Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sustainable Gardening on Display at Village Pointe

For those of you who garden and are looking for ways to reduce the stress on our resources from watering and chemical use, I encourage you to stop by the Douglas/Sarpy Extension demonstration garden at the Village Pointe shopping center in West Omaha.

Newly planted this year on the southeast corner of the World Market building lawn, this gently bermed bed holds plants capable of withstanding low water supplies, Nebraska weather compatible native species, and disease and insect tolerant selections. The bed is well appointed with signs identifying the common and latin names of plants, as well as clear and concise informative signage designed to educate viewers on the best practices for sustainable gardening.

While just completing its first summer season in the ground, the bed shows promise of being not only a valuable educational tool for gardeners, but also a beautiful landscaping addition to the already attractive grounds at Village Pointe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Elements Insider: The Blog Where Your Opinion Matters!

As you can see, I have added a poll on the blog to generate some excitement. While I can promise this will be a clean campaign, I cannot guarantee there will be no mudslinging. We are in a forest, after all.

Photos of the artists' work are below the poll, but the best place to view the work is in the forest. Fontenelle Nature Center is open seven days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm daily, and is located in Bellevue at 1111 N. Bellevue Boulevard. Check out their link on this page for more information.

You have until the end of the exhibit, November 3rd, to exercise your right to vote for art.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Transforming Artwork

A visit to the forest today revealed many changes since opening night. The forest canopy gives way to blue sky as the trees begin to release their leaves, and the color of the forest is slowly changing from lush greens to gold and brown.

A few of the artworks, too, have transformed.

Mary Zicafoose's wrapped trees are slowly fading to lighter hues of blue and yellow, the natural dyes losing their brilliance over time. Interestingly, this muted coloration now allows a viewer to pay closer attention to the textural forms created by the wrapping.

The presence of forest creatures is exposed, as the hiding spot of one woodland animal is now evident from the hole gnawed through linen in Mary's work. Occasional footprints are discovered on the wrapping when the dampness is just right, and fungal growths covered by the fabric continue to grow through and beyond their barrier. The solid color backgrounds created by the textiles provides an excellent viewing field for otherwise invisible insects, such as walking sticks.

Dan Newberry's "Weird Sisters", the hanging pod series on the second loop, are losing some of their fibre to enterprising birds and squirrels seeking nesting materials, and Les Bruning's craftily hidden bird and squirrel icons, a brilliant orange/ochre color, are becoming much more difficult to see, now that the forest brings forth its fall colors.

Perhaps the most welcome change of all is the cooler weather; now is a perfect time to enjoy a visit to see the exhibit and hike the many trails at FNC.

Monday, September 10, 2007

David Hansen Exhibit at Hot Shops

If you enjoyed viewing David Hansen's "Canopy" installation at "elements" this year, be sure to stop by the Hot Shops Art Center this month to see more of his work.

David is exhibiting his newest pieces, and is showing along with three other artists. The exhibit, entitled "Shelter: Concepts and Collaborations" will be on view at the Hot Shops gallery until Sunday, September 30th. The Hot Shops Art Center is located at 13th and Nicolas Streets, just northwest of the Qwest Center.

Two other "elements" artists, Wendy Krecek and Les Bruning, also maintain their art businesses at the Hot Shops, so take a moment to check in on them, as well!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Opening Night Success

The rain and clouds cleared just in time to reveal the perfect weather for the opening.

A crowd of between 350 and 400 people visited the forest from five to well after the close of the event at eight. Singer and guitarist Vlasis provided the music for the event, occasionally accompanied by creatures of the forest.

The artists were present, and each spoke about their works to the gathered crowd. Visitors poured in and out of the forest continually throughout the evening, intermingling with Wendy Krecek's models, who wore six handcrafted clothing designs by the artist and designer.

Food and beverages were excellent and in ample supply, keeping pace with the rich diversity of the other "elements" of the evening.

Overall, a terrific evening. A sincere thank you goes out to everyone that made the event possible: the amazing artists; the talented and extremely hard working staff at FNA; the wonderful sponsors who helped make this all happen, and the volunteers who helped the artists with their work.

I will write more soon... hope to see some comments from the artists and FNA about their experience that night!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stormy Weather

Traditionally, "elements" has dealt with a rainstorm or two the week prior to the show, but this year, the storms keep coming.

In a land continuously parched with thirst, it seems ungrateful to disparage the wet weather, though it hasn't been gentle with many residents of the metro area. As I write, several homes around Omaha are still without power from the storm that blew through Monday night, and many residents are contending with damage from winds which knocked out power lines and downed trees. I wish them well.

The forest, by its very nature, fared better, and little damage was evident throughout the FNA's holdings. Several of us, staff and artists, were at the Center early Tuesday morning to survey the artworks in progress. All had survived the night intact.

Even now, another storm has blown in, bringing with it more rain and thundering clouds.

The artists continued installing this week, undaunted:

David Hansen continues crafting his canopy on first loop; the roof overhead is taking shape.

Jamie Burmeister is delivering his work, load by load, on the solar-powered bicycle, and Les Bruning arrived today to install his piece. Mary Zicafoose and C. Daniel Newberry have completed their installations.

Tim Guthrie's "Scar" is complete, and the virtual Google Earth link will soon be posted (check out his site for updates on this page). The animated projection of "Burn" will be on view this Friday at the opening. Wendy Krecek is making final walk throughs of the forest for her "nature-inspired" fashion show. We hope the models won't be forced into raincoats, but the current weather prediction for Friday night is 60% chance of showers.

Should the rain hold off, the opening night may actually be the coolest in "elements" history, possibly in the 60's. Don't let the rain discourage you from attending-- I haven't seen a human melt from a downpour yet. Besides, the Forest really knows how to host a party, and you can chat with the artists inside or out. As a wise old man in Vermont once told me, "There is no bad weather; only poorly dressed humans." Something to consider!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Changes Happening in the Forest

Should you visit Fontenelle Forest Nature Center this weekend and during the course of next week, you will notice evidence of many artists at work.

This Saturday, around 2:00 p.m., C. Daniel Newberry will be working with a tree climber to tie off his hanging pieces in the Habitat installation along the second loop of the boardwalk.

Sunday, around 8 a.m., Mary Zicafoose will be wrapping a tree in fabric colored with natural dyes at the intersection of the second and third loops of the boardwalk, part of her multi-location installation. Due to the rapid fading that occurs with this natural dye, the initial time of installation is when you will find the colors at their most vibrant.

Tim Guthrie may also be sighted during this weekend, as he continues to build his three-part piece, Burn, Ring and Scar. David Hansen's Canopy site over the first loop is filling with the reclaimed wood from the red oak and shagbark hickory which composes his work.

Early next week, Jamie Burmeister will begin building his solar-power driven work; a demonstration of a green energy process, as he will be using a solar-powered bicycle of his own design to deliver materials to his site, which will then be illuminated by solar cells embedded in the piece. This is located at the Missouri River overlook along the third loop of the boardwalk.

Les Bruning and Wendy Krecek also will build their installations in the upcoming days. Look for Les at the intersection of the second and third loops and Wendy along the second.

Please join us at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center this coming Friday, August 24th, from 6-8 p.m. for the opening of our exhibition. Fontenelle Forest members may attend free of charge; visitors to the center may attend for $3.00 per person. The Forest will offer trolley service for overflow parking at Southroads. Fontenelle Forest Nature Center is located at 1111 North Bellevue Blvd, Bellevue, NE; you may reach the Center at (402) 731-3140 to obtain more information about our event.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Welcome to the elements: an environmental arts exhibit blog site. This is the place where I'll be blogging with the artists and others as we document the development of the exhibit, from artists' inspiration to installation, as well as various happenings during the show.