Ft. Pierre sculpture project to bring historic figures to life
How would you like to walk down Main Street in Fort Pierre and meet Scotty Philip or Pierre Chouteau? Well, a group of Fort Pierre and Pierre citizens are planning to make that possibility a reality in the very near future. The Fort Pierre Historic Sculpture Committee (FPHSC) has been meeting over the summer and fall and has drawn up the organizing documents for the Fort Pierre Historic Sculpture project. Current committee members include Patricia Miller, Chair; Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson; Chris Maxwell, Leroy Foster, Sunny Hannum, Tad Perry, Judy Weisgram, Tom LaFaive, and Kyle Chase.
According to Chair Patricia Miller, “It all began when I was approached by Fort Pierre Mayor Gloria Hanson.” Hanson asked Miller if she thought it was a good idea to do some historic figures in Fort Pierre to celebrate the 2017 Bicentennial year. She then asked Miller to chair the committee.
Miller was a good choice because she was one of the founding members of the Trail of Governors statues. That group now has commissioned and placed 15 statues in Pierre and are planning for four more statues to be completed next year.
Miller emphasized that this project will not be a repeat of the Trail of Governors, which is limited to life size bronze statues. “We will consider projects of granite, stone, brass, wood, aluminum or steel, water features or murals.”
At the group’s August meeting, they decided to call their sculpture project the “Fort Pierre Historic Sculpture Project” and established a timeline of organizing, founding and finalizing startup by October 2016. It was decided to make a public announcement in November to coincide with naming the first sculpture for the project.
Miller said, “Pierre Chouteau has been picked to be the first sculpture because Fort Pierre is named after him and he was so influential in the fur trade industry which led to eventually establishing the City of Fort Pierre.” Miller continued, “Fort Pierre has over 200 years of great history and many individuals and families have had a part in that history, including Native Americans who populated this area. We want to recognize their contribution to the history of Fort Pierre.”
Miller has had experience working with artists in many different mediums on the Trail of Governors and the Capitol Centennial projects. She said, “We have such wonderful talent right here in South Dakota and really don’t need to go beyond our borders to find good artists. However, there may be artists who live out of state with strong ties to Fort Pierre or South Dakota who would still be considered.”
It is the Fort Pierre Historic Sculpture Committee’s goal to have the first sculpture in place by Fort Pierre’s Bicentennial Celebration September 15-17, 2017. The first project is the Pierre Chouteau sculpture and artists are invited to email their proposals to Pat Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Other sculptures being considered by the group are Scotty and Sarah Philip, the Verendrye Brothers, Lewis & Clark, Chief Black Buffalo, Casey Tibbs and Commander Waldron.
The Sculpture Committee will be raising money privately and invite interested donors to contact Chris Maxwell 605-280-2895 or Maxwell.firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the money is raised for the sculptures and the sculptures are placed, they will be gifted to the City of Fort Pierre. A web site will soon be available at http://www.fortpierresculptures.com.
–Fort Pierre Historic Sculpture Committee