Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Monday Afternoon

This was a very busy day. After we left Wind Cave, we went to Crazy Horse Mountain. As you can see from the pictures, it is incomplete, but what an experience. The sculptor, Korczac Ziolkowski, began this project in 1948, He worked for years by himself, blasting away tons of rock to just get a general outline for the work. He wanted this mountain to be funded solely by private donations, and refused a 10 million dollar offer from the government. I would guess he knew it was the best way to maintain sole control of the endeavor.

When he died in 1983, his wife and some of his 10 children have continued the work. He knew it would take more than his lifetime to finish so he left three books of detailed plans on how to complete the entire piece. Today it is about 1/3 finished. The completed work will be 563 feet tall and 641 feet long, the largest statue in the world. The face of Crazy Horse was unveiled in 1998, and now work on the horses head is in progress. You can see a line of the ear and eye of the horse painted on the mountain below the outstretched arm.

The visitors center is a huge sprawling affair, made to accommodate large crowds of people. Outside on this day there were thousands of motorcycles, but inside it did not feel overly crowded. The center holds the usual theater, gift shop, restaurant, but also an artist studio, a Native American crafts center, Korczac’s studio and a huge outside patio where you see the original Crazy Horse sculpture model in relation to the real mountain sculpture.

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