Saturday, June 20, 2009
Lewis and Clark Officials Announce Casting and Sale of Last Halko Bronze, Lewis' Newfoundland Dog Seaman
"Great Falls is going to the dogs, but in a good way.
"A new statue of a famous dog will be placed during the next year or two outside the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, officials announced Friday night at the sixth annual Lewis and Clark Outdoor Gala in Elks Riverside Park.
"The new project calls for erecting a life-size statue of Seaman, Meriwether Lewis' dog that accompanied the expedition as it traveled across the West. Sales of smaller versions of the statue will pay for the large bronze figure.
"Artist Joe Halko of Choteau created the clay model prior to his death a few months ago. It was Halko's last sculpting project before he died. 'Joe was a regular artist in our Outdoor Art Gala shows, ever since our beginning six years ago, so it really is quite fitting that he created the sculpture for the project', said Jay Russell, executive director of the center's foundation.
"Halko was well-known for creating the Heritage Honkers geese sculpture at the Region 4 Headquarters for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks across the road from the center, and for the his work on the C.M. Russell Museum's Buffalo Hunt project.
The project was the brainchild of Dr. James and Carol Mungas, whose Newfoundland dog Windsor was a popular fixture with tourists during the early years of the center.
"Photos of Windsor served as the model for the sculpture. Russell noted the life-size version of Seaman won't be tiny. 'Those are big dogs', he said.
The foundation plans to sell Halko's smaller Seaman version, which measures 10 inches high and 11 inches long. The limited edition of 100 will sell for $895, but it is available for $750 for a limited time.
"Sales of the smaller bronzes will pay for the large statue. Russell said the large statue probably will be installed outside, just east of the Interpretive Center, in 2010. He said about a third of the bronzes will need to sell before the statue is erected.
"Seaman was a Newfoundland, a huge, shaggy black dog bought by Lewis for $20, which was a large sum of money 200 years ago. He served as a good hunter and guard dog during the expedition."