The following story appeared in the most recent issue of the UNO Magazine, which highlighted how professors are serious about play, studying how it aids learning and development, using it to teach math or to aid recovery from a stroke, or just to have fun. Read the magazine online as a Flipbook or download a PDF.
They are hard to miss as you drive around the metro or even as you walk near UNO’s Weber Fine Arts Building — brightly colored horse statues that are homages to officers from the Omaha Police Department.
The horses are part of a public art campaign commissioned in 2016 to honor fallen OPD officers.
Each horse was designed and painted by a local artist, including Jave Yoshimoto, assistant professor of art and art history. Yoshimoto’s horse honors the late Greg Hamill. Hamill was a detective and 12-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department who passed away from complications of the H1N1 strain of influenza in 2014. He was 43 years old.
“The faculty, staff and students in the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media (CFAM) believe that public art is important,” says CFAM Dean Michael Hilt. “Just knowing that one of the horses for this project was created by a UNO faculty member brings pride to our college.”
Once the artists finished their horse, they were displayed in different areas throughout the city and later auctioned off for more permanent residences. The horses raised more than $133,000 for the Omaha Police Department which used the funds for training, small equipment purchases and other special projects.
“The Omaha Community has been so good to the officers of the Omaha Police Department,” says Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, a 1994 UNO graduate. “The motivation to serve and improve Omaha drives Omaha police officers, and when the community honors our fallen officers such as with Horses of Honor, it is humbling and very much appreciated.”
The horse that Yoshimoto commissioned now is displayed at Omaha Police Headquarters.
Another horse stands near the east entrance to the Weber Fine Arts Building. It was designed by independent artist Trudy Swanson to honor all of Omaha’s fallen officers.
“It is my hope that when the community considers art work of any sort, whether inside or outside, UNO and the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media should be the first stop,” Hilt says. “I love having one of the Horses of Honor outside the Del and Lou Ann Weber Fine Arts Building. I cannot think of a better location on this campus or in Omaha for this work.”
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.