Lewis & Clark Bicentennial
From 2003 to 2006, the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial ArtsPlan integrated and promoted the role of the arts in the national commemoration of Lewis and Clark’s historic cross-country expedition. A partnership between NEFA, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and state and local arts councils, the ArtsPlan was a cultural development initiative that, through the arts, celebrated the human spirit and our commonalities as a people and a nation.
One way that the ArtsPlan infuses arts into local Bicentennial events is through community-based artist residencies. The Lewis and Clark ArtsCorps supports artist led projects structured around the Bicenntiennial‘s ‘signature events' that commemorate major occurrences along the route of Lewis and Clark's epic journey.
The ArtsPlan commissions an artist to create a collaborative public artwork that interprets the historical significance of a signature event, and reflects on the impact of Lewis and Clark's experience now and in the future. The resident artist leads a community-based creative process to interpret the legacy of these events in a new and creative manner, and also establish a lasting model for arts programming that nurtures local artists and community building.
Artists & Projects
Through a competitive panel process, sculptor and environmental artist Karen McCoy was selected to serve as the ArtsCorps lead resident artist for 2003-2004.
Artist Matthew Dehaemers was selected in December 2003 through a competitive process administered by the Missouri Arts Council to work with Karen on the ArtsCorps Missouri Signature Events.
Below is a timeline detailing the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial ArtsCorps projects.
Oct. 14-26, 2003, Louisville, KY
Bicentennial Signature Event: Falls of the Ohio
The Falls of the Ohio signature event showcased the role the Falls area and its residents played in the success of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. McCoy worked with local artist Melli Hoppe, and the two artists based their project on Thomas Jefferson's instructions to Lewis and Clark to observe carefully all they encountered; the plants, animals, minerals and people fostered by the soil. They moved their studio to a 900 square foot tent on the riverfront at Louisville, KY. There, they took molds from ancient fossil stones in the Ohio River, and, using earth brought by community members, made new rocks by ramming earth into the molds. By making stones out of earth, they turned geological process around and, in doing so, set up a metaphor of reversal. The soil-stones, movement, images generated in making them, and bits and pieces from conversations with community members became a multi-media, site-specific installation and performance held in 2006, two hundred years from Lewis and Clark's return to the Falls of the Ohio.
Friday, March 12, 2004, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO
ArtsCorps Project: Tree in Tree/ New Grows from Old
Bicentennial Signature Event: Three Flags Ceremony
The Three Flags Events commemorated the transfer of Upper Louisiana from Spain to France to the United States 200 years ago. McCoy and Dehaemers worked with members of the Osage nation to plant trees to mark, "re-root" and honor the ancient Osage presence in the St. Louis region. The trees will become a living and growing permanent installation for all to visit, contemplate and gain greater understanding of our nation's history and future. The installation commemorates the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and Corps of Discovery with a gesture that extends forward into the next two hundred years. For more info about the Three Flags Ceremony, go to: http://www.umsl.edu/~loupurch/index.html.
May 14-16, 2004, Hartford, IL
ArtsCorps Project and Bicentennial Signature Event: Epicenter
The Epicenter project was made in honor of the Shawnee, Peoria, and other American Indian tribes who lived around the region of southern Illinois two hundred years ago, and before. Created by artists McCoy and Dehaemers, Epicenter consisted of a 12-foot long dugout canoe cast out of ice from the frozen Mississippi River water. The ice canoe was filled with corn and set on top of uprooted corn stalks. During the Signature Event the canoe slowly melted and disappeared. As it melted, it deposited its cargo of corn in a mound atop the corn stalks. The uprooted corn stalks speak of the continual upheaval of tribal families as they were pushed out of their homelands along the Mississippi River in the 1700’s and 1800’s. The diminishing presence of the canoe may be likened to contemporary cultural misconceptions concerning American Indians. The corn kernels are metaphors of growth, vitality and sustenance.
National Endowment for the Arts
National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
Missouri Arts Council
Illinois Arts Council
Kentucky Arts Council
Indiana Arts Commission
New England Foundation for the Arts, administrative partner for the Bicentennial ArtsCorps projects.