Public Invited to See Renowned Sculptor at Work
Published on June 08, 2021
The public is invited to visit with nationally-recognized sculptor Benjamin Victor as he works on a new Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte memorial sculpture at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center in Union Plaza. The hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Monday, June 14 and 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 15 through Thursday, June 17 at the Trails Center, 228 N. 21st Street.
Victor has been commissioned by a local private donor to create a 7-foot-6-inch bronze sculpture of Dr. Picotte, a member of the Omaha Tribe and the first Native American in the United States to earn a degree to become a medical doctor. Victor is working on the clay model from which the bronze will be cast. He brought the model to Lincoln from his home and studio in Boise, Idaho. The Lincoln Parks Foundation is funding his visit to Nebraska.
“I know that people will be inspired to learn about the extraordinary accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte,” said Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs Director Judi gaiashkibos. “I urge everyone to take the opportunity to meet Ben Victor and watch this amazing artist as he creates this sculpture honoring a trailblazing Native woman whose legacy transcends Nebraska’s history and whose story is even more relevant today as we as a nation search for the truth.”
Earlier this year the Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission approved installation of the sculpture on east side of Centennial Mall opposite the State Office Building between “L” and “M” streets. The sculpture will be dedicated during a public event October 11, the first officially-recognized Indigenous People’s Day in Nebraska.
After receiving her medical degree from Woman’s Medial College of Pennsylvania, Dr. Picotte returned to northeastern Nebraska to care for Native and non-Native residents. Two years before her death in 1913, Dr. Picotte opened a hospital in the Omaha reservation town of Walt Hill, Nebraska.
Victor is recognized as being the youngest artist at age 26 to have a sculpture in the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. He is also the only living artist to have three works in Statuary Hall. Victor is the sculptor of the Chief Standing Bear statue located on Centennial Mall north of “P” Street. Additional castings of this sculpture are installed on Ponca Tribal land near Niobrara, Nebraska and in the National Statuary Hall.
Groups can schedule times to meet with Victor outside of public studio hours during the same four-day period by visiting lincoln.ne.gov/meetBenVictor or by calling the Lincoln Parks Foundation at 402-441-8258.
Additional information about Dr. Picotte and the sculpture to be placed on Centennial Mall is available at lincoln.ne.gov/picotte.