Sarah Winnemucca statue to be completed in Carson City
Nevadans will get the chance to watch artist Benjamin Victor finish his sculpture of Sarah Winnemucca next week.
Victor will begin Monday on the final steps in completing the larger-than-life statue for the National Statuary Hall collection in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Each state is allowed two statues representing important figures in its history. Sarah Winnemucca will be Nevada’s second statue in the hall.
Victor will start work Monday and plans to complete the clay sculpture by Nevada Day, Oct. 30.
During that period, visitors can watch during regular business hours at the Nevada State Library and Archives exhibit gallery.
Once completed, Victor said he will personally transport the clay sculpture to the foundry where it will be turned into a bronze statute before being taken the National Statuary Hall.
The figure will be about 6 feet tall when completed. That is smaller than most of the exhibits in Statuary Hall but Victor said that’s intentional.
“I think the power she held was not in physical stature but in her powerful spirit,” he said.
Nevada First Lady Dema Guinn is honorary chairwoman of the statue selection committee which picked Victor from four finalists to do the project. She has also headed efforts by the Nevada Women’s History Project to raise funds for the statue and placing it in the U.S. Capitol.
Winnemucca was selected as the subject of the statute by the 2001 Legislature at the request of the Nevada Women’s History Project. The other Nevada statue in the gallery is of former U.S. Senator Pat McCarran.
Winnemucca was the first American Indian woman to write a book, titled “Life Among the Paiute: Their Wrongs and Claims.” She started a school teaching both English and her native language, she served as an interpreter and she went to the president to seek justice for American Indians.
Out of the 97 statues in the hall so far – with two allotted to each state – there are only six women and no minorities. Nevada’s Winnemucca and a statue of Sacagawea from North Dakota will be the first enshrined among the crowd of mostly white men.