About Nebraska Cultural Endowment

Cultivating a legacy of stability, advocacy and leadership for the arts and humanities in Nebraska.

Being Inspired Every Day Is My Livelihood

Portraits  ©Laurie and Charles

Portraits
©Laurie and Charles

Laurie’s Story

From a very young age, my mother made conscious efforts to expose my siblings and I to the arts.  Of course at the time, I may not have even truly understood the profound impact that art classes, theater attendance, museum shows, would have.  There was a deep love of Broadway shows that extended to my grandmother and grandfather.  Various art projects were always on our walls, even framed, subtly showing my siblings and I that our artistic voices mattered.  Growing up in Dundee, I came to know and love everything Dundee meant to Omahans.  It was in the sunks of Happy Hollow that I explored visually after a late spring snow storm in 1986 with my first camera, a Pentax  K1000.  In fact, as I reflect on my early memories of always being ‘the friend with the camera’ I know that my early draw to photography was (and remains today) people.  The people of Omaha were the best subjects in the world.

Central High School created a lasting impact on how I view the world and continues to be influential today.  At Central, I experienced diversity and culture in a way that taught me so many lessons.  It was an honor to be amongst so many different people, a microcosm of the world in one school.   I still value that experience and know it has impacted how I have been a parent.    Difference is celebrated.  Everyone is unique.  Visually, Central’s architectural beauty never ceased to amaze me.  I loved being able to walk to the Joslyn Art Museum’s galleries and continue to love the close vicinity of these two great Omaha institutions.  Looking back on my younger years in Omaha, it’s hard to separate one aspect as all these pieces- exposure to arts, cultural diversity, and great, kind community- that have influenced and shaped where I am today.

Composition Football Paris ©Laurie Victor Kay

Composition Football Paris ©Laurie Victor Kay

My path to visual arts clearly began early, was formed in Central’s art studios, and later took me to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College.  There may have been a time in my life that I was admittedly nerdy about school, seeing arts not as a career but more as an interest, a passion.  Understanding that I could make this passion a career was enlightening.  In fact, it was Omaha that drew me back to do this in 1995.  It was in an Omaha photography studio that I serendipitously crossed paths with my husband Charles.  We had both moved home after our big city experiences- mine in Chicago, his is New York and LA.  We knew immediately we would share an incredible visual journey together through love and life.

During my twenty year career as a photographer in Omaha, I have photographed countless amazing faces of our beautiful city.  My visual journey is intricately tied to living here.    This is a town where people care for one another.  It where philanthropy combined with creativity and energy gets great things done.  I love seeing how interconnected the many creative pieces are in this city.    The creative is layered with culture on so many different levels.    When I refer to creativity, I’m also referring to organizations that are doing work in areas of the city that need it most.

So you ask, what is my livelihood?

My livelihood is life in Omaha that includes diversity, culture, intelligence, creativity, peacefulness, kindness, and thoughts of living in the nation’s best city.  My livelihood is one that includes creating portraits of people in our community that they can enjoy in their homes for years to come.  The happiness this gives me is immense.  I could not creatively do any of this if I was not inspired every day.  Living in Omaha gives me just that- liveliness about life.

About Lauriekay 2

Exploring and interpreting her surroundings through the lens of a camera, photographer Laurie Victor Kay studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College in Chicago where she received her B.F.A. in photography in 1995.  For the past twenty years, she and her husband Charles have collaborated, owning their studio Laurie and Charles Photographs. Their commissioned portraits have attracted clients to Omaha from across the country. Laurie and Charles’ extensive client list includes Fortune 500 companies, Accenture, AT&T, Citibank, and more, publications such as the New York Times, Travel and Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and notables such as Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation. Laurie’s work is represented by galleries in New York, Chicago, Sun Valley, and is in prominent collections throughout the US. She has been featured in Photo District News, New York Mag. and Camera Arts, and was a past winner of the Prix de la Photographie.

Laurie Victor Kay’s work can be seen as part of the Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln exhibit at the Joslyn Art Museum from
June 21- October 11, 2015

www.laurieandcharles.com
www.laurievictorkay.com
www.charleskayjr.com
instagram
@laurieandcharles
@laurievictorkay

Advertisements

Translating Beauty Is My Livelihood

Over and Under, acrylic, paper and graphite on wood, 24”x 24” x 1.5”

Over and Under, acrylic, paper and graphite on wood, 24”x 24” x 1.5”

Michelle’s Story

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where art has been important part of my life from an early age. When I was a young child, my Mom saw my need for creative expression through art. She took me too many local art exhibits, galleries and festivals. I was introduced to working artists and took private lessons from a few. I fell in love with the act of creating and the immersive lifestyle that artists seem to live. From that point on, I realized that I was a painter.

Branded, acrylic, paper and charcoal on wood, 30” x 30” x 2.5”

Branded, acrylic, paper and charcoal on wood, 30” x 30” x 2.5”

Painting for me is about problem solving. I attempt to explore my intuitive responses to my life and experiences. I have sought to produce bold, outgoing images through my private and internal struggles to come into harmony with myself. My subject matter usually centers on a symbolic narrative. I expect the viewer will become involved in his or her own interpretations. I am concerned with conveying the range of primal emotions that every individual feels. I attempt, through my own understanding of the emotions I experience, to reach out universally with my images, trying to share what other might feel. It is my hope to achieve this with the overt physicality of the abstractions combined with active and expressive color. The work elicits an emotional response because it is at once aggressive and pleasurable. These are celebratory images, even when they display anger or aggression. They are so in the sense that even when these negative emotions are explored, they are treated as passionately and forcefully at the less destructive emotions.

First Dance, acrylic and paper on wood, 24” x 18” x 1”

First Dance, acrylic and paper on wood, 24” x 18” x 1”

To me, my work conveys the urgency in acting on one’s own emotions. These internal feelings spring from outside stimuli and are acted out aggressively. Since I am a private person, I feel my work speaks visually of my personality in ways that I choose not to speak verbally. It explores the depth of my soul and mind. When I work on these images, the universality of the range of primal emotions alive in every individual is explored on a grand scale and for this reason I feel they are objects to which every person can relate in one way or another. My intention is to translate the beauty of the human experience through the paintings I produce, not simply by explaining but by evoking.

About Michellemim photo 6

Michelle Daisley Moffitt lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska. Her abstract paintings focus on the emotive impact of color through the use of shape, pattern and texture as they relate to natural forms. Her work is in private collections throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Her paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including Guy Lyman Fine Art in New Orleans, Louisiana, Holter Museum of Art, in Helena, Montana and Dundee Gallery in Omaha, Nebraska. She received her MFA from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 1993.

Click here to see more of Michelle’s work.

The work of Michelle Daisley Moffitt and Ron Quick will be featured in an exhibit from June 15 – July 24, 2015 in the Fred Simon Gallery located in the Nebraska Arts Council Offices in Omaha, NE.  Opening Reception – Friday, June 12th 5-7pm.


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

shutterstock_62800036 (1)

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

 

IMG_4098

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.