New Members Named to Nebraska Cultural Endowment Board of Directors

Rachel Jacobson of Omaha and Michelle Dudley of Norfolk have been appointed to the Nebraska Cultural Endowment board of directors and will begin serving their three year terms at the February board meeting.

Rachel Jacobson

Rachel Jacobson

 Ms. Jacobson is the Founder and Executive Director of Film Streams, a nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the cultural environment of Omaha through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. She volunteers and serves on several boards including the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, Opera Omaha Advisory Board, and is a Trustee of the Business Ethics Alliance. Rachel has served on the Film, Television and Media Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Michelle Dudley

Michelle Dudley

Michelle Dudley is a graduate of UNL and has a master’s degree in speech/language pathology. She was in private practice followed by employment at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk. Mrs. Dudley has served on the board of the Norfolk Arts Center beginning in 1990 and served on the capital campaign committee which built the NAC’s current facility. Michelle is the current president of the Norfolk Arts Center board and has also served on the Friends of Lied.

 Marilyn Mitchell of Norfolk has stepped down from the NCE board after serving since 2007.

 Formed in 1998 by community leaders and cultural advocates, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment is the private partner in a public-private partnership with the State of Nebraska created to provide long-term financial stability for the arts and humanities in Nebraska. The Nebraska Cultural Endowment supports the statewide educational programs and projects of the Nebraska Arts Council and Humanities Nebraska.

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Conversation Is My Livelihood

Mike, Russell, and John - Dannebrog - 8.17.15 copyright Stuart Chittenden

Mike, Russell, and John – Dannebrog – 8.17.15 copyright Stuart Chittenden

Stuart’s Story

As an expat Brit new to Omaha ten years ago, I wanted to crack open the rigid carapace of “Nebraska nice” and reveal the intimacy of a people’s truer characters. In 2010 my wife and I began hosting conversation salons in our home reminiscent of those from Enlightenment France. Since then, spurred on by a spirit of curiosity, my belief in conversation’s benefits has motivated an active artistic and humanities practice centered around conversation-based interactions. I develop and deliver a variety of conversational programs and engagements for individuals and organizations.

 Telling and hearing our stories is an affirmation of our common dignity and a simple act that contributes collectively to our sense of togetherness.

Having read Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley in my teens, I long imagined embarking on the archetypal American road-trip experience. Some thirty years later, and now with a belief that community thrives through conversation, I devised the project, a couple of 830 mile long conversations. Approaching Nebraska with honest warmth, open acceptance and sincere curiosity, I am traveling the side roads of the state in an RV to engage with Nebraskans. Honoring a long line of oral history tradition, from traveling troubadours to Alexis de Tocqueville to John Steinbeck to Charles Kuralt, I am creating or engaging in public conversation spaces in towns on the route. In each conversation, I am inquiring into our shared culture and evoking a place and its people, connecting us to Nebraskans, their stories and their lives.

a couple of 830 mile long conversations is especially concerned with using the art of conversation to explore the nature of our togetherness and our lived experience of community. Owen in St. Paul expressed a personal desire for community, saying that “everybody wants to feel appreciated.” In Hastings, Lisa observed, “The differences are what make us more, not the similarities.” When I asked a morning coffee group in the Danish Baker in Dannebrog, the simple response was community is “What you see right here.”

Telling and hearing our stories is an affirmation of our common dignity and a simple act that contributes collectively to our sense of togetherness. I believe that conversation enables us to live better and well, and it is my calling.

About Stuart

copyright Andrew Marinkovich

copyright Andrew Marinkovich

Stuart Chittenden is a British expatriate who, with his wife Amy, has called Omaha home since 2004. He believes that conversation helps us to live better and well, as individuals, families, and communities. Driven by that belief, he founded Squishtalks to design conversation programs for corporate and non-profit organizations and for public, personal, artistic and community purposes. Stuart also is a partner at the branding consultancy, david day associates, where he consults on brand strategy with local and national clients. As an amateur poet, his work has been published in The Antigonish Review, the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review, Euphony Journal and the Tulane Review.

To read more about a couple of 830 mile long conversations, visit http://830nebraska.com/ .

NCE 2015 Road Trip Review

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The Nebraska Cultural Endowment exists to serve you by providing reliability and sustainability for the arts and humanities programs supported by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council. Hundreds of organizations around the state benefit from their grants and programs. Continue reading

Being An Artist Is My Livelihood

Cobalt Skies, 16x20 pastel, 2014

Cobalt Skies, 16×20 pastel, 2014

Jennifer’s Story

I am often asked at what point during my life did I decide I was an artist.  In spite of the poor grammar, I usually respond with a quote from Will Rogers…”An artist is the only thing a man can say he is and nobody can prove he ain’t.”

Arid Skies 30x30 , Pastels, 2015 Permanent Collection of Museum of Nebraska Art

Arid Skies
30×30 , Pastels, 2015
Permanent Collection of Museum of Nebraska Art

I do believe I was born to create.  Growing up in the middle of Nebraska in the 1970’s, there was not a lot of exposure to the arts.  As a child, I was compelled to draw, paint and construct all sorts of things.  If I wasn’t outside exploring the landscape, I was indoors creating.  Although my mom kept an immaculate house, she never denied me the opportunity to make an explosive mess of art supplies and found objects.  My parents even let me wallpaper an entire bedroom with sheets of abstract designs I created with Mr. Sketch markers.

In 1985, the Nebraska Art Collection took up permanent residence in my hometown of Kearney.  The Museum of Nebraska Art gave me the opportunity to enter a “real” art museum for the first time.  I found the works that resided there utterly inspiring.  Over the next few years, the collection fueled my desire to create pieces of my own.

During my high school years, I took as many art classes as could fit into my schedule.  Those classes were my saving grace and the one bright spot in my school day.  I was not an athlete, nor was I musically inclined. I wasn’t particularly good at school, and math made my stomach turn.  Art was the one thing that felt right, and the only thing that provided me with a much need dose of self-esteem.

I went on to study painting at Colorado State University.  I graduated with honors in 1994 and spent the next several years teaching art along the front range of Colorado. It was during my commute to work that I began to notice an increase of human presence on the landscape.  Billboards, cell towers and strip malls began popping up along the greenbelts which separated one city from the next. I felt compelled to preserve these quickly vanishing spaces through paintings.

”An artist is the only thing a man can say he is and nobody can prove he ain’t.” – Will Rogers

In 1998, I married my high school sweetheart and moved back home to Nebraska.  I was astonished to discover the Nebraska landscapes I explored as a child had also been altered.  And so, my preservation through painting continued.  This interaction between man and landscape is still reflected in my work today.

Blazing Skies 30x30, Pastel, 2014

Blazing Skies
30×30, Pastel, 2014

In each of my pastels, I add an element of human presence.  It might be a road, a passing car, the distant light of a farmhouse or simply a tree planted by human hands.  These are reminders of the impact we, as humans, have on our land. It is my hope that by pointing out the beauty in the ordinary, people will better appreciate what they see each day.

I agree with Will Rogers, and I am glad he said what he said.  I proved to myself somewhere along the way that I am an artist. I hope those who see paintings passing by them every day have the courage to prove to themselves that they are artists. Because nobody can prove that they ain’t.

About Jenniferhoman

After graduating from high school, Jennifer Homan attended Colorado State University where she studied painting. She graduated from CSU in 1994 with a BA and teaching endorsement. During the mid 1990’s, Jennifer taught art at Thompson Valley High School, The Loveland Art Academy and The Loveland Museum.

After marrying her high school sweetheart, Jennifer returned to Kearney where she has been actively involved in supporting the arts and the environment.  She works from her studio in downtown Kearney and currently serves as chairperson of Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary Stewardship Board. Jeni devotes much of her spare time to working with aspiring young artists.  She is a member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America and her work has been awarded honors at various juried exhibits.  Her paintings have been featured in Nebraska Life Magazine and shown at the Museum of Nebraska Art and Omaha’s Cathedral Arts Project.

Jeni’s work is represented by Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha, Nebraska. Recent works can be viewed online at jenniferhoman.com.

 

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.