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2019-2020 upstArt Season

Thanks to community investors, we have a great new season of upstArt experiences planned for children and youth during the school year. Many of you have helped to make this possible so please accept our sincere thanks.

Elliott Elementary

In the spring of 2020 we will integrate art, music and poetry in a residency based on the theme of Overcoming Adversity. The theme is inspired by the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth in 2020. Second graders will write a poem about overcoming adversity, and in music class they will set it to music. Meanwhile, in art class the poems will be enlarged and personally illustrated and them put on display for a culminating exhibition. Classroom teachers will emphasize historical figures during the poetry writing process, including Beethoven and Rosa Parks.

West Lincoln Elementary

During the Spring of 2020 West Lincoln teaching-artist Kiernan Lofland and art teacher Amber Reining are collaborating to create two public space art installations in the school, based on the theme of Community Improvement and Environmental Stewardship. Kiernan, an artist whose medium is 3D, will spend several sessions with the 5th graders over the course of the residency to conceptualize two creations:

-- A colorful wrap for fluorescent lights that stretch along a hallway. The color and shape will be derived from plastic bottles cleaned up as litter around the school. Students began this collection many months ago and already have several hundred bottles.

-- A colorful mounted wall structure in the school's central hallway, made of the same recycled materials.

Campbell Elementary

As a celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and the 25th anniversary of Campbell Elementary, we are partnering with artist Tom Meyers and members of the UNL Glenn Korff School of Music faculty to offer a year-long residency on the theme of Joy. 5th graders expressed their personal representations of joy in art pieces that Tom will incorporate in to a design for a large hallway mural that he will be painting at the school. The mural will incorporate the word Joy in all of the over twenty languages spoken at the school.

In the Spring of 2020 students will study Beethoven's Ode to Joy and set about to write a school song to be sung to Beethoven's melody, a tune that has become a global anthem. A quartet of musicians will visit the school to play for the students and talk to them about Beethoven and the Ode to Joy. The mural as well as the school song will be unveiled at a ceremony at the end of the school year.

Calvert Elementary

At Calvert Elementary we have been able to follow the same students across three grades. As 3rd grarders, this year’s 5th graders explored identity with artist Christian Scott. As 4th graders they studedied community with artist Owen Buffington. This year as 5th graders they are discovering all the ways science and art are linked by working with UNL entomologist Dr. Doug Golick.

It turns out science and art have a lot in common. Both require observation skills and discovering patterns. Both move forward through experimentation, trial and error, and both require planning and a firm thought process. As Dr. Golick and art teacher Amy Allerheiligen showed the students, it also involves hypothesis and testing. What happens when two materials are mixed, when liquids are absorbed or repelled, or when they react chemically? Colorful art can happen. Sometimes that art surprises, while other times you might know what to expect. This residency was a model for us as we move towards a more integrative approach to arts learning.


Emmy-Award winning educator and costume designer Nancy Konrardy continues her twelve week residency at Pathfinder, the school attached to the Lancaster County Juvenile Detention Center. These students have typically experienced trauma. Being incarcerated is traumatic in and of itself. Nancy’s art classes are a time for these children to let out their emotions on their own terms and without judgement. Feelings and heavy secrets have come out in their pieces, and the time they spend doing art is cathartic and healing. Furthermore, Nancy shows the students just how much they are capable of doing and understanding, exploring with them famous artists, styles and techniques.


"Never undervalue the impact that even a casual or short-term connection can make in a young persons life." - Linda Robison, Prescott Elementary School