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2008.10.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO Art Professors, Students Work with Council Bluffs Students

Omaha - Two University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) professors and two UNO students are participating in an art initiative with students from Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs. “Dodge This” – an exhibition of the students’ abstract painting, photography, mixed media and social commentary – is on display through Friday, Nov. 14 at the Historic General Dodge House, 605 Third Street in Council Bluffs.

Russ Nordman, associate professor of Intermedia and Digital Art; Jody Boyer, adjunct instructor; Josh Powell, BFA student; and Macheala Morrisey, BASA student – all from UNO’s Department of Art and Art History – have been working with Thomas Jefferson students as part of an Iowa Arts Council Artist Building Communities (ABC) Grant.

The three-year, $5,000-per-year grant provided by the Iowa Arts Council supports the time needed to establish communication and understanding between partners, to find ways to combine existing resources in creative ways and to develop new learning opportunities for students.

“The ABC grant from the Iowa Arts Council has allowed artists in the community to share and collaborate with our local school district and our youth, while also enriching our personal relationships with Council Bluffs’ local history and culture,” Boyer said.

“Partnering with the community expands the impact of our work as UNO faculty,” Nordman said. “But more importantly, my participation in the ABC grant has offered me the opportunity to work with the community where I live – Council Bluffs – and impact our next generation.”

The project is spearheaded by Council Bluffs Community School District art teacher Carrie Pope and music teacher Travis Walker, in partnership with Patricia LaBounty, outreach coordinator for the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the Historic General Dodge House and the RailsWest Railroad Museum, all located in downtown Council Bluffs.

Students were teamed with Nordman, Boyer, Powell and Morrisey and two other local artists – Margaret LaBounty and Brian Tait – to create the sight-and-sound exhibit at the 1869 Victorian-era Historic General Dodge House in Council Bluffs.

The goal of the project was for students to explore visual and aural aspects of art while examining community history. More than 100 students are involved in the project.

Editor’s note: For more information on the Historic General Dodge House, contact Patricia LaBounty at (402) 501-3841.

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UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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