2019 indie to benefit citylight arts project

BENSON – Do you like Benson’s growing art scene? Do you need another reason to enter this year’s Indie?

Proceeds from the 2019 road race – set for July 28 in conjunction with Benson Days – will benefit the Citylight Arts Project (CAP), which seeks to empower the next generation of creatives. The nonprofit, an outgrowth of Citylight Benson Church, was selected as 2019’s race beneficiary by the Benson Neighborhood Association, which hosts Benson Days each year.

The mission of CAP, located at 5603 Northwest Radial Highway, is to:

  • Pioneer a new space to learn, create, and cultivate
  • Partner with like-minded community organizations
  • Promote emerging creatives and their work  
  • Produce a new generation of art patrons  
  • Provide for the underprivileged in our neighborhood

Registration is now open for the 10k and 5k courses.

The early bird cost through May 1 is $25 for individuals and $20 per person for a team of five or more. For more information about the race, visit www.theindieomaha.org. For more information about CAP, visit www.citylightartsproject.com.

the indie is 5 july 28, registration is now open

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.

Registration is now open for the 10K and 5K races, considered to be among the region’s most challenging courses due to the Benson neighborhood’s hilly terrain. “We call them the Benson Alps, and we’re challenging all of the region’s runners to come and scale them this summer,” said Ryan Morrissey, The Indie’s 2019 race director.

Early bird pricing, in effect through May 1, is $25 per solo artist (individual runner) and $20 per band (team) member. A band (team) is 5 or more members.

Activities will get under way at 8:00am July 28 at race headquarters, located at 6201 Maple Street in beautiful downtown Benson. New this year is birthday cake at the finish line, a pet parade, pre-race training runs, a contest to design the official race T and new sponsorship options. Watch for details soon.

Back by popular demand are:

  • Gold records for the overall male and female 10K and 5K race winners
  • The official mascot
  • The after party high above Benson on 1912’s fabulous rooftop deck

For more information, contact The Indie at 402.681.1901 or info@theindieomaha.org.


try again opens march 1

my curse | joe liebentritt | acrylic on black velvet

The little gallery is pleased to host “Try Again” by Joe Liebentritt during the month of March. The opening reception is Friday, March 1, from 6:00 to 9:00pm at 5901 Maple Street in conjunction with Benson First Friday.

An Omaha artist, Liebentritt has been drawing and painting his entire life. After attending The Kansas City Art Institute, he returned to Omaha, got involved with local art groups and continued to refine his craft. He served as president of the Associated Artists of Omaha, organized and judged several midwest art shows, and was co-owner of a local art gallery.

The inspiration for Liebentritt’s work originates from his everyday life and experiences. He seeks to connect with viewers through his unique perspective and style. His vignettes from travels and local locations range from portraits to city scenes. The images are pulled from his past and present, and are painted with his figurative, realistic brushwork.

“Most of the work featured is painted on canvas, but I also enjoy working with other materials and textures,” Liebentritt said. “They have their own story and add a different feel and connection. The skulls appeared to be a reoccurring theme from my old sketchbooks, so I wanted to pay homage to that in the show with the darkness of black velvet.

“Over the course of the past 10 years, I have gone through some serious life changing events. I keep having to refocus and adapt all over again…and again…and again. I found myself consciously reflecting on those experiences and the need to continually reinvent myself. The focus of this show is exploring and coming to terms with who I am as a person and artist.”

Liebentritt’s artwork has been featured in numerous art shows and events. His artwork is owned and enjoyed in private collections locally and across the country.

“in come the animals” opens feb. 1

The little gallery is pleased to host “In Come the Animals” by Bob Mathews during the month of February. The opening reception is Friday, Feb. 1, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday. Gallery proceeds from sales will benefit the Nebraska Humane Society.

The exhibit represents the artist’s ongoing evolution as a painter. “I enjoy color and occupying the majority of the picture plane with a solitary object,” Dr. Mathews said. “I enjoy an element of abstraction, and I enjoy the immediate impact on the viewer.”

In an effort to control the size of the composition, he constructs own supports and primarily uses acrylic paint, occasionally adding finishing touches with oil sticks.

A native of Minneapolis, Dr. Mathews retired in 2017 after a 37-year career in emergency medicine. He now draws and paints full time from his home studio in Omaha. The artist has participated in 45 group shows, two 2-person shows and 6 solo shows. He is currently represented by The Connect Gallery.

The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. Regular hours are Tuesday-Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.


transcendence opens jan. 4

Mark1_30x40 approx

The little gallery is pleased to host “Transcendence” during the month of January. The opening reception is set for Friday, Jan. 4, from 6:00 to 9:00pm during Benson First Friday.

Curated by Marie-Elena Schembri, this exhibition is an invitation to delve into the unsung stories of resolution, perseverance and liberation that are most often shared quietly over a cup of coffee, behind closed doors or with a select few who share a common purpose.

“Transcendence” provides a window into these very private stories about the choices we make to become our best, most authentic selves. Whether that means breaking free from unhealthy cycles, overcoming addictions or even resisting harmful yet socially acceptable behaviors, all these stories paint a picture of what it means to seek a better way of being in the world.

Featuring work by:

Kimberly Anderson

Brandi Bentley

Emily Borgmann

Mary Daley

Mary Ensz

John David Munoz

Marie-Elena Schembri

Nadia Shinkunas

Mark Andrew Steffan

“Transcendence” runs through Jan. 26. The little gallery, powered by Polecat Communications, is located at 5901 Maple Street in the John J Mercer Masonic Lodge. Regular hours are:

Tuesday-Friday
3pm to 6pm

Saturday
10am to 1pm

+ by appointment

For more information, contact us at 402.681.1901 or info@polecatcommunications.com.

4th annual little show opens dec. 7

The little gallery is pleased to host the 4th annual little show during the month of December. The opening reception is Friday, Dec. 7, from 6:00 to 9:00pm. The show features a variety of work by local artists Each piece is 12 x 12 inches or smaller and retails for $100 or less. Get your holiday shopping done here!

The 4th annual little show runs through Dec. 29. Gallery hours:

Tuesday-Friday
3:00 to 6:00pm

Saturday
10:00am to 1:00pm

+ by appointment

For more information, call 402.681.1901.


Lost in the Blue by Shawnequa Linder, $100.

art of memory opens nov. 2

The little gallery is pleased to present “Art of Memory” by Chad Leahy and Jennifer Solberg during the month of November. The exhibition features a  dozen paintings inspired by songs linked to life’s pivotal moments and handcrafted artisan journals. The opening reception is Friday, Nov. 2, from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

The artists tell it best themselves.

chad leahy

I paint pictures. I wish I wrote songs.

Music can enhance the mundane or elevate the already extraordinary. We enjoy music almost anywhere, doing almost anything. Chances are good that you were listening to music during many of your life’s pivotal moments. These may have been physical, like the birth of a child, or emotional, like falling in love. The accompanying songs become forever linked to your memories of those experiences. Such songs gave rise to this collection.

Each painting takes its title from the song that inspired it. Many use song lyrics to drive content while others employ personal association. Some combine elements of both.

jen solberg

My love of art and a lifetime of learning, experimenting and exploration has led me to my current joy: creating functional art in the form of journals.

Metalsmithing and silversmithing, etching, watercolor, eco-printing, drawing, woodworking, leatherwork and design all come together in every piece.

These archival-quality journals contain 90# watercolor paper and are hand bound using waxed Irish Linen thread. Each one is unique and ideal for journaling, photos, ephemera, sketching and painting … and all become more beautiful as they are used and filled with memories.

“Art of Memory” runs through Nov. 24. The little gallery is open 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.

5 with megan thomas

Omaha native Megan Thomas will showcase her paintings during the month of October at the little gallery in downtown Benson. An opening reception is set for Friday, Oct. 5, from 6:00 to 9:00pm in conjunction with Benson First Friday. The event is free and open to the public.

We posed our series of “5 with…” questions to the artist. Her responses are below.

Q: When did you know you were going to be an artist?

Though I’ve been making art since I was little, I made the decision to be an artist-artist some time in college. I chose to major in studio art. While it’s not my fulltime profession, I have made a commitment to myself to continue the practice.

Q: Describe your process.

I use photographs as source material and have a few stacks that I’ve designated to use for paintings. First, I make a decision about subject matter by choosing a photo, which is really based on feeling and my mood at the time. From there, I decide whether to use the whole photograph as my composition or to crop it to create a new composition. If I am painting with oils, I first create an underpainting with a neutral color palette and work from that. If using acrylic paints, I will typically sketch the composition out on the canvas in charcoal or graphite as a first step. The composition tightens with each sitting.

Q: Name the 3 most important things in your studio space.

My working materials (brushes, paints, canvas, etc), music and good light.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by the details, by all of the smaller parts that make up the whole.

What do you want others to know about you/your work?

I feel like my choice of subject matter can seem mundane and sometimes pretty static. I want people to know this is intentional. “Mundane” is often used in a negative context, but I find a great amount of beauty in it. It is defined in the Miriam Webster Dictionary as: 1of, relating to, or characteristic of the world, 2characterized by the practical, transitory, and ordinary – commonplace – the mundane concerns of day-to-day life.

Megan Thomas | Paintings runs through Oct. 27 at the little gallery. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. For more information, call 402.681.1901.

portraits: wonder women opens sept. 7

Media pioneer Cathy Hughes

BENSON – Some are famous, some are not. But each has made a difference in the lives of others and the life of their community.

Portraits: Wonder Women by Ricky Powell Jr. opens Friday, Sept. 7, at the little gallery, 5901 Maple Street in downtown Benson. A reception is set for 6:00 to 9:00pm that evening.

The exhibition features portraits of women from Benson and North Omaha who are strong, intentional and passionate about what they do, said Teresa Gleason, owner of the little gallery. Among those in the show are media pioneer Cathy Hughes, Benson Theatre Executive Director Amy Ryan and neighborhood advocate Juanita Johnson.

Powell, a North Omaha artist, drew his first picture at age four and has been at it ever since. In high school, his favorite art teacher taught him how to grid and proportion his pictures – she remains an inspiration to him to this day.

Portraits runs through Sept. 29 at the little gallery. Gallery hours are:

Tuesday-Friday
3pm to 6pm

Saturday
10am to 1pm

+ by appointment

For more information, contact the little gallery at 402.681.1901 or info@polecatcommunications.com.

opening aug. 3: the house of usher


BENSON – Melvin Usher’s The House of Usher opens Friday, Aug. 3, 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.

Usher is one of a group of artists who worked in the Old Market during the 1980s and 1990s when The Antiquarium was the center of all things art, politics and culture. Among his mentors are the late Bill Farmer and the late Harry Duncan. He describes himself as an artist, poet, painter, videographer, glassblower and tattoo collector. Come meet Usher in person Aug. 3 and view different decades of his work – paintings, sketches and glass – from his collection and the Kenny Carter Collection at the little gallery.

The House of Usher runs through Aug. 31 at the little gallery. Gallery hours are:

Tuesday-Friday
3pm to 6pm

Saturday
10am to 1pm

+ by appointment

The little gallery is powered by Polecat Communications. For more info, call 402.681.1901 or email info@polecatcommunications.com.