305 N 5th St Norfolk, NE 68701 info@norfolkartscenter.org (402) 371-7199
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

What’s Coming Up in June!

June 4th – New Exhibition Opens

June 4th – Drop – In Art 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

June 5th – First Friday Free Event 7 p.m.

June 11th – Art Exhibition Reception 5-7 p.m.

June 13th – Second Saturday FREE Class 1 – 3 p.m.

June 17th – Toddler Class, Flower Painting 6:15 – 7 p.m.

June 23rd – Slime Time 1-2 p.m.

June 25th – Drop – In Art 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

June 25th – Sip+Create: Watercolors 6-8 p.m.

Hours Starting June 11th: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

10 – 11 A.m. is reserved for those who are more vulnerable.

Faces of the NAC – Patti Gubbels

Patti grew up in several small towns here in Nebraska, Denver, CO, and Martin, SD. She graduated high school in the heart of Nebraska’s Sandhills and went to Parks School in Denver. She majored in fashion design and loved it but had a desire to do something more. She then went to Wayne State College where she graduated with a degree in Sociology/Psychology and later went on to earn her M.S.E. degree in Counseling. After that, she attended UNL part-time while teaching at Northeast Community College. She graduated from UNL with a Ph. D. in Educational Psychology. Patti said, “I kiddingly told my students that I planned to have my Ph.D. before the turn of the century or before I retired. I graduated in December 1999. WHEW! Just made it.”

Patti spent more than 30 years in professional education working in roles as a teacher, education/educational psychology faculty member, college administrator, and professional development director. During her career she worked for Northeast Community College, Wayne State College, and Dana College in Nebraska; Western Governors University, a national on-line competency-based university; and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

Patti’s love for the arts started when she was in elementary school with a love of drawing. When she got to high school she was taking art classes as well as choreographing dances and even trampoline routines. She says that she has always enjoyed having a creative outlet, from fashion and interior design to jewelry making or creating and hooking rugs.

For Patti teaching was not just a science but also an art. She said, “I was always thinking of unique examples to share or designing learning experiences for students that would help students learn and remember teaching and psychology concepts.”

She first experienced the Norfolk Arts Center in 1990 when her son took several art classes. She and her husband started coming to events and receptions at the NAC and eventually, Patti started taking classes herself. After she retired she started volunteering at the NAC and was later asked to be on the Norfolk Arts Center Board.

Patti says she loves everything about being on the board. She said, “I wanted to serve on the Norfolk Arts Center board because I believed that I could contribute value to the organization. I also wanted to serve because I enjoy working with others to make decisions and to be engaged with an organization that provides such important opportunities to enrich the lives of others through art.”

Patti is currently retired and spends her time enjoying life with family and friends and volunteering for many different causes. She loves spending time with her grandkids, reading, gardening, and traveling. Patti loves taking the time to learn new things every day.

Patti has helped the Norfolk Arts Center effectively serve the people of Northeast Nebraska. We are blessed to have a board member like her!

Spending time with Patti, you can tell that the arts have truly made an impression on her life and sharing the arts with others is truly important to her. I will leave you with one last quote from Patti herself.

“The arts are an integral part of my life. They have impacted my thinking processes, have given me hours of creative pleasure, and in general, have enriched my life, and helped shape the person I am.”

Thank you Patti for all that you do to support the Arts!

13th Annual Juried Show Part 2

It’s time for round 2 of these amazing artist in this years Juried Show! We hope you enjoyed the last post!

Patricia Hollins – 1st place

I paint because it gives me pleasure and satisfies my urge to create. 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. Because of my fulltime teaching job at Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, the “up in the air” time may last a year or more, and summers are “prime time” for painting. Something that I begin in June one year may not be finished till mid or late August one or two years later. 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.

Anthony Thompson

 I think I was born holding a pencil. As long as I can remember I’ve had a compulsion to pick up every random writing tool I see. Be it crayon or pencil I’d pick it up and doodle on the closest thing available. I still do to this day. 
It didn’t occur to me until I was in elementary school that people appreciated the drawing skills I developed. My oldest sister had created a graphite drawing of a figure that received an award in a High School art exhibit. I liked the piece so I gathered a pencil and paper to draw my own version. I did a very close copy of the original and that experience began my desire to draw everything that was in front of me accurately. As a pre-teen, I feel in love with comic book art and began to draw the images I was looking at. This grew into a love for illustration and figure drawing.
That expanded into understanding perspective and composition developing strong fundamental drawing skills. I developed a love for airbrushing as a teenager. I watched as an airbrush artist painted a mural around an entire charter bus. His skills and use of air to apply paint fascinated me and was the drive for studying the art form. This also helped me accumulate experience using water-based acrylic and urethane solvent-based paints on several different substrates. 
In college, I focused my first degree on fine arts with a strong focus on photography, drawing, and oil painting. While working on my Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design I continued to study watercolor painting, printmaking and learning various design software for digital art applications.
My latest experimental creations are all driven by that desire to create something new. I now use advanced materials like holographic polyvinyl chloride, epichlorohydrin with bisphenol-A polymers containing different interference pigments, and methyl methacrylate that has been custom painted with aniline dye and vaporized by a laser.  On any given day I still work with these advanced materials, oil paints, watercolor paints, airbrushing, photography or digital painting on my Wacom. Many days I work in multiple mediums in several different disciplines. Just don’t leave a pencil and paper lying around me because it will get doodled on.

I’ve spent my entire life around Nebraska rivers and waterways. I love to explore and hike these ancient lands. Every time I visit these wide open spaces I see something magnificent. With a camera always with me I capture as much of the natural beauty I see in front of me. I use these photos as reference for water color paintings, oil paintings, mixed media/graphic design works and I create fine photo prints on metal or acrylic. If it’s 13 degrees below in February or 110 degrees in August you’ll find me wandering the backwoods of Nebraska shooting pictures. Immersion in that natural splendor and the joy it brings me is a driving inspiration in my work

Art is all about critical thinking, planning, design and execution. It makes you reach outside your comfort zone and process what you think you know differently. A real life lesson derived from art is perseverance. Your first creation might not hit the mark. So you go back to the drawing board again and start fresh. Eventually you will reach the point when you succeed while learning from the process. Multiply that by years of failures and successes so one becomes a more well rounded knowledgeable artist, critical thinker and individual that can solve problems.

Bobbie McWilliams

My daughter Mary Nichols inspired me to be an artist.
She was always so creative and I admire her work. She went to the Kansas City Art Institute In Kansas City, Mo.and later graduated from U.M.K.C. My daughter Julia also inspired me, by leading me to the decision of “going back to school.”

Ziggy was chosen for a tribute to our favorite childhood zoo animal. Ziggy the elephant, was the main attraction at the Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois. My little brothers, Mike & Tom couldn’t wait to go to the zoo, to see Ziggy!

 I believe that the arts are important because we can take with us ancient teachings, and what we have learned from the past, and make it meaningful to all of us today. Artists are the people, who are continuing the culture.

Donna Dubsky

Fine Arts adds cultural enrichment – without it, life would be boring and mundane. I can’t imagine a world without beautiful music, visual arts, or theatrics. Fine Arts feeds the soul & opens up the mind to creative inspiration & learning – they should always be encouraged!!!

Every year I admire the wild sunflowers which grow across the road. I picked some for my private art student to draw & as they sat throughout the week they started changing. When wilted they became even more interesting, so, I decided to draw them myself – enlarging the drawing to make a bigger statement. When I was asked to give a watercolor batik demo for a Columbus Art Gallery fund raiser, I thought these sunflowers would be a good identifiable subject for them to watch me paint, yet they would hold my creative interest. I barely got a start at the demo because of the involved batiking process. I worked on it a long time in my studio – deciding to do something unique in the background by breaking up the shapes

Art was my favorite subject in grade school, but we only had it on Fridays – I couldn’t wait! I took an art class from a private teacher in her home when I was about twelve, but didn’t take art in high school because of Band. Then after the birth of my third child my sister asked me to join the Columbus Area Artists, which was just getting organized. Being connected with the CAA, Association of Nebraska Art Clubs (ANAC), along with Halsey Autumn Art Workshop groups offered me an invaluable opportunity to study under numerous regional & nationally recognized artists.

Being an artist has taught me how to “see” the world through “artists eyes”! Seeing is one of the programming processes of the artistic computer. What you look at & what you see, starts your artists’ mind working. The way the mind works, in response to what the eye sees, conditions what goes onto whatever is the medium of expression. An artist is always changing with every piece he creates. Each piece is a learning experience – making it very challenging!

I’ve always truly loved to create—there isn’t a favorite art medium. I appreciate all mediums or their particular capabilities and continually take workshops to experiment & learn new mediums & concepts. I create in watercolor, watercolor batik, pencil, ink, alcohol ink, pastel (pencil & stick), acrylic, plasma cut, collage, bronze sculptures & even photography. My subject matter is also widely varied from abstract to realistic with “live models & still life” being my favorite subjects. Recently I’ve gravitated toward watercolor batik on rice paper, which I love because of its ‘surprising’ results after ironing out the wax!

It has been a long wonderful rewarding career, which continues to make my life an amazing journey! I thank God for my creative ability & giving me a world full of such beauty. And I thank my husband, children & grandchildren, for always supporting & encouraging me to be the professional artist I always wanted to be!

Jerene Kruse

The arts are an important part of our lives. We need a place to express ourselves and enjoy the benefit of creating. The arts encourage self-discipline, organization, problem solving, self-expression, and hard work. The quality of a civilization can be measured through its art. There are many ways to see and interpret the world. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. Our future depends on those with creative skills.

I wanted to create a slab constructed pot using collage methods. I decided on a nature theme, using pressed leaves, stamps, and a mold of a branch with leaves and berries. I had not created this shape before so I also challenged myself. I knew it needed a lid so my construction was not the usual way I create my pottery. It was fun to combine shape and collage.

I knew after 6th grade I wanted to be an Art Teacher. I had a country school teacher, Mrs. Irma Fodge, who inspired me to draw and create with new ideas. We also got to have Art on various days of the week, not just Friday afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed my High School Art classes and was happy with my choice of an Art Education major in college. I enjoy painting and printmaking but my true love is clay. Since retiring from teaching Art for 28 years I now have time to try new ideas and methods with my hand built pottery.

Sally Jurgensmeier

Raised on the family farm in Central Nebraska, my roots have never strayed very far. With close family
and community ties, I have remained firmly planted in thoughts of creating art from elements which surround me. Returning to the family farm. I am now committed to sculpting and creating on a full-time
basis.
My sculptures are intended to bring a smile to your face. I take metal, which is thought to be cold, hard,
and unattractive, and give it life, expression, and personality. Each piece is unique and never mass produced. Each piece can be displayed indoors or out.
“Fancy Hoot” is an interpretation of an owl using found objects and raw material. It has a “fancy” look to
it, and might appear to be ready for a party or Mardi Gras!

Steve Elliott

The role of geometry in this recent body of sculpture represents an abstraction of nature, inspired by patterns that are infinite and never changing. I am interested in the relationship between nature and structural complexity, particularly relating to ‘free form’ architecture, where lines and shapes are approximated in order to create intricate geometric structures. The skeletal construction method gradually brings the visual elements together while drawing with the material, inciting the viewer into a potential state of meaning.

Thank you to all of our amazing artists for an incredible show!!

13th Annual Juried Show Part 1

Because of the current circumstances we are in, we were unable to have a traditional reception for our current show, which unfortunately means you did not get the opportunity to meet these amazing artists! We wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know them a little better. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking a couple of blog posts to dive deeper into the lives of these great artists. We asked them a few questions and we are giving you their responses in their own words. The questions we asked were:

What inspired you to become an artist?

What was your inspiration for the piece chosen for this exhibit?

Why do you believe the arts are important? 

So let’s get started!

Diana Tweedy – Best in Show

“Art is the creative process that helps us to experience life to the fullest and what a wonderful thing to pass down to the generations. In these times of isolation what joy art brings whether it is looking at it or creating it.

Henry Thoreau said, “The questions is not what you look at, but what you see.”

All my life I have loved ART of all types. But it was with my first camera I found the outlet for me to create art. It has given me the ability to capture and show others what I see. I do not have formal training in photography but the Love of the Art of Photography has inspired me to take classes, read books, and spending time daily enjoying taking photos or editing.”

“The photo I entered in the Juried Show was taken at Lauritzen Gardens on a hot summer day. I found a little pond with lilies and the shadows and the sun reflection, in the early afternoon, were so dramatic it looked like an abstract painting. Like many of my favorite photos, it was not the photo I was seeking to take. I had hoped the lilies were still blooming and was looking to take a more traditional photo of the pond. This photo was computer edited very little.”

Kaci Schacht – 2nd Place

“My mom would be the one who inspired me to be an art teacher because when she decided to stay home with me and my siblings when we were young she still taught us all kinds of art projects. Then I would have to say that not until college did I realize that I can be more than an art teacher. My college professors showed me that being an art teacher and an artist at the same time helps sharpen both the teacher and artist skills.”

 “Fossilized is a piece that was inspired by the Nebraska state fossil, the mammoth. Making it out of clay makes it a little bit of a meta thought process for me because the clay that the fossil is made of is the same that encases it.”

” I believe that art is one of those things that everyone can learn to do some form of. Art is a way that allows people to process thoughts, emotions, situations, or ideas that may not make sense to anybody else but the artist themselves.”

Butch Rohrschneider

“In my senior year of high school, I needed to take one more art class in order to graduate.  So I decided to take a photography class.  I was thinking that the end result of this would be to simply be able to take better pictures on my next family vacation.  But instead, it was one of those “A-ha!” moments in my life.  The first time I stood in a dark room, put a piece of photographic paper in a tray of developer, and watched the image appear, something truly magical happened.  I thought that it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.  I had to continue.  I have been photographing ever since then.  My camera is never far away from me.”

“From my perspective, the work I chose to submit for the exhibition is unique, and very much one of a kind.  I believe no one else would have seen what I saw at that moment.  In my mind, another person would not have interpreted what I observed the same way that I did, nor would they have presented these images in the way that I did.” 

 “Unfortunately, we seem to be in one of those times where art is not perceived to be very important.  Yes, family is important, and of course, survival is important.  Art, however, is indeed necessary.  Many generations of human beings are completely defined by their artistic and intellectual endeavors.  The arts can reach into your soul, and leave great impacts on our lives.  The arts genuinely are essential.  They play a part in enriching and nourishing our overall well-being. 

Francine Fox

“I’ve liked making art since I can remember, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a bit of talent in it too. When I got old enough to start seriously considering what I would like to do for a living, I decided that teaching art at the college level was a good combination of my best abilities. My practice as a studio artist is central to my role as a faculty member, and in turn, my teaching influences my art.”

“This piece, titled Moon Landings, is about a recent collaborative conversation between astronomers and arachnologists on the capability of jumping spiders’ eyes. It turns out their eyes are built like Galilean telescopes and these spiders can actually see the moon even though their eye tube is less than a millimeter long. Since spiders have many eyes staggered along with their heads, I multiplied the number of moons in correspondence to jumping spiders’ eye placement and types of vision. I also included Lunaria (more commonly known as silver dollar plants) to play with the idea of the spiders’ understanding of what the moon might be in relation to the world around them.” 
You can read more about this in the following links – https://www.sciencealert.com/jumping-spiders-can-see-the-moon
https://www.inverse.com/article/32651-jumping-spider-andromeda-galaxy-eyeshttps://www.livescience.com/18143-jumping-spider-unique-vision.html


“I believe the arts have different roles in different cultures at different points in time. The most interesting purposes for art (in my humble opinion) are record-making capabilities, instructive or critical ventures, utilitarian or task-oriented works, and pieces that create a concrete visual for an otherwise abstract notion. There is quite a bit of overlap between these purposes, and they can be broken down into a myriad of equally interesting subheadings.”

Susan McCulley

“What inspired you to become an artist?     Art has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was very young, but admittingly it took a backseat for several years until an art workshop rekindled the love I had for drawing. More recently I have enjoyed the challenge of learning the art of scratchboard. I love the feeling of accomplishment when a piece turns out well and how my mind feels “reset”  when I have had a few hours to shut out the rest of the world and work on an image.”    

“High contrast images are especially effective on a scratchboard, due to the stark black and white imagery it creates. The soulful expression and the feeling it evoked when I initially saw the gorilla reference image instantly pulled at me, and I was compelled to capture it so putting it on scratchboard was an easy decision.”
 3. Why do you believe the arts are important?  The arts are important as they allow for self-expression and encourage creativity. I love it when I see a piece done so well that I am both left in awe and inspired by it.   

Tammy Uttecht

“My mother. Her name was Violet, so I have named my art company Shades of Violet. She loved to sew, knit, paint, and do numerous crafts and projects during my childhood years. I also love vibrant, bright colors. Most of my artwork incorporates vivid shades of the rainbow.”

“I wanted to combine bright greens and oranges, which are two colors that are very hard to blend as they are opposite sides of the color spectrum. I also find that circles are inclusive and I like to incorporate them somehow into my art.

“Art is so important! Since retiring, I have found great therapy in doing art. I believe that it is a necessary part of life and you can learn a lot about the world and yourself by doing art.”