Tag Archives: museums

November/December 2018 Art & Museum Exhibits

October 29, 2018 by , and

This calendar was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


SLICE
Through Nov. 4 at Darger HQ, 1804 Vinton St. Erin Foley’s art was inspired by tennis, and Michael Willett creates collages that manipulate Artforum exhibition advertisements into abstract compositions. Admission: free. 402-209-5554.
dargerhq.org

SLICE

Northwest Missouri State Faculty Invitational
Through Nov. 9 at the Weber Fine Arts Gallery, 6505 University Drive S. This exhibit will feature nine faculty members from NWMS, with painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, and installation art. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.
unomaha.edu

Omaha Bug Symposium 2018
Nov. 17 at OutrSpaces, 1258 S. 13th St. The science/art extravaganza features entomology lectures by Dave Crane and Andy Matz, insect-themed live music, insect-infused treats, art and costume contests, and insect-themed art installations. Adult-oriented content. 7p.m.-12:30a.m. Pre-sale tickets: $10. 308-224-4130.
facebook.com/omahabugsymposium

Katie Temple and Todd McCollister
Through Nov. 23 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. This collaborative exhibition examines the cozy nostalgia associated with finding the perfect home and the memories made there. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

Katie Temple and Todd McCollister

Joe Pankowski
Through Nov. 30 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. This University of Nebraska-Omaha alum brings his sketches-turned paintings, films, gadgets, and more to the local gallery. Hours by appointment. Admission: free. 402-203-5488.
bensonfirstfriday.com/petshop

Marcela Díaz: Contemporary Textiles
Through Dec. 21 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. This exhibit represents the traditional textile fiber art of the Yucatan with works created using natural fibers of cactus and coconut. Admission: $5 adults; $4 college students; $3.50 K-12 students and seniors (ages 55+); free for active military, children under 5, and members. 402-731-1137.
elmuseolatino.org

Pattern and Purpose: American Quilts from the Shelburne Museum
Through Jan. 6 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Quilting is an art form that bridged the gap between domestic life and public display. This exhibit showcases 35 quilts that range from complex geometric designs to delicate patterns inspired by nature. Tickets: $10 general public ($5 on Thursdays, 4-8 p.m.); $5 college students; free for Joslyn members and ages 17 and younger. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Richard Mosse
Through Jan. 6 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Conceptual photographer Richard Mosse studies localized conflicts that have broad social, political, and humanitarian implications. He uses surveillance imagery to map landscapes of human displacement. General admission: free. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Richard Mosse

The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West
Through Jan. 6 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Organized in conjunction with the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, the exhibition’s original photographs and stereographs document completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. General admission: free. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild
Through Jan. 6 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum hosts the world premiere of 40 of this acclaimed nature photographer’s works. Admission: $11 adults; $8 seniors (62+); $7 children (3-12); free for children under 3 and members. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Super Sports: Building Strength, Sportsmanship, and Smarts
Through April 14 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. Children can test their skills by throwing footballs and baseballs, take aim on the mini soccer, hockey, and basketball courts, attempt a CrossFit course, practice curling, and bump, set, spike on multi-level volleyball nets. Admission: $13 children and adults; $12 seniors (ages 60+); free for children under 2 and members. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

Frank Daharsh, Dar Vandevoort, and Hope Dendinger
Nov. 2-Dec. 2 at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. This month-long exhibit features blown-glass works by Daharsh and paintings by Vandevoort and Dendinger. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Amy Haney: Ascend/Descend
Nov. 2-Dec. 2 at Lied Art Gallery, 2500 California Plaza. Haney investigates the personalities and physical attributes found in various types of bird species in her large format prints. Haney will also display her Birds of Mass Destruction series that has been in progress for several years. Admission: free. 402-280-2509.
creighton.edu

Amy Haney: Ascend/Descend

Local African-Americans Who Served Their Country
Nov. 2-Jan. 26 at Great Plains Black History Museum, 2221 N. 24th St. This exhibit will feature local individuals who have served in the military, including the Tuskegee airmen who called Nebraska home. Admission: free. 402-932-7077.
gpblackhistorymuseum.org

Kristine Allphin and Signe Stuart
Nov. 2-25 at Anderson O’Brien Fine Art, 1108 Jackson St. This exhibit showcases paper pieces that are inspired by weaving and the natural order of things. Admission: free. 402-884-0911.
aobfineart.com

Rosana Ybarra
Nov. 2-Dec. 28 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. University of Nebraska-Lincoln instructor Ybarra will show her sculpture and other artworks. Hours by appointment. Admission: free. 402-203-
bensonfirstfriday.com/petshop

2018 Union Fellows Exhibit
Nov. 16-Dec. 15 at The Union for Contemporary Art, 2423 N. 24th St. Artists Chikadibia Ebirim, Dominique Morgan, Pamela Conyers-Hinson, Ashley Laverty, and Barber will showcase their works, which range from painting and sculpture to musical performance and live theater. Admission: free. 402-933-3161.
u-ca.org

2018 Union Fellows Exhibit

Holiday Cultural Trees
Nov. 23-Jan. 6 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This holiday fixture showcases how cultures around the world celebrate the Christmas season. Admission: $11 adults; $8 seniors (62+); $7 children (3-12); free for children under 3 and members. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Santa’s Magic
Nov. 23-Dec. 23 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This OCM tradition includes an interactive show with indoor snowfall, an elf, the Snow Queen, and of course, Santa Claus. Admission: $13 children and adults; $12 seniors (60+); free for children under 2 and members. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org

Bart Vargas: AMALGAMATIONS
Nov. 30-Jan. 25 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. Inspired by pop culture, Vargas’ works stand out as playful and entertaining ceramic figures. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

Hot Shops Art Center’s 18th Annual Winter Open House
Dec. 1 & 2 at Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St. Guests can sip refreshments, browse the galleries, and learn how artists create their work in this open house featuring over 80 artists. A non-perishable food donation is encouraged. Saturday noon-8 p.m; Sunday noon-5 p.m. Admission: free. 402-342-6452.
hotshopsartcenter.com

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Event times and details may change.
 Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

September/October 2018 Art & Museum Exhibits

Art & Museum Exhibits

Jevon Woods
Through Sept. 7 at Love’s Jazz & Arts Center 2510 N. 24th St. Woods’ work captures the essence of social and historical figures and explores the intricacies of Afrocentric everyday life. Admission: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors (ages 55+), $5 children ages 6-12, free for children age 5 and under. 402-502-5291.
ljac.org

Treasures of British Art 1400-2000: The Berger Collection
Through Sept. 9 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Take a look at 50 masterworks from one of the most private collections of British painting in the U.S. Tickets: $10 general public ($5 4-8 p.m. Thursdays), $5 college students, free for Joslyn members and ages 17 and younger. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism
Through Sept. 15 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St. This exhibit examines how Pepe often plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of art. Admission: free. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

Kristine Allphin: Taking Root
Through Sept. 16 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibit celebrates batik, an ancient decorative art used to embellish textiles, and the various forms of beauty found in the natural world. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children ages 6-12, free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Betni Kalk
Through Sept. 21 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. View the works of Kalk, a Creighton University design instructor inspired by the natural world. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

Reality
Through Sept. 26 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. This exhibit investigates art, science, and technology that creates, alters, and reflects upon the sense of what’s real. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

Museum of Nebraska Art Traveling Exhibition
Sept. 7-Oct. 28 at Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St. Come see the works of artists from across the state at MONA’s traveling exhibition. MONA was developed in 1976 to create an art collective that celebrates Nebraska’s unique artistic heritage. Admission: free. 402-305-1510.
gallery1516.org

Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild
Sept. 1 through Jan. 6, 2019 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum hosts the world premiere of 40 of this acclaimed nature photographer’s works. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 2 and members. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Dottie Seymour, Virginia Ocken, Glenda Musilek, and Judy Greff
Sept. 7-30 at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Discover the paintings by these featured artists, which range from watercolor to acrylic, with subjects from horses to abstract images. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Watie White and Brent Houzenga
Sept. 7-Oct. 26 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. Take part in the notable printmaking and portraiture of White and Houzenga at the gallery in Benson’s Petshop. Admission: free. 402-203-5488.
facebook.com/bensonpetshop

James Bockelman
Sept. 14-Oct. 5 at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. This exhibit showcases James Bockelman’s modern works. Bockelman is an art professor at Concordia University. Admission: free. 402-680-6737.
projectprojectomaha.com


Sept. 14-Oct. 12 at Lied Art Gallery, 2500 California Plaza. Take in new oil paint and watercolor pieces by Creighton professor Thein. Admission: free. 402-280-2509.
johnthein.com

John Thein, Sept. 14-Oct. 12

Todd McCollister and Katie Temple
Starting Sept. 28-Nov. 23 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. View McCollister’s long-grain furniture and woodwork and Temple’s architecture-inspired art. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

Kay Chapman: Wearable Art
Oct. 2-4 at Anderson O’Brien Art, 1108 Jackson St. Chapman uses natural fibers such as silk, cotton, linen, and wool to create clothing that is subtle and bold. See her work and understand the inspirations behind her designs. Admission: free. 402-884-0911.
aobfineart.com

Cindy Mathiason, Elisa Benn, and Courtney Christiansen
Oct. 5 at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Enjoy artwork by three featured artists during the month of October, with pieces ranging from oil and charcoal portraits to nature photography. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.
artistscoopomaha.com

Northwest Missouri State Faculty Invitational
Oct. 5-Nov. 9 at Osborne Family Gallery in Criss Library, 6401 University Dr. N. Take in the works of a shared art community from Northwest Missouri State University. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.
unomaha.edu

Joe Pankowski
Oct. 5-Nov. 30 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. This University of Nebraska-Omaha alum brings his sketches—turned paintings, films, gadgets, and more—to the local gallery. Admission: free. 402-203-5488.
facebook.com/bensonpetshop 

Fall Chrysanthemum Show
Oct. 6-Nov. 16 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Discover a fascinating fabrication of flowers. Bold mums combine with vibrant and diverse colors, textures, and fabrics representative of Japanese culture. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002. 
lauritzengardens.org

Japanese Ambience Festival
Oct. 6-7 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Participate in cultural events and celebrate Omaha’s special relationship with Japan. Hosted by the Omaha Sister Cities Association, the event will include a wide range of activities like Japanese calligraphy, origami, food tastings, martial arts demonstrations, and more. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Most activities included with regular admission, $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Pattern and Purpose: American Quilts from the Shelburne Museum
Oct. 6 through Jan. 6, 2019, at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. View 35 quilt designs by traditional and contemporary makers inspired by everything from nature to geometric patterns. Tickets: $10 general public, $5 college students, free for Joslyn members and ages 17 and younger. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Sarah Hummel Jones
Starting Oct. 12 at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. Sarah Hummel Jones is an interdisciplinary artist who works with a variety of materials and teaches students across the nation. Admission: free. 402-680-6737.
projectprojectomaha.com


Starting Oct. 13 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. Celebrate the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead by viewing an exhibit and memorial ofrenda. Admission: $5 general admission, $4 college students with ID, $3.50 students K-12 and senior citizens (55+), free for members, active military with ID, and children under 5. 402-731-1137.
elmuseolatino.org

Benefit Art Auction Exhibition
Oct. 13-26 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St. This annual exhibition will feature more than 300 works from local, regional, and national artists. All proceeds will benefit artists and raise funds for Bemis Center programs. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

Super Sports: Building Strength, Sportsmanship, and Smarts
Starting Oct. 13 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This special exhibit is a hands-on exploration of sports, with skill-building experiences through play. Admission: $13 children and adults, $12 seniors (age 60+), free for children 2 and younger and members. 402-342-6164.
ocm.org


Event times and details may change.
Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

This calendar was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

2017 September/October Exhibits

September 1, 2017 by
Photography by contributed

KINETIC, Through Oct. 14 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. KINETIC at KANEKO explores the art and science of movement, and the perception of motion. This collaborative exhibition will feature visual art, interactive sculpture, and experiential learning opportunities developed to strengthen the understanding of kinetics in everyday life. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.
thekaneko.org

“Move Over, Sir”: Women Working on the Railroad, Through Oct. 28 at Union Pacific Railroad Museum, 200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs. This exhibit traces the contributions that women have made to the railroad industry throughout the past 150 years. Admission: free. 712-329-8307.
uprrmuseum.org

A Century of Omaha Steaks: The Story of America’s Original Butcher, Through Nov. 11 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This exhibit celebrates 100 years of one of Omaha’s most well-known businesses. Founded in 1917, today Omaha Steaks sells over 14 million pounds of beef annually to their 3 million active customers around the nation. The exhibit will showcase photographs, archival documents, and historic facts from the company archive. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 3. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

“A Momentous Collection” at The Durham Museum through Jan. 14

A Momentous Collection: Pivotal Moments in Byron Reed’s Lifetime, Through Jan. 14 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. Byron Reed established the first real estate agency in Omaha before Nebraska achieved statehood. In his spare time he had a passion for collecting rarities. Today, he is thought to be one of the greatest collectors of the 19th century. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 3. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Christina Narwicz, Sept. 1-Oct. 20 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. This exhibit displays several works by local abstract painter Christina Narwicz. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.
artscouncil.nebraska.gov

Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour, Oct. 7-8 at various locations. The annual North Hills Pottery Tour starts at the Florence Mill before continuing northward to Dennison Pottery in Ponca Hills, Too Far North Wines in Fort Calhoun, and Big Table Studios in Herman. The tour features 19 local and national clay artists. The Florence Mill also features a pumpkin patch and bake sale. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
omahanorthhillspotterytour.com

Zoom Into Nano, Oct. 7-Jan. 7 at The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. This new exhibit will magnify the microscopic world of nanotechnology by 100 million times with interactive exhibits, such as a virtual RNA molecule. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 3. 402-444-5071.
durhammuseum.org

Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Oct. 7-Jan. 7 at Joslyn Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Drawings, watercolors, oil sketches, and pastels dating from the Middle Ages to the present day reveal the distinct hand and inspired touch of the most important artists from the past five centuries, including Guercino, Tiepolo, Delacroix, Degas, Kollwitz, Nolde, Hopper, and Ruscha. Tickets: $10 adults (18+), free for members, children, and college students with ID. 402-342-3300.
joslyn.org

Benefit Art Auction Exhibition, Oct. 14-27 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St. Preview works from more than 250 local, regional, and national artists selected to participate in this year’s benefit auction, the Bemis’ annual fundraiser. 402-341-7130.
bemiscenter.org

**Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

Mural Man

June 2, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Visual artist Mike Giron’s creative life spans studio practice, teaching, and working with A Midsummer’s Mural and South Omaha Mural Project teams.

“In my studio work, I have no idea what’s going to happen—I just go. I’m not forcing or insisting on anything. The work creates itself in some crazy way,” Giron says. “When it comes to murals, it’s a lot more deliberate. You have to propose a design before you begin. So, I live in these two different worlds, and I think it’s keeping me balanced.”

The New Orleans native came to Omaha in the early 1990s by way of Colorado, where he met his ex-wife, an Omaha native. After her father died, the couple moved here with the intent of restoring her family home, selling it, and returning to Colorado. But Omaha proved a good place to raise their two children, so they stayed.

Giron, 45, taught art at Bellevue University and ran the campus gallery. Today, he’s a Metropolitan Community College adjunct instructor.

Without knowing it, he prepared to be a muralist through his experience painting Mardi Gras floats in New Orleans. Walls are not so different from float structures—they’re big and imperfect. And just as he used cut-out panels on floats, he does the same with murals.

“The Polish mural is the clearest example,” he says. “There was a downspout, a chimney, and a fence around an air conditioning unit, and we used cut-outs to hide those things. It gave a 3D pop-up look effect. It also breaks the frame to extend beyond the box of the building.”

Patience is a virtue for a muralist.

“Murals take a long time—maybe two months,” he says. “Unless you really practice your Zen, you’ve got to make it enjoyable to keep on doing it every day.”

The social contract of public art and the collaborative nature of murals means you’d better like people. He does. You’d better like working big, too.

“Once you experience large-scale production, it’s hard to go back to small paintings,” he says. “Although I still consider myself a studio painter, there’s also something about doing large work. You can’t help but see a wall and go, ‘Oh, that would be perfect for this statement.’ And then the physicality of the work feels good. You’re carrying stuff all the time; you’re up and down ladders. The brush strokes are not just a flick of the wrist.”

But Giron says the real reason he and his fellow muralists do it is because “we’re channeling the voices of people who can’t do this, and we take pride in that.” He says, “We feel good about delivering something that people feel does express them.”

The process for the South Omaha murals involves deep community immersion.

“The more you immerse and personally connect with the people on a street level, the more you’re going to be trusted by that community, and the more they’ll open up and allow you in,” he says.

The South O murals feature diverse looks.

“Some fall into naturalism, and others go into some other place,” he says, “That’s interesting to me because it’s not the same. Rather than a signature style, I would prefer they look like they were done by different people.”

They are. Giron works with Richard Harrison, Rebecca Van Orman, and Hugo Zamorano. Neighbors contribute stories and ideas at community meetings. Residents and students participate in paint days and attend unveiling celebrations.

The works are an extension of the new South Omaha Museum, whose director, historian Gary Kastrick, conceived the murals project. Giron serves on the museum board. He enjoys digging through Kastrick’s artifact collection and preparing exhibits, including a replica of an Omaha Stockyards pen.

The idea is for the museum, the murals, and Kastrick’s history tours to spark a South O renaissance keying off the district’s rich heritage and culture. Muralists like Giron share a bigger goal to “make Omaha a destination for public art.” He says murals are a great way to enhance the city’s visual aesthetic and to engage the community. Besides, he says, murals “demonstrate to the public there is an arts community here” in a visible way galleries cannot.

Giron is impressed by the Omaha arts explosion. “There’s so much going on and so many young artists hitting the scene making a big impact,” he says.

Meanwhile, he continues to create studio art. His series On the Brighter Side of Post-Apocalyptic Minimalism employed fire-singed materials to make their satirical marks.

“With the process-oriented stuff I’m doing now, there’s a huge amount of variety, even though I’m just using grids,” he says, explaining that his personal artworks have moved away from rules of perspective and representational dictates of realism.

“When you don’t use any of that, all you have is the process and the visual reality of things—line, shape, value, color, texture, and space,” he says. “When you start playing in that area, where there’s no limits in terms of defining what things should be or should look like, you find it’s actually inexhaustible.”

He intends to follow “the course of my curiosity,” adding, “If you are really free as an artist, then you just follow whatever’s interesting to you.”

New murals keep beckoning, though. “I get pulled into all this work. You set yourself up for a fall, but the fall is where all the good stuff happens,” he says.

Having completed Czech, Lithuanian, Polish, Mexican, Metropolitan Community College, and Magic City murals for the South O project, Giron and company are now working on a Croatian mural. Irish, Italian, African-American, and Stockyards murals are still to come.

Visit amidsummersmural.com for more information.

This article was published in the May/June 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Magdalena Garcia

May 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article was published in the May/June issue of Omaha Magazine.

As executive director of El Museo Latino, Magdalena Garcia pours her heart into the museum she founded. She can’t help it; art isn’t just her work, it’s her life.

“It’s always about the art,” she says. “This isn’t something I just go do for eight hours, it’s a way of life.”

Garcia’s family moved to Omaha when she was nine, but returned to visit her artist aunt and grandmother each summer in Mexico City, providing her lots of cultural inspiration.

“Art was always part of our lives,” she says. “We’d go to the museum, ballet, theater—I remember grandmother cleaning on Saturday mornings with opera music blasting. None of it was ever foreign to me. That’s why I believe it’s so important to expose children to different art forms.”

Garcia frequents the symphony, opera, and museums in Omaha, and when she travels she’s always investigating local museums and culture.

“I love research. I love to learn new things, and one thing takes you 50 other places and then you come back around,” says Garcia, motioning in a circle.

Skeptical she could make a living as an artist, Garcia pursued related interests to situate herself in the museum field. She volunteered at the Joslyn Art Museum while earning an art history degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and working full time in human resources for Northern Natural Gas. She relocated to Houston when the company’s headquarters moved there and later used severance pay as a springboard for graduate school.

“I liked what I was doing,” Garcia says, “but over time I realized I just really wanted to work in a museum. It could be human resources—but in a museum.”

While seeking an internship, Garcia noted there were only three Latino museums in the country. Despite that early ’90s stat, she found a common, burgeoning interest in serving a growing Latino demographic.

“Why not Omaha?” she asked herself. And with that, the seed was planted for El Museo Latino, which Garcia opened in 1993 on a shoestring budget anchored by her own elbow grease.

Today El Museo Latino is one of 12 U.S. Latino museums, including one in Puerto Rico.

“None of us really know when that last moment of our lives will come, but I didn’t want to wonder: ‘Could I have tried it? Should I have tried it?’” says Garcia.

Garcia did traditional Mexican folk dancing for years, and continues to teach it at the museum. She also enjoys gastronomy, with a love for Italian, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican cuisines, and says she loves to “cook, experiment, taste.

“My other love is tennis,” she says. Garcia also adores swimming, and has been playing racquetball and weightlifting—“just for variety.”

“I’m always inventing new stuff to do, but making time for the things I love is important,” she says. “I think you have to find something that you really enjoy. When it comes to being active, I just want to get out there and have some fun. I want to go play.”

MagdalenaGarcia

Taking the “Special” Out of Special Needs

February 24, 2014 by

VODEC began in 1968 when a group of parents, educators, and others sought to implement a paradigm shift in how people with disabilities are perceived and, more vitally, how they interact with society. Loved ones with disabilities were too commonly all but invisible throughout the larger community. Many went to special schools. Some lived in special housing arrangements. The emphasis, it seemed, invariably centered on the concept of “special.”

“We serve people first and foremost as members of society,” says Daryn Richardson, the local nonprofit’s services development director. “Only secondarily do we see them as persons with disabilities, as persons with special needs.”

VODEC provides day programs, employment programs, and residential programs that are designed to meet most every need in helping individuals and communities reach their full potential through inclusion.

Originally known as the Vocational Development Center, VODEC today serves over 500 individuals with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities.

“The core of our mission is to recognize each and every person’s full potential as just that—a person with unlimited potential,” says Richardson. “It’s the most basic of starting points in our thinking, and we want the community to think the same way. After all, these are our sons, our daughters, our neighbors, our friends.”

The nonprofit offers a robust slate of programs. The business services unit offers packaging, assembly, shrink-wrapping, and other services staffed by VODEC’s people. Activities programs include dining out and trips to parks, museums, and other places of interest. Additional initiatives are aimed squarely at the idea that we are all social beings. Such topics as how to meet new friends, strategic thinking and problem solving skills, stranger danger, and understanding boundaries help open doors to a broader, richer world for all.

Creativity was the buzzword the day Omaha Magazine visited VODEC.

“WhyArts is here today (see related story on page 111) so they encountered a room full of artists,” says Richardson. “Sure, they also happen to be persons with disabilities, but today they are artists. We want to give them every opportunity to be themselves and experience life in new and rewarding ways. Tomorrow and next week and next month they will be something else, but today they are artists.”

VODEC's Pam Wyzykowksi with Greg Foster

Visit vodec.org for additional information.

Q&A: Valeria Orlandini

August 27, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Valeria Orlandini has made a career of preserving works on paper and photographic materials, many of which are proudly displayed in fine homes and museums worldwide. Ensuring that the rich stories, family memories, and important lessons they convey live on for future generations is a job she takes very seriously.

Q: Tell us about your work as a preservation specialist. Who are your clients? 

A: Orlandini Art Conservation was established in 2004 to provide the highest quality conservation treatment and preservation services for a broad range of paper-based objects: historic manuscripts, prints, printed documents, watercolors, drawings, paintings in all media, collages, contemporary works, pastels, and posters, as well as parchment, ivory, and photographic materials. Regardless of whether you’re a discerning collector or a family seeking to preserve precious documents, my goal is to provide all clients with the same exacting standards required by major art and archival institutions. My clients are mid- to high-end collectors and custodians of artistic and valuable and irreplaceable historic materials from holdings in museums, archives, libraries, private owners, and corporate businesses. I work in a wide range of projects and budgets.

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Q: Where did you receive your education and training in art and art conservation?

A: I hold a B.F.A. from the National School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires; a M.F.A. from the National School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires; and graduated in 2002 with a M.S. and a Certificate in Art Conservation in Paper and Library Science at the University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Program in Newark, Del.

Q: When did you first discover your love of history? Why are you so passionate about preserving it?

A: I have always been an art and history geek! I grew up with artists in my family, and as a child I would dig for old artifacts at my grandparents’ homes. I think that from that very early age, I became aware of how real history can be. Also, I come from a family of collectors and art and architecture lovers. Just about every member of my family collects old artifacts and memorabilia of previous generations. I grew up with a real sense of the importance of the past.

Every day, the vision of artists, the identity of people, and the very evidence of history all threaten to disappear. Left alone, old buildings will crumble, the Declaration of Independence will disintegrate, and the photographed faces of battle-weary Civil War soldiers will fade away, among other artifacts. The cultural patrimony, so painstakingly created over thousands of years, is surprisingly ephemeral with the ravages of time and the indifference of a disposable modern culture its biggest enemies.

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Q: How does your work interplay with home interiors and historic home preservation? 

A: As a collections conservator, I work very closely with interior designers, architects, engineers, and maintenance personnel to secure the building envelope where we protect objects from extremes and fluctuations in exterior temperature and moisture as well as light, dust, and gaseous contaminants. We frequently assess and measure temperature and relative humidity characteristics of air surrounding collections, as well as patterns of use and handling protocols. The conservation mission recognizes the need to preserve the unique character of both historic structures and artifacts. No two collections are identical.

Q: What have been some of your most interesting past projects?

A: While working in a number of studios and labs, I’ve had the privilege to treat an array of fascinating objects: Old Master paintings; Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo Period; ancient Korean rubbings and manuscripts; original newsprints from various American cities upon Abraham Lincoln’s assassination from April 1865; John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” folios; original documents of the Founding Fathers; and many others.

Most notably in 2010-11, I participated in the conservation treatment of the Thomas Jefferson Bible Project at the National Museum of American History, at the Smithsonian Institution. I worked with a team of conservators and scientists, conducting materials analysis, assessing aqueous stabilization treatment options, considering appropriate micro- and macro-environmental conditions, and a variety of other tests to help preserve this national treasure.

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Q: What projects have you worked with since moving here?

A: I have treated several objects from the Durham Museum. This museum stands as a magnificent reminder of a bygone era and allows generations to come together to learn, to share, and to remember.

Also, a very rewarding project that I carried out last fall was the treatment of an original Wright Brothers Patent Document [No. 821,393] for the “flying machine,” circa 1903-06 that was brought to my care from a private collector in Iowa. This was a really interesting study piece about the history of aviation and contains five original signatures hand-inscribed in iron gall ink by the Wright Brothers: Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867-1912), witnesses, and attorney.

Q: What advice would you give those looking to preserve family heirlooms? 

A: The American Institute of Conservation and Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) has developed guides for caring for your treasures at conservation-us.org. There’s also a book by Heritage Preservation entitled Caring for Your Family Treasures that can provide folks practical advice and easy-to-use guidelines on how to polish silver and furniture without diminishing their value, as well as creating safe display conditions for artworks, ceramics, dolls, quilts, books, photographs, and other treasured collections. These are tips with clear and understandable information on how to care for beloved family treasures.