Music Is An Important Part Of My Livelihood


Pete’s Story
Music isn’t my career, but it’s always been an important part of my livelihood and well-being.

I grew up surrounded by music primarily due to my clarinet-flute-saxophone-piccolo-wash board wielding father.  He loved the law and was a very good lawyer, but traditional jazz was his passion.  His band played every Wednesday night at a popular local restaurant in the Dundee neighborhood and he toured and produced several albums.  I just thought it was normal to fall asleep listening to live late night jazz coming from our living room.

I started taking piano lessons at a young age as did my flute and trumpet playing sisters, but it didn’t take me long to figure out drums and percussion were going to be my thing.  We all became second generation attendees of the internationally known Interlochen Arts Camp (my kids will become the third generation this summer), and I played in rock bands in high school and college.

The 5:30 a.m. alarm clock can come quick some mornings, but making the time for the art form that inspires you is always worth it.

I continued to play on my own, but it didn’t take long before political, business, and family pursuits overtook the time commitment needed to play in a band.

About a year ago, however, I became inspired to tune-up the drum set and get back in the game!  Part of my inspiration came from my work on the City Council to renovate our neighborhood business districts.  In particular, the resurgence of Benson into one of the city’s hottest spots for new restaurants, art, entertainment, and live music.  Just recently, my band played its first show at Benson’s newest live music venue and had a blast.

The Omaha World-Herald covered the band’s formation and first performance and the response has been gratifying.  We’ve all received numerous contacts from people with successful careers in something other than music – business, medicine, and politics – who continue to pursue their love of music or have now been re-energized to do so.

The 5:30 a.m. alarm clock can come quick some mornings, but making the time for the art form that inspires you is always worth it.

About PeteFestersen_Pete_300dpi.jpg

City Councilman Pete Festersen was elected to the Omaha City Council in 2009 and re-elected in 2013.  He is currently President of the City Council and is the owner of his own small business, Strategic Business Development, LLC.

Prior to serving on the City Council and starting his company, Councilman Festersen helped shape Omaha’s future in senior management positions with the Peter Kiewit Foundation, The Mayor’s Office, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and Alegent Health, one of Omaha’s largest private employers.  He has also served as Chairman of the Omaha Planning Board for three years and on various community boards such as the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Benson-Ames Alliance, College World Series Inc and AK-SAR-BEN Future Trust.

Pete was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Central High School and Connecticut College before earning his Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He is a graduate of Leadership Omaha and has been recognized for his work as a business leader by the Midlands Business Journal.  He also received the Excellence in Public Service Award from the UNO College of Public Administration and Community Service in 2012.

Pete and his wife, Paige, have two children, Anna and Caroline and they attend Dundee Presbyterian Church.  Pete enjoys racing sailboats by competing on the regional and national levels and is a former Nebraska State Champion in both soccer and curling.  A lifelong musician, he also spends time playing the drums.

Click here to read the Omaha World Herald article on Pete Festersen’s band.

Light, Transparency, Color & Paper Is My Livelihood

Open Wide Time To Die

Open Wide Time To Die

Cody’s Story

These words best describe my mixed media collage artwork. A majority of the pieces I have been working on for this art show look different depending on the light. If a light is shown through the paintings it changes the image and new images or colors appear. The rest of the pieces have transparent qualities that show multiple layers.

The Ancient Ones

The Ancient Ones

Color sets the mood for my artwork. The time of year plays into what colors appear in my compositions. From Blues, Reds and Black in the winter time to Greens and White in the summer.  I have always used paper as a medium and enjoy cutting it up . Taking one image and turning it in to something unexpected.

Everything is fair game when it comes to components that make up my artwork. One of my favorite things to do is take the scraps from other projects (trash) and sweep it off the floor and make a new piece of art.


Things To Come

Things To Come

I’ve always described my process of make art as painting with paper. Although paper is the main material I use it’s not the only medium I work in.  Anything from flowers, leaves, wall paper, metal, feathers, dye, trash, bones, insects, charcoal, oil pastels, acrylic and oil paint.   I could list a dozen or more things but you get the idea. Everything is fair game when it comes to components that make up my artwork. One of my favorite things to do is take the scraps from other projects (trash) and sweep it off the floor and make a new piece of art.  I have been around art my whole life. Everyone in my family has always been into one form of art or another. The earliest memory of art is watching my Dad paint in the living room in the early 80s. Watching over my sister and me at the age of 4 while going to college to be an art teacher.  Now my 4 year old daughter is watching me work on art for this show. It’s amazing how my child can experience art the same way I did at a young age. Being exposed to art at an early age made me want to become an artist.   Art is the one thing I never had to struggle with, it’s always been there for me.

About Cody

Cody Slim Heinert was born and raised in Nebraska along the Niobrara River in the Sandhills. He comes from a family of artists.  Cody’s dad isbio pic a high school art teacher, his mom is a quilter, one sister is a photographer and the other is a graphic designer. From a young age, Cody knew that he wanted to be an artist. Cody has spent many years coming into his own, trying many different styles and techniques in an attempt to find his own style in mixed medium collage. Cody also enjoys many other types of art forms such as photography, dioramas, leather work and creating bonsais.

Cody currently lives in the very small town of Sparks NE near the Niobrara River and lives with his wife, two kids and his parents.  He divides his time running a restaurant and working on the river and finds that there is a lot of down time in the winter that affords him time to concentrate on his art.

More of Cody’s work can be seen in the Fred Simon Gallery from February 23, 2015- April 3, 2015.  Opening Artists Reception , February 27, 2015 from 5:00-7:00pm.

I Am My Livelihood

craig2Okay, I get that is an arrogant statement. However, when I sat down to write this it never felt correct saying what I do is my livelihood. While I could have said design or web coding or branding is what pays my bills, they do not. What does pay them? I do.

Yet again with the arrogant surface statement. This time, let me explain where I am coming from. All the things I do are services I provide. They are nothing on their own, but require me to bring them to action. They are skills and tools in a vast arsenal of options. Collectively, I pick and pull the necessary choices to fulfill the requests and needs of my clients. Clients know what I can do because I inform them, not because web design brought them in to our conversation.

Granted, people seeing my work product in the wild on mobile devices, business cards or social media channels put my name on their mind. In reality, most of them arrive from word of mouth. From there, it is my personality and social abilities that get me to the point of deploying anything.

The biggest keys of my success thus far have been listening, internalizing, interpreting and executing.

The biggest keys of my success thus far have been listening, internalizing, interpreting and executing. All of these interpersonal skills I garnered from a life of interacting with people and wanting to find out more about them now prove invaluable to me staying above water. Those skills are also, not coincidentally, what keep my clients returning and referring me to other friends and businesses.

Having the talent is one thing, but knowing what people are needing is entirely another. In the industry I spend most of my time servicing, it is very easy to bowl people over with technobabble and hot buzz words. The main hurdle I have is that they barely understand the terms and why they should even be considering implementing them. I do my best to educate and thereby empower clients so they can make informed decisions once they understand what is really being said.

Sometimes this means that I do not get nearly the project’s original scope. Other times it surpasses and even becomes something never even originally discussed. While I would not encourage any business owner from taking money off the table, I absolutely do suggest you make the best call for the person you are speaking with. There might be times where it is best to update what they have instead of completely re-branding. It is hard watching those immediate dollars slip away, but I have found they make their way back in other routes.

Through this whole process, HTML, Photoshop, SEO and all my other skills never hit the playing field.  The vast majority of my time is spent listening to what the client is saying and providing solutions for what they really need from my skill sets. It is up to me to determine what those needs may be. If done well the client will keep coming back.

This is why I feel my true livelihood is me.

About Craig craig

Craig Coffman is the owner of octoberland, a creative service providing web, print, social media and branding offerings. When not sounding important, he is busily fathering his son who just might be the coolest human being on the planet. If time permits, he enjoys comics and music.

To read more about Craig’s work, Click

Gathering Together Is My Livelihood

Peter’s Story

Sake Bottle. 2012. 5"x5". ceramic

Sake Bottle. 2012. 5″x5″. ceramic

The act of gathering and eating is what compels the art I make. Through functional pottery I am able to convey a sacred idea; that we should gather, make food and eat together.  The sculpture I create extends my thoughts beyond the table, using symbolic schema and historically inspired forms like tablets, tools and weapons.

I learned to work in my childhood home. Stacking firewood and tending the garden were common. That time has inspired my present life as a child-rearing homemaker and dedicated gardener. I’m an outlier in the traditional world of domesticity and this has influenced my work in ceramics. Currently, making pottery and growing food is the bulk of my effort. This adjustment reveals a message; home making and handmade pots are essential because we need to gather and eat.

The place of pottery in everyday life helps me to recognize the potentials it has for building a community – we should gather and eat, drink and discuss


Dessert plates.  5" dia. 2013. ceramic

Dessert plates. 5″ dia. 2013. ceramic

The forms I make are full in volume but reserved in character.  I use brick clay that is mined in Southern Nebraska, near Endicott. It is fired to a mid-range temperature of 2150 degrees F. Throwing on a wheel, pinching and coiling, and pounding flat slabs are my typical forming techniques.

A way to describe my decorative technique is analogous to how I dress. Pots are painted on the inside with a white slip, like a t-shirt. That gets covered with a bright colored glaze, like a dress shirt. I paint a dull matte slip on the exterior to unify the form, like a coat. I prefer earth tones on pottery exteriors, and sometimes interrupt this surface with spots, stripes or non-representational characters. Sculptures are painted with varied colors of slip, drawn through and stained with oxides.  I use illustrative images to convey contemplations about the world I experience.

Encounter 2. 2014. 10.4" x7.5", ceramic

Encounter 2. 2014. 10.4″ x7.5″, ceramic

The place of pottery in everyday life helps me to recognize the potentials it has for building a community – we should gather and eat, drink and discuss. I am compelled to make art because it engages my intellect and allows me to express what I read and think about. The fundamental process of transforming clay engages my curiosity and rewards my mental and physical effort.

About Peter

PETER SCHERR was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. He is a ceramic artist – making both functional and sculptural pieces – living and working in Bellevue, Nebraska. Peter assisted in the studio of Jun Kaneko (1999-2000) where he learned and experienced the labors of a studio practice. He later received his BFA (2005) from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, under the tutelage of Gail Kendall, Eddie Dominguez, and Pete Pinnell. He and his wife live and garden on an acre South of Omaha, raising two young daughters, a toddler son, and laying hens. History, trains and food are his favored discussion themes.

See more of his work at

He is also on Instagram.




Performance Art Is My Livelihood

I Just Work Here still

Photography by Lindsey French

Sarah’s Story
I am an interdisciplinary artist and Assistant Professor of Art at Nebraska Wesleyan University. I enjoy the rhythm of the academic schedule as it dovetails with my art practice. During the summers and winter break I attend artist residencies and have exhibitions. Last summer I had the opportunity to go to the Cedar Point Biological Station near Ogallala for two weeks and make art alongside scientists who were doing their research. Since I didn’t know that part of the state, it was a great way to get to know that landscape. The performance series I was working on while there is called I Just Work Here.

These performances are inspired by my work experiences in various locations and environments. For example, I Just Work Here – Episode 2: The Commute was inspired by my hour long commute to and from work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The performance was 40 minutes of walking upward on a down escalator in a subway station, while wearing business attire – heels, a pencil skirt, a blouse and makeup. The Commute reflects how the distance covered in a commute is a net distance of zero. As commuters we spend a lot of time in moving in circles.

Thinking back to my parents’ choices to be homemakers and artists I learned at an early age that we can shape our work lives much more than we often allow ourselves.

The character I embody for the series is a caricature of the workingwoman, a feminine persona that I have donned for some of my jobs, especially as a woman in the tech industry. This character has a controlled sexiness that gives her some power by playing into a stereotypical gender-role and satisfying the male gaze. Many of my performances communicate an element of frustration, which is related to the fact that women in our culture are always defined by their bodies even if the work they do is mental rather than physical.


Photography by Taura Horn


The more recent episodes of I Just Work Here visualize the transposition of my work and personal life from an urban metropolis to Nebraska. Some of the tools, ways of working and dressing that are effective in a large city are out of place here. Therefore, Episodes 3-5 are awkward juxtapositions of the workingwoman character in rural landscapes.

In a larger sense, the I Just Work Here series raises questions about what work is. Thinking back to my parents’ choices to be homemakers and artists I learned at an early age that we can shape our work lives much more than we often allow ourselves.

About Sarah20140703-612A1910-2
Sarah Berkeley holds an MFA in Art & Design from the University of Michigan (2011) and a BFA with Distinction in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2002). She is the recipient of several Nebraska Wesleyan Faculty Development Grants, the Ameritas Grant, the City of Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant, the Smucker-Wagstaff Research Grant, the Rackham Research Grant, and the University of Michigan School of Art & Design International Travel Grant. Sarah Berkeley was born on the North Shore of Massachusetts and subsequently spent her childhood in Michigan and Colorado. Between high school and college she lived in Ireland for six months. During her undergraduate studies at UNL she spent a year in Madrid, Spain. At the completion of her degree she began her career as a web designer in New York City and in 2003 moved to Berlin, Germany to pursue her art career. While there, she co-founded the Berlin Collaborative Drawing Group and discovered a passion for teaching. After three years in Berlin, she returned to the United States to prepare for graduate school. Prior to her current teaching position at Nebraska Wesleyan University, she taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Her artwork has been collected and exhibited internationally including at Rutgers University, The Ann Arbor Film Festival, Defibrillator Gallery, New Capital, Roman Susan, Mana Contemporary, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Work Gallery Detroit and Mercury 20. Her artwork has been published in Quarterly West, the Archways Magazine, and OVERVIEW by LAND and SEA. She has completed residencies at The Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE, the Cedar Point Biological Station and 8550 OHIO.