305 N 5th Street, Norfolk NE 68701 info@norfolkartscenter.org 402.371.7199

Stearns, Petersen Fall Exhibitions Bring Color to the Art Center

Thursday, September 9th the artists will join us for an opening reception to celebrate the new exhibitions arrival to our Gallery and Atrium. Social hour will be from 5 – 6 and then the Artists will speak about their respective artwork and will take time to answer questions.

September 2, 2021 – November 25, 2021

Eric Stearns – Gallery Artist – The Evolution of Color

This past year, I’ve been working on developing a brand new color palette of glazes and this show represents the fruits of my labor. My color vocabulary is split between very muted and pastel shades and a brighter, more vibrant color scheme.

Many of the color combinations on my pieces are directly influenced by nature. The chemicals chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanin are collectively responsible for shades of green, orange, and purple in foliage. These and many other chemical compounds direct how certain light wavelengths are reflected or absorbed to show the colors your eyes can see.

Although I’m using a different variety of chemicals to achieve these colors, the process is very similar. Chemicals are used in various combinations and percentages in my base glaze to achieve the colors I’m looking for. I’ve created hundreds of test batches of glazes that were carefully applied to test tiles and fired. These test tiles were then narrowed down to about 40 different shades and colors to consider for my latest body of work.

Tessa Petersen – Atrium Artist – Outlines

I work with the medium of oil paint on wooden panels as a means of subverting the views of women present in traditional portraiture. I paint portraits of women with whom I am or have been close, but I also paint acquaintances, and occasionally, strangers. Since I usually know these women, I have an idea of their personalities and behavioral tendencies, so I use this knowledge to paint them with autonomy and subjectivity. I paint them to show them as real, relatable people, not just objectified things in which to take pleasure in staring.

Another idea that my work deals with is fashion and patterning. I often change the clothing of a subject to make the painting more aesthetically pleasing and to be representative of some aspect of her personality or identity. Fashion and the decorative arts are also areas which typically have been associated with women and the feminine, which fits in with my interest in gender.

Photography also plays and important role in my practice. The basis for my paintings are photographs which I have taken. I always take them in social settings, so most of the time people are unaware because I take them with an iPhone. This allows me to get authentic, candid shots of people experiencing a brief moment. The paintings partially function as pieces of my memory and are about the social relationships in my life which I capture with this candid photography. In this regard, my work also has a connection to social media imagery.

The images I take and paint from are the type of images you might see a person post on Instagram or Facebook while on a night out. They relate to the way in which women use social media, as a way to take control of their own image and how they are shown. They have a snapshot, candid quality and are often cropped in a way which is more indicative of social media photography than traditional portrait painting. These images are so ubiquitous in our mediated world, we become numb to them and they all blend together. I transfer them into paint so they can feel unique again. I try to bring the best of both worlds, painting and photography, into my work: the solidity and timelessness of painting with the immediacy and authenticity of photographs.

Juried Show Winners Announced

Guests visiting, and exploring the Artwork

Saturday April 10 was the opening reception for our 14th annual Juried Show and the response was amazing. Although our Juror could not attend winners were announced, refreshments were handed out and inspiration was shared between guests and artists. Many of the selected artists were in attendance and the collective talent of all involved made this a very competitive show for the artists and a very beautiful show for guests to enjoy.

Best in Show – Double Donut Teapot with artist Leroy Von Glan
First Place – “Tear” David Quady

We would like to congratulate our winning artists for this years Juried Show. Our top spot Best in Show goes to Leroy Von Glan with his ceramic work “Double Donut Teapot.” 1st Place went to David Quady’s oil painting “Tear”. 2nd place went to Holly Ann Schenk with her acrylic painting “Back Window” and an honorable mention goes to Rod Beyke for his shredded paper collage “Bob Marley”

Second Place – “Back Window” Holly Ann Schenk
Honorable Mention – Bob Marley with Artist Rod Beyke

The 14th Annual Juried show will be up until May 27 and as always, the gallery is free and open to the public. The Norfolk Arts Center is open Tuesday through Friday 10 am – 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm.      

14th Annual Juried Show

Meet the Artists selected for the 14th annual Juried Show by our esteemed Juror Johntimothy Pizzuto.

  • Alison Boughn
  • Barb Gustafsson
  • Brooke Gettman
  • Bruce Forbes
  • Bruce Trindle
  • Butch Rohrschnider
  • Cathy Foster
  • Danielle Dewees
  • David Quady
  • Deb Kubik
  • Derrill Grabenstein
  • Diana Tweedy
  • Francine Fox
  • Holly Ann Schenk
  • Jerene Kruse
  • Jody McQuillan
  • Kaci Schacht
  • Kathleen Lohr
  • Laura Snyder
  • Leroy von Glan
  • Linda Lacy
  • Patricia James
  • Rod Beyke
  • Susan McCulley
  • Rachel Vogel
  • Wendy Ketelson

Winter ’20 – ’21 Exhibitions

December 3, 2020 – February 25, 2021

Patricia Hollins – Gallery

I paint because it gives me pleasure and satisfies my urge to create. Since I am not an “a to b” type of person, and I’ve discovered that the work that delights me has a life and a timetable of its own. I rarely start one piece and finish it before beginning the next and, like a juggler, I could have five or more works “up in the air” at one time.  Something that I begin in June one year may not be finished for a year of two.  This cyclical approach to image development is interesting because it challenges me to see my work through the lens of time and to take surprising turns along the way.  For example, a small work on paper, “Connection 1”, eventually spawned a series culminating in the large Polyptych called “Dynamic Connections”.

There are several ideas that continue that resurface and find their way into my paintings. Doorways and architecture intrigue me because they seem timeless and because they hold a touch of déjà vu for me.  Family trips might spark an idea as was the case with “Road to Furnace Town” and “On the Way to Digby”.  Sometimes a new idea could come from sifting through a pile of old drawings that I keep in a box in my studio. “Dreaming Upside Down” is one of those. “Coeur de la Foret” was dream inspired. I find that images and forms that come unbidden are often the best and in the absence of a good dream, automatic drawing is my “go to” way of sparking ideas.


Morgan Ford Willingham – Gallery

This on-going series explores how natural beauty is masked by cosmetics that women use every day, and how the language of advertising is absorbed into the subconscious, where it constantly influences what women buy and how they perceive themselves. The text in this work is often appropriated from advertising slogans found in popular women’s magazines, and is sometimes difficult to read, signifying how the linguistics of advertising subconsciously attempts to persuade women to buy cosmetic products that alter their physical appearance.

In the newest phase of this series, the work references the symbolism of the female, Renaissance portrait. The portraits, often commissioned by a father or spouse,represented, not the physical beauty of its sitter but the wealth and stature of the commissioner.The self-portrait is used to investigate the various experiences of using cosmetics to commodify beauty, like the connection between the alteration of physical appearance to achieve societal acceptance.


Butch Rohrschneider – Atrium

The purpose of this show is to try to produce abstract paintings with a camera.  The main problem being:  where will I find the intelligent confusion of color, form, and texture that are inherent to this art form?  If I produce them myself, what would be the point of a camera?  Without the use of a camera, I might as well paint.  Walking through a construction site gave me an answer.  The mangled pieces of metal I saw put many abstract paintings that I’ve previously seen to shame.  The answer is the old, used, abused, reused, and unwanted products of modern society.  I began photographing junkyards, construction sites, dumpsters, railroad cars, and abandoned buildings.  Graffiti has also caught my eye.  Real magic can happen when one graffiti painting may overlap another graffiti painting.  Weather, such as rain and snow, along with all of the other elements of nature, can also play a part in developing the outcome of these images, especially when the paint is still wet.  An image completely unintentional emerges.  I enjoy seeking out, identifying, and photographing these unique images.  The results of my efforts are in the room/building that you are standing in now.

In the first phase of my project, I printed the image on photo paper, surrounded by a white border, completed with a black metal frame.  In the second phase of this project, I printed the image on canvas, which is then wrapped around a wooden frame.  I am treating each of these photographs as if it were an original abstract painting, where I will make only one print of each photograph.  Each of these works of art will truly be an edition one of one.    


Thanks to our sponsors for believing in the arts and supporting our gallery which is always free and open to the public!

**Sponsorship ensures the gallery is ALWAYS free and open to the public! 

Art pieces by Judith and Jody

Fall 2020 Exhibitions

Refreshments laid out for guests.

On Thursday, September 10th the main gallery was set to host the reception for the new Gallery and Atrium Exhibitions. The atrium had a table setup, by the Norfolk Arts Center Ladies Guild, with an eye-catching assortment of refreshments, including apples with peanut butter and assorted nuts. Wine and lemonade where served to quench the thirst of the art enthusiasts in attendance.

Guests began to gather around 5 pm and took time to take in the various pieces throughout the center. After mingling and enjoying the provided fare for a while, it was time to introduce the gallery and atrium exhibitions. Our atrium artist Jody McQuillan was not able to attend so our executive director Denice Hansen took time to introduce the exhibition and to read the artist statement for the showing.

Judith Anthony Johnston speaking to a group in the gallery.

Next our gallery artist, Judith Anthony Johnston, addressed those in attendance. Judith told us of her original inspiration of enjoying a Modigliani piece when she thought to herself about the emotion that the piece made her feel and how she wanted to be a part of that and give others the same experience. This led her to begin taking classes, graduate and teach art for many years. Throughout the years she has worked with many mentors experiencing various mediums and styles. Several of her mentors told her that she needed to find her voice or medium which she never did, instead combining multiple mediums within individual pieces.

Art pieces in the gallery.

The idea behind the current show was to showcase the various aspects of her journeys through life including spiritually and emotionally. Each section of the show highlights a different aspect in life and different mediums are used throughout. Styles throughout the showing include figurative, spiritual and whimsical pieces with mediums including paint, parchment, wire and more. Gold leaf being the most prevalent used in most if not all pieces, Judith chose this medium because it has a translucent quality where you can see through to the colors and mediums underneath but also has a reflective quality in the right light. The goal with each piece is for the viewer to question, “Why was this made” and “What does this piece mean to me?”

Art pieces in the atrium.

The rest of the evening was spent reflecting on the exhibition with more context in mind and guests asking questions about specific pieces along with the entire showing. We want to thank Judith for attending and addressing the group and for Jody exhibiting her art with us. The exhibitions will be up until November 25th so be sure to stop by and take in the gallery and atrium exhibitions.   

What’s Coming Up in August!

August 4th – Toddler Art (Swipe Art) 6:15 – 7 p.m.

August 5th – Water Gun Painting 1- 2 p.m.

August 6th – Drop – In Art 11 a.m. – Noon

August 7th – First Friday (FREE EVENT) 7 p.m.

August 8th – Second Saturday (FREE CLASS) 1-3 p.m.

August 21st – ‘Fork Fest 5 p.m.

August 27th – Sip+Create: Jewelry Making 6-8 p.m.

What’s Coming up in July

July 2nd – Drop-In Art 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

July 3rd – First Friday Open Mic Night 7 p.m. FREE EVENT

July 7th – Toddle Art 6:15 – 7 p.m. Unique Brushes

July 11th – Second Saturday FREE CLASS 1-3 p.m.

July 21st – Slime Time, TOO 1- 2 p.m.

July 22nd – Pencil Pointillism 1 -2 p.m

July 23rd – Drop – In Art 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Sip+Create: Door Hangers 6-8 p.m.

Happy Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day, but here at the Norfolk Arts Center believe we should be celebrating our amazing dad’s all week long!! And What better way to celebrate dad, then by making him an awesome homemade gift!

This week we have two great kids classes! The First is Slime Time! Now this class they won’t make something for dad, but it can give mom and dad a little extra time off this week, which we all know can sometimes be the best gift of all!

We also have our Drop-In Art class where we are making pool noodle monsters! Turn this super cute craft into a present for dad, or just give it to him as art for his office! Either way, we are sure that both mom and dad will enjoy these cute creations!

We also have a lot more classes coming up next month so don’t forget to check our calendar to take advantage of all the fun!

Faces at the NAC – Ben Collins

Today we are introducing you to another one of our amazing Board Members – Ben Collins. Ben is local to the area growing up on a farm just outside of Meadow Grove. While growing up his mom was a guidance counselor at Norfolk Senior High. After high school, Ben attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

Ben has had the opportunity to live in several communities in Nebraska because of his work, including Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney, Columbus and now Norfolk. While working he then earned his Master of Business Administration from Chadron State College. He moved to Norfolk about 2 ½ years ago with his wife Callan and two daughters Kate (6) and Anne (3).

In 2012, Ben and his now-wife, lived in Columbus and when planning their wedding decided to have a non-traditional ceremony somewhere between their hometowns of Meadow Grove and West Point. They ended up getting married right here at the NAC! On June 2nd, 2012, they had a small social hour in the atrium followed by a ceremony in the garden. They even ended up taking home a piece of art that was on display during their wedding!

When Ben and his family moved to town they got involved at the Arts Center almost immediately. Which lead to him joining our Board of Directors last July.

Ben says, “I believe the NAC does so many good things for the community that a large portion of the community is not even aware of. I wanted to be a part of the NAC Board in order to help ensure that everyone in the community would become aware of what the NAC offers and make sure that they all have access to the programs and events put on by the NAC.”

According to Ben, having two young daughters has helped him gain an appreciation of how art can impact everyone, from the young to the old. He sees how important it is to have the arts be a part of your life starting at that young age and believes that it really helps kids get creative and become well-rounded individuals.

One of the things that Ben loves about the NAC is the diversity of events, activities, and exhibits that it brings to the community. Ben believes that the Norfolk Arts Center has something for every person of every background (and we the staff would have to agree!) But if you talk to Ben about the NAC he will probably also mention our facility. “As the Chair of the Facilities, Equipment, and Technology Committee, I recognize the great potential that the NAC building has and the committee is working hard to do upgrades and maintenance to ensure that the building remains a great asset to the community for years to come.”

Ben says that being involved in the arts has given him a new perspective and shown him that anything is possible! As Ben would say, “If you can imagine it, you can make it!” He also says the arts have helped him think more critically and think outside of the box!

In his spare time Ben likes to build things, like a new patio table, or doll house for his kids! You also might see him riding around town on his motorcycle!

Ben and his family have been such a blessing to our NAC community and we are lucky to have them!

New Exhibition at the NAC!

The opening reception for this exhibit will be June 11th, 5-7 p.m.
This unique exhibition will be a split gallery show featuring In the Corner
of Nowhere by Sarah Lemmon and Carolyn Albracht, and Breaking
Boundaries: Mixed Media Works by Johntimothy Pizzuto and Patti Roberts –
Pizzuto. The Exhibition will be held from June 4th to August 27th. We have picked one image from each artist to feature below! To see more of these amazing works make sure to come to our opening reception! You will even get the opportunity to meet Sarah Lemmon and Carolyn Pizzuto and talk to them about these amazing pieces! It’s a night you won’t want to miss!

The Corner of Nowhere