"Creative Gathering" at Western Historic Trails Center Sept. 13-15

For immediate release September 12, 2007


Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – Arts and history will take center stage at the Western Historic Trails Center’s annual “Creative Gathering 2007” Thursday through Saturday.

The “Creative Gathering” kicks off 1-4 p.m. Thursday with a Bread and Jam, a weekly event that allows the public to join an open musical “jam” while enjoying tasty homemade bread. An Evening Jam session will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday. Light snacks and beverages will be served.

“Creative Gathering” shifts into full gear at 1 p.m. Saturday. Following is a schedule of presentations and activities:

1-5 p.m.
Logan Fontanelle is an Omaha/Pawnee/Lakota Indian born on the Winnebago reservation. He moved to Omaha with his mother when she went to work in the Martin Bomber Factory. He attended St. Peters grade school and Creighton Prep High School and worked for Avaya (Western Electric, AT&T, Lucent Technologies). After retiring he became interested in his family heritage and with the help of companion Leah Galus, researched his family and began to make presentations. Logan Fontanelle, Sr., is his great grand uncle and Big Elk was his great-great-great grandfather. Fontanelle will discuss Private Francois LaBiche and Pierre Cruzatte, Omaha scouts for Lewis and Clark.

 2-2:50 p.m.
Helen Gillespie was born in Flint, Mich., spending her first 19 years in Michigan. In 1947, she boarded the Denver Zephyr headed West and never looked back.  After two marriages and three children, she realized her dream of attaining a college education, graduating Magna-cum-laude in 1982 from College of Saint Mary in Omaha. She majored in Social Sciences with emphasis on History, and had no intention of teaching. In 1995, she retired as a staff member from Creighton University.  Gillespie has called Omaha home for many years, always exploring the history and people of the Great Plains. She is in the early stages of outlining and writing a memoir she calls Vignettes of a Woman’s Life. Her presentation will touch on her life, but will mostly be her remembrances of Wade Miller (1921 – 1987), born on the Omaha Reservation in Macy, Neb., of  Omaha/Seneca Indian parents who first met at Carlisle Indian School. He was a talented artist, teacher, coach and a graduate of University of Nebraska, and former Tribal Chairman. He was working toward a Graduate Degree in Education at UNL at the time of his death.

 3-3:50 p.m.
Eloise Thomsen was born in a Jones County, Iowa corn crib and, at 90-years-old, is more involved than many in getting the most our of her life. She graduated salutatorian of her high school class at age 17. Seventeen years later she was married and had three children. Seventeen more years produced a restaurant in Omaha with her husband, Armand. They were married for 52 years. She is known as a knowledgeable student of the Orphan Trains, which passed through Western Iowa and discussed the topic on a “Sunday Morning on CBS” program. She and her daughters published a book, Patches and Poetry, in 2002. She will enliven “Creative Gathering 2007” with her knowledge of Chautauqua tent shows of the past.

 4-4:50 p.m.
Charlie Groth has been a musician all of his life. He tours coast-to-coast and border-to-border. A dynamic singer, strong multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and teller of tales, his music is a potent brew of Americana ingredients, including real country, folk, blues, swing/traditional jazz, ragtime, bluegrass, original songs and instrumentals, and more.

The Western Historic Trails Center is at 3434 Richard Downing Avenue in Council Bluffs. “Creative Gathering 2007” events and activities are free and open to the public. More information is available at 319-366-4900. “Creative Gathering 2007” is sponsored by Grease Monkey, 2700 West Broadway in Council Bluffs, and Iowa Luthier Bill Peterson, at 402-558-9215.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.


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