UNK-Former Nebraska Governor Frank Morrison was named this year’s “Spirit of the Great Plains” honored guest.

“We’re thrilled to have Frank Morrison because he embodies the spirit of the Great Plains,” said Gail Lowenberg, Museum of Nebraska Art director of development.

Kearney artist Martha Pettigrew, who created the signature piece for “Spirit of the Great Plains,” is sculpting a bust of Morrison. The bust will be offered at the live auction during the daylong event.

Morrison was elected NebraskaÕs governor in 1960 and served three two-terms. He envisioned the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument and was instrumental in bringing it to Kearney.

The monument is a remembrance of the people who have traveled through Kearney. A half-million people crossed from the eastern United States on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails and the trails converged in Kearney. The migration continues today as 11.5 million vehicles drive though Kearney every year on Interstate 80. The archway is dedicated to the evolution of transportation and communication, embodying the spirit and dreams that carried the early settlers westward along Platte River Road.

“There is such connection between the museum and the archway,” Lowenberg said. The archway will document the history of transportation and its impact on the plains, from the prairie schooner to the modern-day interstate system. MONA’s treasures range from artwork from the explorers to contemporary pieces.

On April 8, MONA will host the “Spirit of the Great Plains” art sale and exhibition. Forty-five nationally known artists from all over the country have been invited to display five pieces of work that will be auctioned off throughout the event.

The event will include a “quick draw” session when artists will complete artwork in one hour. A silent auction and a live auction will give ticket holders an opportunity to purchase the exhibited art.

For more information on the “Spirit of the Great Plains 2000,” contact the museum at (308) 865-8559.