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Public invited to watch artist work on sculpture of Native American doctor to be installed in Lincoln
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Public invited to watch artist work on sculpture of Native American doctor to be installed in Lincoln

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The artist at work: Benjamin Victor

The artist at work: Benjamin Victor completes detail work on the outstretched hand of his 10-foot clay sculpture of Chief Standing Bear, from which bronze was cast. One of the leading figurative sculptors in the U.S., Victor is the only living artist to have two works in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

The public is invited to visit sculptor Benjamin Victor as he works on a sculpture of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte that will be installed in Lincoln later this year. 

Victor will be at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center in Union Plaza from 3-7 p.m. Monday and 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as he works on the clay model from which the bronze sculpture will be cast.

The sculpture will be installed on the east side of Centennial Mall, opposite the State Office Building, between L and M streets. 

Picotte was a member of the Omaha tribe and the first Native in the United States to earn a degree to become a medical doctor. After earning her medical degree, Picotte returned to northeastern Nebraska to care for both Native and non-Native residents and shortly before her death in 1913 opened a hospital on the Omaha reservation. 

“I know that people will be inspired to learn about the extraordinary accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte,” Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs Director Judi gaiashkibos said. “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.”

Victor was commissioned by a private donor to create the sculpture and the Lincoln Parks Foundation is funding his visit from Boise, Idaho. Victor is also the sculptor of the Chief Standing Bear sculpture located on Centennial Mall.

The Nebraska Capitol Environs Commission approved installation of the Picotte sculpture earlier this year and it will be dedicated Oct. 11, the first officially recognized Indigenous People's Day in Nebraska.

Groups can also schedule a time to meet with Victor outside of the public studio hours at lincoln.ne.gov/meetBenVictor or by calling 402-441-8258.

Statue of La Flesche Picotte, first Native doctor, to find home on Centennial Mall
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Luna Stephens is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is originally from Lawrence, Kansas and is passionate about the transformative power of journalism.

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