Built into a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, the Center's exhibits and videos bring alive President Thomas Jefferson's vision for expanding our country and the indomitable spirit of exploration. There are wonderful displays including a two-story diorama of the portage of the Missouri river's five great falls. It is absolutely humbling to glimpse the type of canoes and gear they hauled after traveling the past 4-days as we did. One could spend a day here watching each of the videos and hiking nearby trails to other historic landmark sites along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Perhaps another time . . .
Our next stop was in Lincoln, Montana — Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild International Sculpture Park. This is a gem of a place that Birdie knew about in a most unlikely and perfect place. Lincoln is situated just west of the Continental Divide about 80 miles east of Missoula and 60 miles north of Helena (Montana's capital) and bordered by the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness areas to the north and the Blackfoot River to the south. As of 2010 it had a population of 1,013 — down almost 8% from 2000. Quite possibly Lincoln's most well-known resident was the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski. But, I digress . . .
Sculpture in the Wild "celebrates the rich environmental, industrial and cultural heritage of the Blackfoot Valley." International sculptors are invited to create significant site-specific works of art using materials — natural and industrial — that are associated with Lincoln's rich economic and cultural traditions that often times had conflicting social, cultural and environmental values. Mining, logging and ranching have been the key economic factors that sustained Lincoln throughout its history. "As logging and mining industries have subsided over the past 25 years, the community finds itself at a crossroads in both economic and cultural development. Reflecting on it's history and looking towards the future, the community has chosen contemporary art practice to act as both a creative and economic catalyst."
Five artists were brought together in 2014 to create six works, which we viewed while walking through a pine forest. Below are some of the photos I took and, clicking on the artists' names listed below will magically take you to more information and photos. Additionally, Blackfoot Pathways offers artists-in-residence programs and much more. The six artists presently are:
- Kevin O'Dwyer (Ireland) — "Montana Line Drawing," mild steel sculpture
- Kevin O'Dwyer (Ireland) — "Delaney Mill Tepee Burner"
- Jorn Ronnau (Denmark) — "A Gateway of Change," Ponderosa Pine, goldleaf, stone
- Jaakko Pernu (Finland) — "Picture Frame," Spruce/Pine
- Alan Counihan (Ireland) — "House of Sky," Stainless steel, steel, pine
- Steven Siegel (USA) — "Hill and Valley," 30,000 lbs of newspaper, 28 lodge poles, 400 lbs of nails