Welcome Back to Nebraska
Thanks to Nancy Holman and the folks at the Continuing Education Center of Southeast Community College, this is the second opportunity I have had to teach my Paper Paintings Collage Workshop in Lincoln, Nebraska. Two years ago I visited Nebraska for the first time in my life, paper tidbits in tow.
I landed in Lincoln on Thursday evening, Nancy met me with a hug in baggage claim, “Welcome back!” Within minutes we were off and running. (Lincoln Airport is small, there are only two baggage carousels and folks can leave their car parked at the curb for passenger pickup). Oh boy it’s cold, I’m glad I bought that down jacket for my first teaching trip to Italy! “Well, it’s not really that cold, for HERE…” Nancy chuckled.
Last year Nancy gave me a thorough tour of Lincoln on our way from the airport to the hotel. Much of this drive looked familiar, that’s a nice feeling when you are on the road. We stopped at Whole Foods for some groceries and I checked into the same hotel as last my last visit.
This weekend’s class brought three repeat students, Jan and Carolyn (this is their third class) Debi, and Sheryl. It’s so nice to see familiar faces, big smiles, and big hugs. On Friday night Jan and Jim offered to take me to the Lied Center for Performing Arts to experience the TAIKOPROJECT: Interlocking Rhythms. How lucky am I? The performance was amazing, absolutely incredible. Jan was recovering from surgery so she offered up Jim to show me around town, and welcome me back to Lincoln with dinner and a show! THANK YOU
Johnny Carson is from Nebraska, believe it or not–from the age of eight, he grew up in Norfolk. The Lied Center has a wing dedicated to Johnny, featuring many photos of him from the many stages of his career. There’s also a well lit display case that holds the turban he wore in his skit Carnac the Magnificent. It was pretty cool to be able to see that bit of entertinament history, right here in Lincoln.
Carson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio and Speech 1949 from the University of Nebraska. Throughout his career, Johnny maintained a strong relationship with his university. In 1988, as construction of the Lied Center neared completion, he personally provided a major gift to finish the multi-million dollar endeavor. The Johnny Carson Theater, a black box theater which is utilized for intimate performances, master class and experimental projects, was named in his honor.
I found a wonderful quote on the wall in the Carson Theatre that resonated with me. It went something like this, “I’m one of the luckiest men in the world. I found something I loved doing, and made a living out of it.”
Johnny has another quote on the same subject, “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”
Isn’t that the truth?
Thank you to all my students this weekend in Lincoln, repeat and new. Thanks to Debi who came back for a second time and offered to join me at the Haymarket for dinner on Saturday night. Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket is a downtown revitalization that includes many shops, restaurants, and venues. The Oven offered us some authentic cuisine from from Northern India and Bhutan, and we finished our night out with some awesome home-made ice cream at the family owned and operated Ivanna Cone just across the street. Their old-time soda shop look combined with the historic architecture of the surrounding buildings and alleyways was truly a treat for all the senses!
I am always grateful for the opportunity to be a visiting workshop instructor. I am lucky to be able to do what I love in life; to create art, to travel, to meet new people, and oftentimes be invited back to familiar faces and favorite places.
for being a part of my