Arts & Humanities


Prairie Fire Newspaper went on hiatus after the publication of the September 2015 issue. It may return one of these days but until then we will continue to host all of our archived content for your reading pleasure. Many of the articles have held up well over the years. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts, or an interest in helping return Prairie Fire to production. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all our readers, contributors, and supporters - the quality of Prairie Fire was a reflection of how many people it touched (touches).

'Voices of American Farm Women' photography exhibition shows women's contributions to contemporary agriculture

By Mark L. Moseman

Voices of American Farm Women” is an exceptional impression of contemporary farm women living and surviving on their family farms. In 1991, the artist, Cynthia Vagnetti began traveling throughout America photographing and interviewing farm women. Her exhibit shows how and why farm women survive better that farm men in the face of recent decades of farm crisis. Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, America’s only museum devoted exclusively to agrarian art, is uniquely suited to present this unusual and compelling exhibition.

Music and Inspiration

By Karine Gil, Ph.D.

The Central Platte River area among Wood River, Alda, Hastings, Juniata, Doniphan, Kearney, Grand Island and Phillips, Neb., is an inspiration for artists, not only because of its cranes but for the Platte River itself. My work as an ecologist studying the migration of the sandhill and whooping cranes for the Platte River Whooping Crane Trust (PRWCT) has sent me on the road—I have been in contact with the people in many different towns, farms and organizations while studying the ecology, behavior and use of this habitat by the cranes.

Dan Terpstra shows plywood sculptures at Lux Center for the Arts

By Carlos Guerrero

Lincoln, Neb., artist Dan Terpstra has always possessed an internal drive to express his creativity. Finding a media and process that he felt comfortable with would prove to be the most challenging aspect of his artistic journey. Terpstra began drawing and painting in the 1970s but found it difficult not to imitate the psychedelic art he saw on posters and T-shirts from that era. His frustration caused him to put his artistic pursuits on the back burner while he funneled his creative energy into collecting and listening to music from around the world.

'The Nutcracker' as it was intended

By Barbara Schmit

One doesn’t have to walk very far in the mall or channel surf for very long during the month of December before hearing a familiar excerpt from one of the most famous holiday pieces in the world: “The Nutcracker” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Commissioned in 1891 by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, director of the Imperial Theatres, “The Nutcracker” ballet was first performed at the Imperial Maiinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in December of 1892.

Appreciating the passion

By Tiffany Elaine Davis

When I was three years old, I embarked upon an activity that unknowingly would become my greatest passion. Passion is a relevant term that has a different meaning for everyone. To me, passion is when you love and appreciate something beyond reasonable doubt, so that it becomes a part of who you are. My goal is not to make my passion your passion but rather to educate you on the aspects you need to know to understand and appreciate what it is that I so unconditionally love.

Cultural connections / Las conexions cultural

By Suzanne Smith Arney

The murals along south 24th Street, Hispanic holidays, mariachi and McDonald’s burgers with chipotle—everywhere in Omaha one finds the influences of Mexico, Central and South America coloring our already vibrant landscape. Some of these shades are very old, contributing to a rich foundation. Other hues are added in wide bands or dotted lightly on the surface. In this imaginative and ever-changing landscape, color defines shape, brightens, darkens, creates tension, assumes symbolic meanings. Color adds life!

Chinese art at the Lentz Center for Asian Culture

By Barbara Banks

From Nov. 11 through Nov. 16, the Lentz Center for Asian Culture and the Confucius Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be honored to present Professor Xu Yinsen as their new artist-in-residence. Professor Xu will also give a public lecture and demonstration at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 in Room 15, Richards Hall at the corner of Stadium Drive and T Street.

The ballet: Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company to perform Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker"

By Carrie Butler Skiles

The power of ballet to captivate the minds and hearts of audiences around the world comes in part from the mysteries of its beauty. The appearance of such delicate, ethereal beauty and lightness projected by the dancers and choreography of ballet belie the intense physical effort and training required to support this illusion. The balance between the delicate beauty and the raw power of ballet is fascinating on a basic level. This seeming contradiction can make ballet difficult for us to understand, or it can inspire us to learn and expand our appreciation of the rich history and influence of this art. Artistic director of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, Shari True, believes that while “it is hard to dabble in ballet because it is such an exact science,” it is possible and can be very rewarding to learn to appreciate ballet by going to shows, learning more about the art form, becoming involved in the dance community through volunteering and becoming a patron of dance companies.

Marilyn Bower celebrates nuances of agrarian landscapes

By Mark L. Moseman

Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art is America’s only museum devoted exclusively to agrarian art. The museum is hosting an exhibition of agrarian landscapes called “Lay of the Land—Tribute to Nebraska” by Marilyn Bower. After more than 30 years in Nebraska, Bower is relocating to the state of Washington to be near family. In the Bone Creek exhibit, Bower pays tribute to Nebraska landscapes that have inspired much of her work as a professional artist.


By Michael Farrell


Smiley Canyon Overlook:

It is Friday, May 23, 2008— Memorial Day weekend. I’m sitting in my car, which is packed with photo gear, in a steady drizzle parked at an overlook near Fort Robinson, Neb. My cell phone says “No Service.” I’m writing on scrap paper unearthed in the car. The laptop is back at the Hilltop Motel in Crawford, which has no Internet service let alone wireless connectivity.

Opera Omaha celebrates Midwestern spirit with the world premiere of "The Blizzard Voices"

By Kelly Blice

Opera Omaha continues its 50th anniversary celebration and kicks off its 2008–2009 season with a series of community events and the world premiere performances of “The Blizzard Voices.” Composed by Pulitzer-prize winning composer Paul Moravec, “The Blizzard Voices” is based on poetry of another Pulitzer winner, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, and tells the story of the January 1888 Children’s Blizzard. While recent storms remind us of the devastating power of weather, the more powerful story is about the community that survives and comes together. Community events, including poetry readings and musical events, a clothing drive and an exhibit about blizzards surround the premiere performances and celebrate the ties that bind us together.

Collection of Dwight Kirsch's artwork emphasizes artist's attachment to the Plains landscape

By Amanda Mobley

Frederick Dwight Kirsch had an unmistakable influence on the art department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the regional fine art collections of the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Neb., and the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, as both an educator and a museum director. Now Dwight Kirsch, the artist, is being explored in an exhibition that emphasizes his aesthetic relationship with the open sky of the Great Plains. This collection of Kirsch’s work, donated by his niece JoAnn Kelly Alexander, on exhibit at the Great Plains Art Museum through July 27, 2008, emphasizes the atmospheric landscape that stretches above a low-lying horizon and dwarfs the vast scale of mountain ranges.

New agrarian art museum remembers Dale Nichols

By Mark L. Moseman

Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art opened earlier this year in David City, Neb. As far as we know, it is America’s only museum devoted exclusively to agrarian art. Agrarian pertains to fields or land or their tenure. Western art is celebrated in museums around the country. Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art provides a new national focus for both historical and contemporary agrarian art.

"Celebration Threads: New Twists" by Robert Hillestad

By Suzanne Smith Arney

Robert Hillestad’s fiber exhibition is a heady extravagance of color and texture. “Celebration Threads” is a fitting title for this banquet of masterworks created since 1997. “I have long regarded working with textiles as a celebration unto itself,” says Hillestad. “Some of my most joyful moments are embedded in the pieces I create.” It’s easy to sense the passion worked into every stitch of these garments, accessories, and two- and three-dimensional artwork. You can imagine the feel of silks, velvet, rayon and wool in your fingers. Cut into bias strips, they come alive and dance with the slightest provocation. They may even fly!


Immigration in Nebraska

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