Arts in Nebraska: Bob & Beth Wilson
Bob and Beth Wilson are ceramic artists who work out of their home-based studio in North Omaha. This husband-and-wife team is creating a series of 80 ceramic mosaic murals of some of the earliest pioneers in jazz and blues music. The murals are part of an outdoor walk-of-fame display in Richmond, Indiana honoring the artists who recorded for the Starr-Gennett recording company between 1915 and 1935. In this segment, we watch these artists create and assemble the pieces for the ceramic medallion honoring the music of Blind Lemon Jefferson, an early blues pioneer who reportedly sold more records in the 1920s then nearly any other blues musician of the time.
Mark Gilbert is a portrait artist from Scotland who has been living in Omaha for almost two years. Gilbert does portraits of patients and caregivers as part of a research project exploring the connections between art and medicine. Many of the patients featured are suffering with life-threatening diseases or disfigurement. In this segment, we are in Mark's studio at the University Medical Center in Omaha as he sketches a charcoal portrait of someone who is both a patient and a caregiver at UNMC. The official results of the study will not be available for some time, but already some of Mark's subjects report a positive benefit from the experience. The dramatic portraits done in charcoal or oil paint will be featured in an art exhibit at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha in December 2008.
Arts in Nebraska: Chiara String Quartet
The acclaimed members of the Chiara String Quartet are artists in residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music who perform throughout the area. In this segment, we go along for the ride as these four musicians hop a bus for a tour through western Nebraska. With stops in Minden, Curtis, Alliance, Halsey National Forest and North Platte, we watch and listen as the musicians conduct workshops with student musicians and perform for appreciative audiences along the way.
Arts in Nebraska: Jun Kaneko
Jun Kaneko is an internationally renowned sculptor who now works from his studio in Omaha. This Japanese-born artist is interviewed as he creates his trademark monolithic ceramic "dangos" (the Japanese word for "dumpling"), which can weigh as much as 1000 pounds. Kaneko discusses his artistic philosophy and creative process as we explore his collection.
Arts in Nebraska: Leah Sorensen-Hayes
Lincoln's Leah Sorensen-Hayes is a textile artist who works with quilts. In this profile, Leah is hard at work on her latest piece, an experimental quilt incorporating nontraditional quilting techniques associated with the studio quilting art movement. Sorensen-Hayes, a North Platte native, meets with her quilt group (including her mother from North Platte) to discuss quilting techniques and individual projects. Leah also visits the newly opened International Quilt Study Center to see the latest exhibit.
Arts in Nebraska: Thomas Thomas
Thomas Thomas is a former heavy equipment operator-turned-wood sculptor. Thomas creates his unique sculptures in his studio at Omaha's Hot Shops Art Center. He makes life-size creatures and animals out of wood, layering pieces of wood together in a three-dimensional form that often incorporates movable and functional parts.
Arts in Nebraska: Leslie Iwai
Leslie Iwai is an artist who lives in Omaha and works in a variety of mediums, including performance, performance installation, and sculpture, among others. In this segment, we go to the MONA (the Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney) where Iwai did a four-month-long performance installation based in part on the classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The installation explores how some of the fable's themes connect with contemporary issues.
Arts in Nebraska: Wanda Ewing
Wanda Ewing is a painter and assistant professor of art and art history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In this segment, we see her work on display at Lincoln's Sheldon Museum of Art. Her exhibit, "Bougie," explores concepts of beauty inspired by fashion magazines by creating satirical covers for her own fictional magazine.