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The Associated Press, Published September 29 2004

Lewis and Clark organizers unveil souvenir program cover

BISMARCK, N.D. - Artwork created by a North Dakota Western artist will grace the cover of the souvenir program for this city's Lewis and Clark bicentennial "signature" event in October.

Organizers of the event unveiled "The Family of Discovery" on Sept. 28. The painting by Minot State University art professor Walter Piehl depicts Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their American Indian guide, Sakakawea, who is holding her son. At the bottom is a re-creation of a map drawn during the explorers' journey 200 years ago to the Pacific Northwest.

Sakakawea joined the expedition in what is now North Dakota.

"We wanted to have something really remarkable and exciting for the cover of our keepsake program," said Ken Rogers, managing editor of The Bismarck Tribune, one of the sponsors of the "Circle of Cultures" event at the University of Mary Oct. 22-31. "We wanted something that really spoke about North Dakota."

Piehl also did a second painting of Sakakawea and her son, titled "Mother and Child." Posters of both paintings can be bought over the Internet. Unsigned posters are $10. There also are 250 posters signed by the artist that sell for $20 apiece.

The souvenir programs will be available at the signature event, for $7 each, Rogers said.

States are holding signature events through 2006. They are designated by the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, each with a different theme. North Dakota also has a signature event scheduled in New Town in August 2006.

Marion Houn, coordinator of the Bismarck event, said organizers met their $1.1 million fund-raising goal early in the summer. "Then we really started concentrating on the logistics of the event," she said.

It will include earth lodge replicas, American Indian artists and performers, presentations by historians, and a computer-generated re-creation of the On-A-Slant Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

Tracy Potter, director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, said about 30,000 people are expected to attend the event. There is no charge for the main event, though tickets are being sold for $10 apiece for surrounding events, such as a performance by the Dakota Plains Dancers at downtown Bismarck's Belle Mehus Auditorium.

"There are certain venues that we expected would fill - there would be more demand than supply," Potter said. Proceeds from the ticket sales also will help pay for the event, he said.

Houn said about 100 volunteers are lined up. Most are from the Bismarck-Mandan area, though a couple of people have volunteered from as far away as North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

"It's coming along nicely," Houn said. "We have no big fires going on or big empty holes to fill."

Houn and Potter said North Dakota's unpredictable weather will not stop the event.

"What we'd like is the fall colors to turn a little bit, and no wind," Potter said.