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'Rising Eagle' is Bismarck's next public art sculpture
24 August 2007

BISMARCK (UTN) Students in the United Tribes Art-Art Marketing Program have a new public sculpture to unveil.

      A dedication ceremony for "Rising Eagle" is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5 at 3 p.m. at Pioneer Park along Bismarck's River Road.

Rising Eagle
'Rising Eagle,' a new sculpture by art students at United Tribes Technical College will be dedicated September 5 in Bismarck. UTN photo Shawn Holz.

      David Black Cloud (Standing Rock) designed the stylized golden eagle and its circular setting. John Clifford (Oglala Tribe), Bethany Drapeau (Yankton Tribe), and Martha Garreau (Cheyenne River) helped build, install and paint it.

      'Rising Eagle' is the fourth outdoor piece created by UTTC students for the city's riverfront trails. It was commissioned by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District and supported by the local Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee.

      "This partnership benefits so many," said Mark Zimmerman, president of the Board of Park Commissioners. "The Park District provides the opportunity. The students create the piece and gain valuable experience, and finally, the community, as a whole, receives a wonderful gift; a piece of art to view and enjoy.

      A public art collaboration began in 2004 between the parks district and the tribal college students when a Thunderbird sculpture was erected at Keelboat Park.

      Subsequent sculptures were made for Sertoma Park in 2005 and Steamboat Park in 2006. The artistic theme for each was the eagle, a bird frequently seen along the river.

      "This has been a valuable learning process for the students," said Wayne Pruse, UTTC Art-Art Marketing Instructor, of the educational values involved in the project. "It's part of the training to learn how to work with a board or committee and get approval. These things are not automatic. They had to pitch the idea and sell it."

      The partnership has been described as a model for how communities can make an asset out of cultural diversity.

      The Bismarck Parks and Recreation Board of Directors approved each of the designs, including 'Rising Eagle' in June. The students were awarded a $15,000 grant for the project.

      The relatively low cost for a public sculpture results from the use of materials other than metal or stone. Each has been made of structural foam coated with an indestructible epoxy resin. The combination has proved effective on public art elsewhere in the country, resulting in durable work that lends itself to the creativity of artists.

      "The overwhelming majority of the public has been very enthusiastic about these sculptures," said Pruse. "People are proud of what the students have accomplished."

      The public is invited to attend the dedication program, which will include a tribal invocation and prayer, ceremonial songs from a drum group, and an opportunity to congratulate the artists.

      Parking is available near the new sculpture. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held in a nearby shelter. Refreshments will be served.


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