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.



Looking is my Livelihood

KK Pluhacek - Daisy Bullseye - 2013 - pastel -34x34

Daisy Bullseye – 2013 – pastel -34×34


Kristin’s Story
I was raised by parents who were scientists and seekers, and who quietly encouraged me to recognize the expansiveness of everyday life. For our family, the joy was in the discovery rather than the containment.

When I work with students, I encourage them to study the subject closely, and in many different ways. We talk about representation, but we focus on simpler things – line, shape, value, space. In this way, the students break down the concept of the object, and open themselves to that which can only be expressed through experience. They can carry this experience with them into life beyond their educational experience.

As an artist, I feel compelled to recognize and celebrate the grandness in ordinary things, and to do so by capturing and containing them.

Burble - 2012 - pastel - 42x40

Burble – 2012 – pastel – 42×40

It’s a bit of a conflict: As an artist, I feel compelled to recognize and celebrate the grandness in ordinary things, and to do so by capturing and containing them. So I try to maintain the immediacy of a subject by focusing less on a physical or emotional connection and more on the joining of several visual pieces, employing the language of the visual as purely as possible in an attempt to prolong the life of the subject. I think abstractly, even when my work is representational.

But for the artwork to survive, the viewer must be willing to continue the conversation begun in the studio, somehow connecting with the work and allowing it to inform daily experience. I try to keep my imagery open and engaging, inviting a viewer to participate differently with each new interaction and to embrace the digressions that appear with each new viewing.

Lane 2 - 2012 - oil on canvas - 30x20

Lane 2 – 2012 – oil on canvas – 30×20

To do this, I study a form many times before I consider it part of my repertoire, often relying on other senses to help get me to a truer expression. Then I can draw the same item over and over and it will become something new to me each time. Such experiences allow me to feel satisfied with never feeling fully comfortable with a subject, with needing to constantly look – because I know that what really changes in each equation is me and my ability to clearly see; and that in the end, I am only documenting myself.

About Kristin

Kristin Pluhacek profile image - in studio working on Conflict

Kristin Pluhacek profile image – in studio working on Conflict

Kristin Pluhacek lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska. Her drawings and paintings have been exhibited extensively in the Midwest, and her work is represented in numerous public and private collections. She has led many project workshops, most recently a mural project in Omaha’s Hanscom Park in collaboration with the UNO SummerWorks program. Kristin is a BFA graduate of Creighton University, a roster artist for the Nebraska Arts Council AiS/C program and a drawing instructor at Metropolitan Community College. Currently, her work can be viewed at Anderson/O’Brien Gallery in Omaha and on line at She will have a solo exhibit at the Cathedral Cultural Center in Spring 2015.



Writing is my Livelihood

leo 3

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:

The Lens Is Our Livelihood


Molly and Aaron’s Story
We’ve always loved video and film. Both of us. One of us loved to make films instead of handing in papers in school (Aaron) and the other grew up with a video camera always filming home movies (Molly). And we’ve always loved storytelling. One of us would act out movie plots in his room (Aaron) and the other would make her family act out plays (Molly). So it’s no surprise that together we found that we shared something artistically in common: video storytelling.

It took us a while to figure out what we were supposed to do in life and also to make a living. Molly’s dad always told her, “Do what you love, but find a way to make money at it.” We were making dramatic short films as a creative venture, when our cousin told us we should try videography. This strange word held such promise.

For the past nine years we have been partners in our video company called The Silver Screen, Inc. We started out primarily as wedding videographers and have branched off into more commercial/corporate work and photography. But whatever the project…it’s the story that’s still important to us, just like when we were kids. Now, as adults, we just have bigger toys.

We both have our different skills and talents that range from novel and children’s writing, to playwriting and photography, but we’ve found that when we combine our passions and ideas we can create more than either of us could have accomplished alone. Is it always easy to be married and work and create together? Not always, but most often it’s creative synergy. Much of what we do is filming mini-documentaries, whether it’s a wedding day or a corporate video. It’s about people’s lives and passions and that is what excites us about creating video content. We both have an insatiable need to tell the best story we can with whatever medium we choose to work in, and we challenge and inspire each other towards excellence. Just like this article, one of us started it and the other will make it better…and that’s how it works!


Photo by Christine McGuigan

About Molly and Aaron
Molly and Aaron are co-owners of the full service video production company The Silver Screen, Inc. as well as Aaron Zavitz Photography. Their video clients include KANEKO, Omaha Steaks, Blue Barn Theatre, Catering Creations, Metropolitan Community College, Joslyn Castle and many more. Both have fine arts degrees from UNO where they met–Molly, a degree in Art History, and Aaron, a degree in Dramatic Arts. They are co-founders of Hunger Artist Films, a film collaborative where they have received film awards from Hot Shop Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, Metropolitan Community College, Sony/Videomaker Magazine, and Indie Fest. Their greatest creation to date is their daughter, Alexandria, born in 2012. Currently, they are co-writing a feature length screenplay.