Kite Exhibit – Visions of Lewis and Clark

Today the Great Falls International Airport officially unveiled a phenomenal kite display, hung throughout the airport terminal.

This is one exhibit that you could not miss if you are in the airport!

Colorful, large, and varied – you’ll see it in several areas but most prominently at the check-in counters and at baggage claim.

The exhibit was commissioned in 2001, before a lot of us had “Lewis and Clark fever”.

America’s most reknowned kite builders created the kites and there are 27 in all. The goal was to commemorate Lewis and Clark’s epic Corps of Discovery adventure.

Quotes from the Lewis and Clark journals were sent to the kite builders and they were instructed to design their kite to represent the quote. A ton of research was done and each kite represents a wonderful educational opportunity, besides being downright beautiful.

And, to top it off, all of these kites actually fly!

The exhibit at the Great Falls airport is stunning, partly because of all the light that shines on, and flows through, these fabric kites.

There are 21 kites hung at the airport and another 6 kites are installed in the foyer of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center on the east edge of Great Falls. Since the Lewis and Clark exhibit is in the foyer, no admission fees need to be paid just to view the kites on display.

Now comes the challenging part. I wanted to pick my favorites – something that spoke directly to me. Tough job!

Since I like music I thought the kite representing Pierre Cruzatte playing was very nice.

This kite portraying Sacajawea and their time spent near the Pacific Ocean was very intriguing though. It was hung by just one string so it moved as air circulated throughout the airport. Very nice!

But, my most favorite is the kite with running horses painted on it. The artwork was done by the kite exhibit organizer Terry Zee Lee. The kite was built by Steve Ferrell. It is 8 feet and made of ripstop nylon rokakku.

The quote from the Lewis and Clark journals that inspired this kite was written on April 7,1805, Capt. Lewis to President Jefferson: The circumstances of the Snake Indians possessing large quantities of horses, is much in our favor, as by means of horses, the transportation of our baggage will be rendered easy and expeditiously overland, from the Missouri to the Columbia.”

The kite exhibit is on display in both locations until September 20, 2012. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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