The Great Plains Art Museum is showcasing artwork created by Native American students during the “Modern Traditions: Seeing with New Eyes” three-week workshop that took place in the summer of 2011.  It was a joint project between world renowned glass artist Therman StatomKANEKO, the OPS Native American Program, and Hot Shops Art Center.  The focus for the workshop was defining your own visual heritage. The 30 students that participated looked at traditional and contemporary symbols and used them to create their own personal symbolism through the visual arts.  The artwork will be on display in conjunction with LPS Visual Arts Mentorship Program artwork between April 6-22 at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q Street, Lincoln, NE  68508.

“Modern Traditions: Seeing with New Eyes”


Modern Traditions: Seeing with New Eyes was a program led by Omaha glass artist Therman Statom who worked with thirty youth, ages 8 to 21, in Omaha Public Schools Native American Indian Education Department. The students looked at traditional and contemporary symbols and used them to create their own personal symbolism through the visual arts. The students learned basic techniques in drawing, painting, screen-printing, fabric art, and various methods of hot and cold glass work.  The workshop culminated in a public exhibition at the KANEKO in Omaha, and now at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln.


“I was incredibly impressed by the artwork on view at the KANEKO, and thought what a wonderful marriage to bring this exhibition to Lincoln and show it in conjunction with the Visual Arts Mentoring Program artwork,” said Great Plains Art Museum Curator Amber Mohr. “Not only is it an opportunity for young artists to see the work of their peers in a neighboring city, but both of these collaborative arts programs should be an inspiration to the local art community.”


Mohr hopes that the exhibitions will not just inspire the participating artists, but professional artists as well. “Every year with the LPS show I see several pieces and think ‘That could be anywhere, and I wouldn’t know it was an elementary student’s work.’ The students from Omaha also produced artwork that was deeply personal but translates to a wide audience. Basically they are all doing what every artist aspires to do, and some of them are starting in Kindergarten.”


The Lincoln Public Schools Visual Arts Mentoring Program invites applications from elementary school children gifted in the visual arts.  Students are then selected and partnered with an artist mentor who works with the student two hours per week. “This is the Visual Arts Mentoring Program’s fourteenth year,” said program facilitator Tina Spomer, “and our ninth year partnering with the Great Plains Art Museum for an exhibition venue.  It is very powerful for the young artists to create and direct their own work knowing it will hang in the professional atmosphere of the Great Plains Art Museum.”


“The Great Plains Art Museum is extremely happy to be a small part of encouraging these talented young people,” said Mohr.

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If you would like more information about the exhibition and reception, or to schedule an interview with Tina Spomer or Therman Statom, contact Amber Mohr at 402-472-0599 or e-mail Amber at