Dedication for ‘Beacon of Light’ set for Sept. 17


Chamberlain will soon be home to a 50-foot sculpture of a Native American woman receiving a star quilt, made from 128 stainless steel diamond shapes. It’s artist Dale Lamhere’s intention the colored diamonds flutter like leaves in response to the wind.

Jane Murphy, the Dignity Ceremony Planner, met with a small group of Chamberlain community members Thursday, August 25 to discuss the arrival of the Dignity Sculpture. Murphy explained the 1,100 pound sculpture will be traveling down Highway 44 to Chamberlain from Buffalo Ridge Ranch near Cheyenne River where it is currently being assembled.

The Dignity Sculpture will arrive in the Chamberlain area on Friday, September 9, a week before the celebration and unveiling ceremony on Saturday, September 17. The ceremony will take place at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center and will open with Dakota Pipes and Drums from Sioux Falls at 11:15 a.m. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:35 a.m. and conclude for the public at 1 p.m. A reception for honored guests and dignitaries will continue throughout the day with the first lightning ceremony at 7 p.m. Murphy explained due to the sheer size of the sculpture, a lot of planning has taken place to make it a compelling and visual work of art.

The sculpture will be facing west over the river, so drivers can see it coming into Chamberlain. A crane will be used to set the 23ft wide, 50ft tall sculpture into place. This is the largest figurative work South Dakota artist Dale Lamphere has sculpted. The quilt will feature 128 stainless steel diamond shapes. Lamphere will use a state-of-the-art painting process to color the diamonds to compliment the blues of the Missouri River and sky.

Lamphere previously commented, “Months went into meeting with engineers and Native Americans to make sure the sculpture would not only be structurally sound, but culturally correct.”

In December of 2014 Governor Dennis Daugaard announced the Norm and Eunabel McKie family from Rapid City donated $1 million to commission a sculpture of a Native American woman receiving a star quilt to placed near Chamberlain. It will act as a beacon of light for travelers traveling east and west on Interstate 90.

Ever since the announcement, the sculpture’s artist, Lamphere, has been working to create what will become a 50-foot sculpture Dignity. Governor Daugaard noted in addition to being the state of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, South Dakota will be known for the Dignity sculpture and highlight the heritage of the state’s Native people.

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