Visions of Lewis and Clark
This spring, the Oregon History Museum will be hosting “Visions of Lewis and Clark,” an exhibit of 26 kites inspired by the intrepid explorers. In 2001, kite exhibit creator SkyWindWorld commissioned 26 art kites to be made by America’s most renowned kite builders. Each artist selected a quote from the Lewis and Clark journals, which they interpreted through a kite. Their magnificent efforts created the most outstanding collection of flying art ever created in America.
Visitors will be impressed by the depth of storytelling found in each kite. One kite builder, Steve Ferrel, selected a Captain Lewis quote from April 23, 1806, about the last night the Corps spent with the Nez Perce: "A little before sunset the fiddle was played and the men amused themselves with dancing about an hour. We then requested the Indians to dance which they very cheerfully complied with; they continued their dance until 10 at night. The whole assemblage of Indians about 550 men, women, and children sung and danced at the same time."
Steve wanted to know what melodies a 22-year-old man would have been playing that night in 18th century America, so he did some research. He soon found that one of America's first operas was called “The Poor Soldier.” One of
the songs that swept through the young colonies was called “Rosetree,” and so Steve's 30 foot kite was given the same name. It depicts that evening through a violin being played, a tree with a rosebud branch, and a huge bonfire.
"Rosetree" and the 25 other kites will be on display in the Oregon History Museum Pavilion through May.