Creativity Is My Livelihood

New Music 2012 at KANEKO, Omaha Symphony

New Music 2012 at KANEKO, Omaha Symphony

 Adam’s Story

I grew up in the sandhills of Nebraska, surrounded by dairy cows, prairie grass, cowboy bars and fuzzy antenna television.  Imagination and creativity were my playthings by necessity and were encouraged by parents who taught me to be expressive and bold.

My imagination took me away from Nebraska to embark upon a performance career and what I perceived to be “greater things.”   It took coming back home to discover my true passion – to inspire creativity, imagination in others through the arts.  Here, in Nebraska, my imagination and creativity have led me to a livelihood that consists of developing unique experiences that blend the performing and fine arts, academics, and life – creating experiences where both young and old minds can discover new things about their world, themselves, and their own creativity.

 We are a team of creative individuals – musicians, conductors, educators, and administrators – who depend on collaboration to give our collective creativity a voice, and to serve our audiences.

Although an administrator on paper, my role at the Omaha Symphony is a bit of a grab bag: actor, singer, director, playwright, educator, innovator, strategic planner, and collaborator.  The beautiful thing about the work that we do is that there is no “correct” way to do it.  We are a team of creative individuals – musicians, conductors, educators, and administrators – who depend on collaboration to give our collective creativity a voice, and to serve our audiences.

This creativity is witnessed through our work in the community, creating concert structures that provide a space for audiences to access and reflect upon the music.   Sometimes, it can be as simple as taking the musicians out of the concert hall and making music in new settings. Other times it can be as complicated as bringing the community onstage to perform as musicians themselves.

In every experience that I develop with the symphony, creativity is paramount.  I believe that music is inherently able to transcend cultural and social barriers, to inspire connections and understanding, yet I find that in our busy world it takes new structures and new methods of delivery to get people to actually stop and listen, to open themselves up to the experience.  Once they do, their own sparks of creativity will do the rest.

About Adam

T. Adam Goos, 2014 Mission Imagination, Photo by Adam Zavitz

T. Adam Goos, 2014 Mission Imagination, Photo by Adam Zavitz

T. Adam Goos is the Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at the Omaha Symphony, where he develops original concert experiences for students and community members. Annually, the Omaha Symphony’s education and engagement programs serve nearly 30,000 individuals, through school concerts and community experiences that provide opportunities to perform with the symphony. Goos developed the symphony’s new All Aboard! program, that  partners with communities across Nebraska to design and implement customized residencies and concert experiences.  Adam holds a Masters of Fine Arts in theatre performance from Roosevelt University and degrees in music and theatre from Wayne State College.

 

 

 

Aspiring to a Livelihood

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Oliver’s Story

We live in exciting times. I watch the changing Nebraska environment and ambience and relish its growing complexity. On Thursday March 12, 2015 we had to choose between a Georgia O’Keeffe lecture at the Joslyn, a lecture on kimonos at the KANEKO and a potluck at Gallery 72 feting father and son artists, all were free, two came with food. As a professional historian I see accomplishments and unmet goals, both encouraging and disappointing. We have a crisis of abundance and a dearth of social resources, thus inequality of opportunity and income. We have no family in Omaha. Our children fled to Kansas and Wisconsin and landed in Berkeley and San Francisco. Our work colleagues, religious affiliation, and people with like minded bicycling, art, music, culinary, wine, and liberal political pursuits has made a “family of friends.”

I want to elevate the common, the mundane, the human condition, into the universal, turn the autonomic into the noteworthy and remarkable, as in “who knew.”

My books are my friends. I read, mark the margins, jot down notes, and record how the text enhanced or confirmed my understanding. I am Google computer literate, but lag behind Facebook, Twitter, and whatever. I like sunrises (though prefer to sleep late), Nebraska’s piercing spring sun and rosy sunsets. I am in awe of the flight path of birds in a V formation, the backyard creek with the sound of cardinals, yellow finches, paired doves, woodpeckers, errant turkeys, rousted squirrels, and frequent four-engine behemoths flying low toward Offutt. I see the world through the eyes and sensibilities of an emigrant from England, (my parents escaped the Nazis in the late 1930s), a Vietnam veteran, a recipient of a UCLA education and Creighton law degree, forty years of teaching and thirty of practicing law, and almost fifty years of marriage — a wonderful maturation.

Historical methodology, reading, gathering and organizing evidence transcends time and place. Burma, Southern Africa, England, legal history, print culture, Jewish history, foodways, became playing fields for a process of analysis and narrative, turning ideas into paragraphs, articles and books. I want to elevate the common, the mundane, the human condition, into the universal, turn the autonomic into the noteworthy and remarkable, as in “who knew.”

People should read and write joyously. This is a personal essay, a feuilleton. I wrote these words and approve this message.

About Oliverpollak_o

Oliver B. Pollak was born in England to Ruth and William Pollak during World War II. His parents were refugees from Germany and Austria. The family emigrated to America in 1952. After living for a while in Ohio they settled in Los Angeles. Oliver earned his doctorate in history at UCLA and his law degree at Creighton University. He has written 10 books and more than 100 scholarly articles and writes popular columns for several publications. He is a co-founder of the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society and has served on the boards of the Nebraska Humanities Council and the Nebraska Center for the Book.  Oliver is a member of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau.

Art History Education Is My Livelihood

 

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Amy’s Story

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the direction of my career at the moment! I came to the University of Nebraska at Omaha three years ago as the Renaissance/Baroque art historian. Recently, I received tenure and became the Acting Coordinator for Art & Art History. In March I will journey to Berlin for the Renaissance Society of America’s annual conference and in May I take students to London for a study abroad program.

 Present circumstances aside, pursuing a career in art history has presented its share of challenges. As the first person in my family to go to college, art history may not have been the most practical major. It involves, as I have learned, travel and language acquisition. While on the surface these appear to be great endeavors, they also take time and money – two things that I did not have, especially since I funded much of my education myself. There were many times in my graduate career that I felt completely deficient and inadequate – for example when I would talk to somebody from Switzerland who spoke four languages fluently. Despite the moments that I chastised myself for aiming for something that seemed so out of reach, I earned a Master’s degree from Kent State University in Ohio and a PhD from Indiana University.  

My life is so rich because my soul and brain are constantly nourished by my discipline.

Similar to my graduate studies, my teaching career also had its share of twists and turns. I took a position as the sole art historian at Wittenberg University before completing my PhD. After teaching and writing my dissertation simultaneously for years I did not complete my degree in time to get tenure. With my degree in my hand shortly thereafter I accepted a job at Southeastern Louisiana University where subsequent budget cuts and personal issues encouraged me to seek employment elsewhere.

Despite the tails of woe, the moments of triumph have far outweighed defeat and following a career in art history has given far more than its taken. My life is so rich because my soul and brain are constantly nourished by my discipline. In any given day, I will learn about a contemporary artist, prehistoric Britain, and the costumes of sixteenth-century German soldiers. Equally gratifying is being able to share the knowledge and culture that has so enriched my life with others. Nothing is better than getting a text from a student letting me know that they were accepted into graduate school. More than anything I can teach students that following your passion and remaining persistent does pay off. Yes, the arts can be challenging, but the opportunities to learn and meet the most interesting people in the world are worth all the hardships.

About Amy

Amy Morris is currently Acting Coordinator of Art & Art History and an Associate morrisProfessor of Art History. She was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and received her B.S. in Advertising and M.A. in Art History from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. At Indiana University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 2006, she specialized in Northern Renaissance art. Currently Amy teaches survey courses and upper division courses in Early Modern European art history, including Italian Renaissance Art, Northern Renaissance Art, and Baroque and Rococo Art. Prior to teaching at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Amy gained extensive teaching experience at Wittenberg University in Ohio and Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.

 

Art, Education, and Music Are My Livelihoods

 

King of the Hill 2014 10 X 12 inches oil on linen

King of the Hill 2014 10 X 12 inches oil on linen

Byron’s Story

I am an artist, educator, and musician.  I am also a lifelong producer of creative content.  Education is my vocation.  My livelihood comes from my training and aptitude as a teacher.  The content of my teaching practice is parallel to my striving for a painting practice that is authentic, contemporary, and ambitious.

I learned early on that I was much happier when I was a little too busy rather than a little too bored.  I have the tendency to think that everything is a good idea.  I have a hard time separating my personal interests from my professional life.  As an artist and art educator, this relationship between my enthusiasms, being emotionally invested in work, and always having new problems to tackle has been a happy union.

Fight 2014 10 X 12 inches oil on linen

Fight 2014 10 X 12 inches oil on linen

My favorite aspect of being an artist is that there is no creative terminus.  There are always new goals, new ways to improve, new projects, new collaborations, new collectors to meet, and new context for the work.  The rewards of an art practice are also related to finding something that resonates bigger than the original intention.  The idea for a work and the final result almost never match.  Allowing the work to surprise me never gets old.

Red 2014 6 X 8 inches oil on panel

Red 2014 6 X 8 inches oil on panel

Nebraska has been very good to me.  I came here for Graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Painting.  I met my fiancé here. I have taught classes at UNL, UNO, and Nebraska Wesleyan University as well as working as the gallery preparator in Elder Gallery at NWU.  I have a beautiful and affordable painting studio.  I have a band, Red Cities that is tons of fun and has a growing fan base.  My livelihood comes from being a teacher but my success as a teacher is tied directly to my life as an artist and my active pursuit of sustained production of creative content.

About ByronHeadshot

Byron Anway is an artist, educator and musician living and working in Lincoln NE.  Byron received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Studio Art and a BA in Art and Education from Luther College in Decorah IA.  He has taught Drawing and Painting at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The University of Nebraska-Omaha, Nebraska Wesleyan University, the International School of Brussels, in Belgium, and the American Academy-Casablanca in Morocco.  Byron is a founding member of the artist collective Sexy/OFFENDER and the guitarist and vocalist for the rock band RED CITIES.

To see more of Byron Anway’s work check out the Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha and Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln at the Joslyn Art Museum from 6/21/2015 – 10/11/2015. byronanwayart.com

 

 

Theatre Directing Is My Livelihood

The Drowsy Chaperone at Omaha Community Playhouse.  Photo by  Christian Robertson

The Drowsy Chaperone at Omaha Community Playhouse. Photo by Christian Robertson

 

Hilary’s Story

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The word “livelihood” comes from a combination of two Old English words that translate to “life” + “course.” My lifecourse centers around theatre and the use of creative imagination.

When I look back over my lifecourse, it comes together as a narrative about the examination of story, of people, of our lives here together through the medium of theatre. A lifecourse must have purpose, the reason for continuation forward, the verb behind the noun of life. The purpose that moves my life forward is to give back.

I see stories as the main way that we orient ourselves in our timeline; stories are a tool through which we understand where, why and how we are. Theatre provides an opportunity to step into other timelines, to see from other perspectives, and to safely examine consequence and difficult narratives.

…it was clear from early in my childhood that theatre somehow spoke to me in a way that made it more than an entertainment, more than something that I could visit on occasion.

Theatre was something I have been fortunate to have access to my entire life. My mother and her mother were both avid theatre, opera, ballet and symphony attendees. It was their intention to cultivate and appreciation for the arts, not necessarily that I’d go into it as my vocation, my life’s work. However, it was clear from early in my childhood that theatre somehow spoke to me in a way that made it more than an entertainment, more than something that I could visit on occasion.

Since I started acting when I was five, which makes it almost four decades of theatre being the center of my world. It is a rare thing, I feel, to be able to do what you love as your way of providing your daily bread. Now in Omaha, I am finding a new community of theatrical artists to create, collaborate, make glorious fictional worlds with. It is my hope that I can give back to this incredibly artistic city, using theatre as a tool for not only artistic growth and achievements, but also community development, social and personal growth, and as a catalyst for dynamic conversations and engagement with arts in all forms.

About Hilaryhilary

Hilary Adams joined the Omaha Community Playhouse as its Artistic Director this June, where she’s directed The Drowsy Chaperone, Hands on a Hardbody, and is about to direct Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Prior to joining the Playhouse family, Hilary was based in NYC where she worked for 18 years as an award-winning professional director. Highlights include a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play, a Drama League Fellowship and receiving five Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellowships.  On Broadway, Hilary assisted Richard Jones (Titanic), David Henry Hwang (Flower Drum Song) and assistant directed for Robert Falls (Aida) and Mark Brokaw (Reckless). She has a Master’s in Applied Theatre from CUNY, School of Professional Studies. Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and League of Professional Theatre Women. www.hilaryadams.com

Click here to read more about the Omaha Community Playhouse.