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.



Writing is my Livelihood

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My interest in wordplay began in childhood. Growing up in North Omaha I found myself attracted to the wonder of certain words, usually multi-syllabic tongue twisters I heard television talking-heads wittily brandish. I also fell under the near fatal spell of alliteration.

I believe my real fascination with language stemmed from seeing my late father working his crossword puzzles, reading the newspaper and occasionally immersing himself in a book. Then there was the colorful vernacular he used around the house and that my extended family, who lived in South Omaha, used. Sprinkled in with the cuss words were  idiomatic descriptives favored by my father’s white-collar clan, whose expressions were just different enough from those of my mother’s blue-collar bunch, to stand them apart. Further seasoning this verbal stew were stray Polish words from my father’s side and occasional Italian words from my mother’s side. It was a multicultural linguistics education. As our all-white inner-city neighborhood became mixed, African-Americans introduced me to another rich vein of language flavored by their Southern roots and urban Northern street culture.

“….the simple joy of playing with words is the main

appeal to me.”

Even with all those influences I do not believe I would have been drawn to writing were it not for the Marvel comic books and high school English lit books I inherited from my older brothers. These stimulating hand-me-downs were enhanced by the periodicals that came into our home, particularly Sports Illustrated. By the time my brother Dan started writing his own personal sports column, just for the sheer pleasure of it. I, too, discovered writing could be fun. Later I found out what hard work it is. As teachers encouraged my efforts, I stretched myself. In high school I was recruited to write for the school paper and that led me to study journalism in college.

Even now, as a journalist and author, the simple joy of playing with words is the main appeal to me. Follow my work telling the stories of people, their passions and magnificent obsessions at or

About Adam

Leo Adam Biga is a working journalist who contributes articles to newspapers and magazines. He is also the author of Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film, a collectionleo of the writer’s extensive journalism about the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Additionally, Biga is the coeditor if Memories of the Jewish Midwest: Mom and Pop Grocery Stores and the author of two e-books for the Omaha Public Schools.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate worked in public relations (Joslyn Art Museum) before becoming a freelance writer. His published stories for dailies, weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies number well over a thousand. As a generalist he writes about a broad range of subjects, though most of his work is arts and culture-based.

He is finishing the biography of a retired Catholic priest who served marginalized populations around the world and he has plans for more nonfiction books. A new edition of his Payne book is in-progress.

Sample his eclectic work at or

NOTE: His partner, artist Pamela Jo Berry, is a past Livelihood subject. Read more about Pamela Jo Berry here:

Artistic Textiles Are My Livelihood

Deborah’s Story
It all began while standing in line, with hundreds of others, outside the most beautiful pink building I had ever seen. I didn’t know where we were going or why we were there. I just knew it had to be very special since I was dressed in my pink mohair (Sunday!) coat and I was with my “Gammy.” We entered this special place, where we saw paintings, colors, and sculptures. I just wanted to stay there forever. Many years later, I found out we were there to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit that had traveled across the United States. And it was there where my love for the arts began.

I grew up in a family of creative people and in a home where the arts were always present. My mother is a classically trained pianist, and my grandmother was a needlework specialist and textile artist. The piano thing didn’t work for me, but my Gammy taught me knitting, crocheting, and hand sewing by design and example. She encouraged me to use my imagination, which is essentially permission to create. Well, I did. I went from designing elaborate paper doll creations to doll clothes that would make Barbie and Lady Gaga proud! I went on to design costumes for musical acts ranging from local funk bands to gospel groups.

Later, I moved into textile arts and began creating art quilts. My creations have been
Deb Bunting Quiltdisplayed in venues as varied as living rooms to some of the finest museums in the state. I was also part of the Nebraska Arts Council’s artist in residence program and proudly worked my way from one end of the state to the other, teaching students the art of making traditional African fiber art techniques contemporary.

Although I now work in the industry side of the arts, I still get excited at the colors, the smells, and the feel of fabric. My full-circle experience came a few years ago when I walked into that beautiful pink box again, the Joslyn Art Museum, to see one of my own works proudly displayed as the backdrop for guest lecturer Faith Ringgold, my hero, and one of the finest textile artists in the world. And I know my Gammy was with me that day as well.

About Deborah
As Heritage Arts Manager for the Nebraska Arts Council, Deborah Teamer Bunting oversees the programs and services directed to Nebraska’s arts organizations or nonprofit community and volunteer organizations that primarily serve or are composed of people of Deb Bunting color. Deborah first came to the NAC as an artist-in-residence. While working as a textile
artist, she traveled the Midwest conducting residencies using contemporary techniques to teach traditional African textile design. Deborah’s past employment has included working freelance as an artist for organizations including Joslyn Art Museum, Museum of Nebraska Art and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Her works range from exhibitions to serving as a lead artist for the Bemis Mural Project. Born and raised in Omaha, the arts were a powerful influence in her home. While at the NAC, Deborah has worked on special projects and initiatives including Soon Come: The Art of Contemporary Jamaica and most recently, the Latino Arts Initiative.


Storytelling through Theater Is My Livelihood

Marty’s Story
When I was about twelve years old, my parents enrolled me in a drama class on Saturday mornings at the Joslyn Art Museum. For our class recital, our teacher, Mrs. Marx, took us through the galleries to select a painting to use as the topic for our final play, which we would author and perform as a group.

We chose the painting, “The Attic Door,” and our play became about a family who was threatened with losing their home due to the expansion of Interstate 480 (which was cutting a swath through old, established neighborhoods in Omaha at the time).

At that young age, I was able to see how theater could be used to tell a story about an important topic that was affecting people in our community. Through theater, I had a voice to express my opinion and be heard. Even before taking the drama classes, I always loved theater and enjoyed performing, but it wasn’t until that specific experience that my eyes were opened to how art can and should say important things!

About MartyMarty Skomal
As the Director of Programs for the Nebraska Arts Council, Marty Skomal’s responsibilities include oversight of all grant programs for arts and non-arts organizations, education and under-served communities. He is also directly responsible for arts education initiatives in the areas of staff development, policy and school reform issues. He has expertise in the areas of program evaluation, strategic planning and program design. He serves as NAC liaison to the Nebraska Department of Education and serves on the board of Nebraskans for the Arts.

He is also former director of Prairie Visions, Nebraska’s statewide Consortium for Arts Education. He has served as editor of the Flatwater Arts Companion, and his writings have also been featured in publications of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Nebraska Music Educators Association and in Arts Education Policy Review. He has served as an Arts Administration Fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts and holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.