Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Sarah J. Noonan

Second Advisor

Fr. Jean-Pierre Bongila

Third Advisor

Susan Huber


A case study of four public artists uncovered how the artists’ lived experiences and awareness of cultural memory influenced their creation of commemorative artwork for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. The study involves how the professional and cultural experiences of two White artists and two Native American artists living or working in the Missouri River Valley in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana influenced their art. Professional factors influencing the artists included education, involvement with the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, work space, and connections to arts communities. Cultural factors influencing artists were family relationships and ethnic, political, gender, and religious identification. Artists played two roles, as journeyers and as leaders. Artists first understood the creative process as an expedition, where the path to the finished artwork is not always clear with the potential to alter their beliefs and practices. Artists also understood their role as leaders in transforming the viewer’s understanding of commemorative events. The findings are useful in valuing the complexity of the artist’s life, the leadership role artists play in interpreting controversial events, and the challenges of maintaining an authentic creative voice in today’s society.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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