BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host the work of the late Robert Klein Engler, writer and artist, during the month of September. The opening reception is Friday, Sept. 6, from 6:00 to 9:00pm at 5901 Maple Street in conjunction with Benson First Friday.
Mr. Engler held degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He received Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry. Many of his poems, stories, and paintings are set in New Orleans.
The Omaha writer and artist was an active volunteer. He helped organize a committee to maintain the stained glass windows at St. Mary Magdalene Church in downtown Omaha. The artist’s proceeds will benefit that fund.
The exhibition runs through Sept. 28 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.
BENSON – Hey, local artists – we’re currently seeking submissions for the fifth annual little show, which opens Friday, Dec. 6, at the little gallery.
All submitted works must be 12 by 12 inches (or smaller) and retail for $100 or less. The registration deadline is Friday, Nov. 1. Please email your intent to submit to firstname.lastname@example.org by that date and include:
Your contact information
The entry fee is $5 per submitted piece. All work must be dropped off at the little gallery the week of Nov. 25 – no exceptions.
Shawnequa Linder’s “Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” opens Friday, Aug. 2, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. The reception, which is free and open to the public, runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.
The Omaha artist has exhibited at Omaha’s RNG Gallery, Hot Shops Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and MONA, among other venues. She also has been featured in The Reader and The Encounter magazine.
Get to know Linder via the little gallery’s “5 with” series.
When did you know you were going to be an artist?
It wasn’t until probably around 2003 when my friend, Wanda Ewing, asked me to do the “Crazy Eights” slide jam at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. I had no idea what I was doing because I didn’t think at that time that I was an artist, but she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. So I started hanging out with all these cool artists who thought I was an artist. Since then, I finally allowed myself to think of myself as an artist because I was growing into one.
Describe your process.
My subject matter is movement, texture and color, whether it’s applied in a nontraditional landscape or portraits. The work explores the varying relationships between pop culture and fine art.
Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.
My SpongeBob coffee cup
My Art Fundamentals book
All my paints
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration pretty much everywhere, from a nature walk or attending an art show or just eating food, LOL. But make sure you have a pen to write out the idea because it will fade away like a morning dream.
What do you want others to know about you/your work?
I have met so many incredible and interesting people since I started my art journey, and I’m hoping to continue sharing my gifts for the world to see.
“Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series” runs through Aug. 31 at the little gallery. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.
BENSON – The Indie, north Omaha’s premier road race, will celebrate its fifth birthday Sunday, July 28, in conjunction with Benson Days 2019. The event, hosted by the Benson Neighborhood Association, is presented by 1912. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit Citylight Arts Project, an arts nonprofit that seeks to grow the Benson renaissance through empowering the next generation of creatives.
Online registration for the 10K and 5K races, considered to be among the region’s most challenging courses due to the neighborhood’s hilly terrain, ends July 24 at noon at www.theindieomaha.org/registration. The cost is $30 per solo artist (individual runner) and $25 per band (team member). A band is five or more members. For those who miss the online deadline, cash-only registration is available:
Thursday, July 25, from 4:00 to 7:00pm at 1912, 6201 Maple
Saturday, July 27, during the Benson Days Street Festival at the
Sunday, July 28, at race headquarters from 7:00 to 7:30am
Activities will get under way at 8:00am July 28 at race headquarters, located at 6201 Maple Street in downtown Benson. New this year is birthday cake at the finish line and 2019 race T-shirt sales at race headquarters. Boone, the official mascot of The Indie, will preside over race day activities. Block 59 Design Group in downtown Benson is the 2019 official mascot sponsor.
The public is encouraged to line the race routes and cheer
runners along the way. Race organizers have named the top 3 hills in the race:
Mount Evee, named after the winner of the inaugural Indie Pet Parade held last month, is located at 60th and Grant streets. Mount Evee is sponsored by the little gallery | benson.
Jun Lee’s “Competition Contemplation” opens Friday, July 5, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street. Get to know her via our “5 with” series.
Q: When did you know you were going to be an
As long as I remember, but my mom said it started when I was three years old. I asked her to draw me a snail, but she was stuck for a second. Then I took the crayon and paper from her and drew her snails. In her opinion, it was a good snail drawing for a three-year-old. From that snail drawing, I started saying I want to be an artist when I grew up.
Q: Describe your process.
For the woodblock, I use 3/4” cherry veneer plywood. Before I start drawing, I check for any gaps or rough areas on the block. Once I have filled in any gaps with wood filler, I sand the block with 300, 400 and 600 grit to make the surface of the block very smooth. When the sanding is completed, I draw directly on the block in pencil. After the pencil drawing is finalized, I use black permanent Sharpie markers and color Sharpie markers to mark the outline and the color layers. I then spray shellac evenly on the block so I can seal the Sharpie to prevent bleeding when I print and facilitate cleaning between layers. When the shellac has dried, I finish the block with one more round of sanding with 600 grit, then I carve the area that will be white in the image. I use Futatsu Wari Moku Hanga, Pfeil and Powergrip for carving tools.
In a reduction woodcut, a single block is used for a multi-color print, and it usually begins with the lightest color and progresses to the darkest layer, which is the key image. After I finish carving the white layer, I print the first color layer, the lightest color. After printing the first layer, I clean and dry the block overnight. I then carve out the area of the previous layer on the block so it’s ready to print the second layer. This is why the process is called a reduction woodcut, because you carve the block progressively as you print the layers in order and reduce the printed area with each layer. Once you finish with the block, you cannot reprint the block because the block has been carved out and is only left with the key image. I print with Gamblin Relief ink and Cranfield Relief ink.
Q: Name the 3 most important things in your
Printing press and large table surface.
My tool box. My carving tools, “lucky egg”, tape, markers and other materials are all in it. I work between the printshop and my home, so I have to have my tool box with me.
My printmaking “lucky charm”, a Gudetama lazy egg doll. It’s in my tool box so I won’t forget it wherever I go for a residency or to teach classes, whenever I carve or print. It started as a joke, but it’s been working as a lucky charm, so I don’t print without it.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
The memories from my childhood, books and current events. Most of my work is about competition, so I draw inspiration from memories from my past and how I view them through the lens of my current experience. I also take examples of competition from news stories and apply them to the general themes I use in my work. I like to focus on more personal stories versus larger issues because I feel this makes the issues surrounding competition more relatable to the individual viewer of my work.
Q: What do you want others to know about you/your work?
How I found printmaking was an accident. I majored in illustration for undergrad, and I was very happy with the choice of my major. It was my senior year, and my goal was to spend most of my time on my senior thesis project. I needed one elective studio credit and didn’t want to retake the same studio classes I took previously. My studio mate recommended that I take a printmaking course. I had never taken a printmaking course, so I signed up for lithography and screenprinting. At first, I really disliked the process. It took so much work and time for processing one layer, and we didn’t even have one single layer on the paper yet. But when I pulled the first print off of my first stone, it was like nothing I had ever done before. It totally got me hooked, and I’ve been on the printmaking road since then.
BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host “Competition Contemplation” by Jun Lee during the month of July in conjunction with the 2019 Frogman’s Print Workshops. The opening reception is Friday, July 5, from 7:30 to 10:30pm at 5901 Maple Street.
Lee, a printmaker from Falls Church, VA, works in large format woodcut using animals as metaphors to convey competition in our daily lives. She currently serves as the printmaking artist in residence at the Lee Arts Center in Arlington, VA, where she has focused on large-scale woodcuts and screenprints.
Lee attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, where she earned a BFA in illustration in 2002 and a post baccalaureate in printmaking in 2004. In 2007, she received her MFA in print media from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
Lee was awarded the 2018-19 DC Art Bank grant by the Government of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and was one of the semifinalists for the 2018 Sondheim Artscape Prize (Baltimore, MD). Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Below is her artist statement.
My body of work attempts to evoke the different moments of our competitive lives; pieces that express the spectrum of competition from hiding away to preparing for a fight. The reality is that all life is competition, and we create barriers in our minds that allow us to think we have a space we can step into where the competition stops. That constructed space allows us to regroup and enter the next fight toward our goal. Every attempt might not succeed or look glorious, but every victory is built upon the foundation of loss, suffering, effort and sacrifice. The ability to be successful is not dependent on the number of triumphs you have but rather your willingness to get up and continue the struggle after a defeat.
I grew up in Seoul, South Korea. When I was in first grade, there was a man who sold chicks outside of my school. They were so cute and appealing I had no choice but to buy one. I prepared my chick a bed and some food, but it passed away within a week. I did not know why it died and cried for days. Over time, I purchased several more chicks, but none survived longer than a month. After that, I promised myself I would never get a chick again.
This unforgettable childhood memory has been my obsession and inspiration for quite some time and made me realize the inescapable truth of life – that competition always surrounds us. All the chicks were equally cute, desirable and wanted to get picked so they could come out of the box, even though they knew nothing of the challenges that waited for them. This mirrors our own development as people; during childhood, we want nothing more than to become adults without knowing all it entails, yet once we become adults, we seek ways to cope with the constant pressure of competition that surrounds us. My work uses the chick as a metaphor of desire and fear in this competitive thing called life; a rooster symbolizes a winner or a loser, but one that can anticipate the demands of the fight. The rooster still has fear in his eyes, but hides the fear with his vicious comb, fearless feet and exotic feathers. Every time he walks into the fight ring, he stands with pride and holds his head high. I used to see myself as a chick, lost but still fighting. Now, this chick has finally gotten what it wished for – to be a rooster, the last fighter standing.
The exhibition runs through July 27. The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.
BENSON – Boone, the 2019 official mascot of The Indie, cordially invites all Benson pets to enter the first-ever Indie Pet Parade. The family-friendly event, set for Friday, July 5, during BFF, is part of lead-up activities to the 10K/5K road race, which will be held July 28 as part of Benson Days.
The parade will take participants along downtown Benson’s
south alley, starting behind the Citylight Arts Project (CAP) at 5603 Northwest
Radial Highway and ending in the parking lot of BFF headquarters at 2725 N. 62nd
There is no registration fee to participate in the parade. Pet
owners can register by submitting the name and photo of their pets to https://www.facebook.com/theindie2019/
by June 30. You can also register the afternoon of the event at the CAP
building from 5:00 to 5:45pm. The parade will get under way at 6pm.
All entries will be judged by Boone and an esteemed panel of
experts. The winner will receive free Indie gear and have one of the race’s top
5 hills named after them.
Representatives of Yeak Inc. of Benson, the 2019 sponsor of
The Indie Pet Parade, will serve as the grand marshalls.
BENSON – The little gallery will celebrate its fourth birthday Friday, June 7, with the opening of “America” by Trudy Swanson. The reception runs from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with BFF. It’s free and open to the public.
Re-purposing items easily recognizable in American culture, Swanson shifts the focus of interpretation to consider them within the context of addressing current conversations. The show will also feature a collaborative installation piece by Swanson and Omaha artist Shaun Ilahi.
In conjunction with “America,” Swanson is encouraging people to participate by posting their responses to the question “What does America mean to you?” on the show’s Facebook event page.
“America” runs through June 29. The little gallery, powered by Polecat Communications, is located in downtown Benson at 5901 Maple Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3 to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 1pm + by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.
BENSON – The little gallery is pleased to host “R A W \ B E A U T Y” by Omaha artist Shaun Ilahi during the month of May. The opening reception is Friday, May 3, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday.
The show is broken into segments that explore human perceptions, feelings and thoughts regardless of our own perceived uniqueness. “Devoid of our own social constructs and stripped to our core, it examines the ways we are connected to one another,” Ilahi explains.
The first segment is a selection of mixed-media artworks consisting of photos, paint and words. These various mediums are incorporated together to play and act as filters for one another, pointing to how our inner perceptions filter our surroundings.
The second segment is pictures of street photography taken in Pakistan. These images depict various aspects of life that capture moments that flow within all of us. Seemingly everyday urban scenery opens a window onto a more universal connection.
The final segment is an assortment of walls and markings that explore our inner and outer walls as humans.
Ilahi is a self-described world traveler and global citizen who captures simple moments through different mediums. He attended school in Nebraska and New York City and currently serves as general counsel for Habitat for Humanity.
R A W / B E A U T Y runs through May 25. The little gallery at 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson is powered by Polecat Communications. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.691.1901 or email email@example.com.