-life scale, four horses cross a stream, representing the four levels of undergraduate education and the fluid path of lifelong learning. This artwork, designed as an accessible physical experience, instills tradition with freshman and senior walks and is a place to remember, reflect, and dream along the way. Spirit of the Mustangs realizes a vision of Dr. James Johnston, a horseman and the former MSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, that was refined in conversation with his wife, Stephanie, and brought to life by Wyoming sculptor Vic Payne. These horses tell a story about testing the waters, finding a way, leaning into hard work, and finally leaping from the other side to touch immeasurable lives.