A Feast for the Eyes: Art in the Star City

by Sriyani Tidball

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. — Pablo Picasso

Art is one of the capital city’s many attractions. Lincoln is home to amazing watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, fiber art, video, ceramics, jewelry, and metal and stone sculptures. And on the First Fridayevening of each month, more and more Lincoln galleries host an open house to showcase new artists and collections. Lincoln boasts many art studios, museums and galleries. Here are some of the best.

Burkholder Project

Anne Burkholder, owner and executive director of the Burkholder Project shares her gallery studios with local artists whose work includes paintings, photography, sculpture, mixed media, dolls and jewelry. Selected as the Best Gallery in Nebraska by American Art Awards several years ago, this innovative gallery showcases local artists’ work and accommodates their studios all under one roof. One of the city’s first Haymarket galleries, the Burkholder Project is an inspiring place to spend a few hours and enjoy diverse artwork from a variety of artists. 

Sheldon Museum of Art

One of the largest galleries in the state, the Sheldon Museum of Art is located downtown on the UNL campus. It houses a major national collection of American art in a breath-taking building designed by American architect Philip Johnson. Their collection includes works by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Thomas Eakins, and Andy Warhol.

Great Plains Art Gallery

A sculpture of prairie pioneers greets visitors as they enter the Great Plains Art Gallery located at the corner of 12th and Q streets edging the UNL campus and close to the Sheldon Art Gallery. The museum houses the Christlieb Collection of western art that includes works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. It also hosts exhibits of art, video, and photography as well as First Friday events.

Gallery 9 Professional Artists Affiliation

Gallery 9 is known as a superb contemporary art and fine crafts gallery that showcases paintings, ceramics, metal sculpture, glass, and jewelry from about 30 artists who have their studios in the building. Located right outside the Haymarket in the Mission Arts Building, this small gallery is reached by crossing a beautiful, hidden courtyard that in itself makes the trip worthwhile. During the holiday season, shoppers can choose from a variety of gifts on display at the gallery. In July, the gallery features a group invitational show. Gallery 9 is located at 124 South 9th Street.

Kiechel Fine Art Expands Its Gallery Space 

Kiechel Fine Art at 1208 O Street in downtown Lincoln opened two years ago after a $1.344 million building renovation. Colored LED lights dramatically accent the four-story building while tastefully illuminating the structure. In addition a projector in the awning projects images of paintings or special events on the sidewalk in front of the gallery.

Gallery owner Buck Kiechel has made his world-class gallery very welcoming. He has plans to add more space so that several exhibitions can provide a variety of displays. Once visitors enter, the changes in the gallery are evident. The renovation includes the third and fourth floors for more gallery space plus a rooftop art and sculpture garden. The private garden will be open periodically to the public. The first floor features modern art and the second floor features major mid-century artists active in Middle America. Works on paper will be displayed on the third floor.

The International Quilt Study Center 

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum, located on UNL’s east Campus at 33rd and Holdrege streets, has a mission to inspire an understanding of the cultural and artistic significance of quilts by collecting, preserving, studying, exhibiting and promoting quilts and quilt-making traditions from many cultures, countries and times. It was the generosity of the Robert and Ardis James Foundation that made this gallery a possibility. For more, see our story on page 74. 

Robert Hillestad Textile Gallery

This gallery, also located on East Campus, is devoted to art and apparel textiles, from East to West. Their collection spans many centuries and features the work of a variety of famous and emerging designers. Call 402-472-2911 for details on exhibitions.

Darger HQ Gallery 

Darger HQ is a contemporary art gallery in the Parrish Studios on the second floor at 14th and O streets. Gallery owner Launa Bacon moved back to Nebraska from Los Angeles where she managed Darger HG as an online gallery. She has worked hard in bringing true, contemporary international and local art to Lincoln, as well as providing an incubator space for emerging local artists. 

Darger HQ distinguishes itself from other galleries by exhibiting true contemporary art, instead of more traditional art. An artist herself, Bacon shows her collages and oil paintings in the gallery. She also creates videos, installations and sculpture.

The gallery draws people in on First Fridays as well as on Wednesday evening for lectures, as well as workshops and classes. Classes offer instruction in a variety of media such as photography, drawing, oil painting, street art or installation work. More information about exhibits, lectures, classes and workshops can be found at dargerhq.com.

Parrish Studios

Parrish Studios feature studio spaces for small galleries and businesses. The studios’ intent is to foster the creative community. It is home to several art galleries, studios, photographers, and apparel shops. 

Also a popular destination on First Fridays, Parrish Studios host 600-800 people on First Fridays each month. The Parrish Studios are on the second floor at 14th and O streets.

Noyes Art Gallery

A mainstay in the art community, Noyes represents up to 50 artists who show a variety of original painting, photos, pottery, clothing and jewelry. The co-op art gallery also sponsors an exhibition in the Sunken Gardens each year in September—beauty surrounded by beauty. Noyes Gallery has a new show each month, and a reception on the first Friday evening of every month. 

Live Yes Studios and Gallery

Live Yes is an alternative arts-based day program for adults with developmental disabilities. The gallery seeks to break down societal barriers and create a space where individuality is fostered. At Live Yes Studios, they use art as a lens to see the world, a tool to communicate, and a gateway to community membership.

The Metro Gallery

The Metro Gallery offers an amazing variety of diverse art in a relatively small space in downtown Lincoln. Each piece is personally selected by owner and lifelong art lover, Dean Settle. He represents local, national and international artists—both professionals and amateurs that includes a heady selection of outsider art. This is a gallery of accessible and often affordable fine art. They participate in First Fridays and have a different show each month. 

The Eisentrager Howard Gallery 

The Eisentrager Howard Gallery features the art of faculty and students in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
It is located in Richards Hall on Stadium Drive and T Street. 

The Kruger Collection

The Kruger Collection of Miniature Furnishings and Decorative Arts is located in the College of Architecture at UNL and features four centuries of miniatures in one space. The collection is made up of 20,000 art miniatures. Admission is free to see this collection that is entertaining for all ages. The collection is currently in storage.

LUX Center for the Arts

The LUX Center in University Place is a non-profit community art center that shows artwork from local, regional, and national artists. Adults and children can also explore their own creativity with classes in pottery, printmaking, jewelry, glass or fiber. Classes are held at the center or taken off-site with their Art Van de LUX program. The gallery participates in the First Friday Artwalk and is located at 2601 North 48th Street. 

Iron Tail Gallery

Iron Tail Gallery features a new artist each month with openings on First Fridays with live music, food and drink. Iron Tail also does custom framing, commissioned artwork, hand-painted signs and in-home curating. It is located at 643 S. 25th Street in the old Bottling Co. building just off Capital Parkway.

The Rocketship Gallery 

Located at 2348 N Street, this is another local gallery worth a visit. They show local art and participate in First Fridays in this beautiful space. 

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