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).

Meadowlark Music Festival Nebraska

By Dianne Kennedy In many ways, the Meadowlark Festival is the antithesis of a typical American chamber-music concert, but in many ways it is the distinctiveness of the entire festival experience that has helped the Meadowlark Music Festival grow from an upstart in Lincoln to an event recognized by the national classical media. One of the secrets to the festival’s success is rooted in the technique of booking concerts at places, in Nebraska, where people would be inclined to go during the summer. This year is no exception.

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum - Textile history comes alive in the finest quilt museum in the world

By Maureen Ose Passion fueled the building of the world’s largest collection of quilts. More intense dedication led to the construction of a glorious new home for the quilts. Lincoln, Neb., is now home to the finest quilt museum in the world. Why quilts? Why a quilt museum?

Bright Dreams, Hard Times - America in the '30s

By John R. Wunder

For many historians, the ’30s represents a time when the American people were looking for ways to survive in a national crisis. Indeed, the crisis was not a simple one. Its complexities featured an extensive economic depression, a devastating environmental disaster—the Dust Bowl on the Great Plains—and the looming signs of yet another world war. How Americans sought to understand and prevail over these national catastrophes is a tale of determination and success.

Prophet and pastor ... To his former professor, congregant and friend, Jeremiah Wright has been both

Cartoon by Paul Fell
By Martin E. Marty Through the decades, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. has called me teacher, reminding me of the years when he earned a master’s degree in theology and ministry at the University of Chicago—and friend. My wife and I and our guests have worshiped at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where he recently completed a 36-year ministry.

The art of cuba

By Byron Barksdale The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with the participation of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Foteca de Cuba, has created quite a stir in the art world with its magnificent exhibit “CUBA: Art and History from 1868 to Today” (exhibit ends June 8, 2008). The exhibition has 100 paintings, 200 photographs, 100 posters, and other works on paper, video, in music and in film excerpts.

Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies present fourth annual invitational art show

By James W. Hewitt In 2005, the Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies opened their first annual Great Plains Invitational Art Show and Sale at the Great Plains Art Museum. The show had three purposes: to draw attention to the museum and its $10 million regional collection by attracting a larger audience, to showcase the work of young, upcoming or established regional artists, and to raise funds for acquiring new artwork that will enhance the mission of the museum.

Rumba: The Cuban dance of romance

By Byron Barksdale

Cuba has long been associated with creative, exciting, lively dances that reveal the African and Spanish historical influences of Cuba. While anyone can “dance Cuban” in Miami or Los Angeles clubs, there is nothing more exhilarating than dancing Cuban dances to the beat of the professionals playing guiros and the maracas under the stars at the world-famous Tropicana in Habana. The Tropicana show is a Cuban-style Cirque de Soleil-type performance. After the show and a short break, the entire Tropicana stage opens up for the guests to dance into the early hours of the morning.

San Francisco photographer comes home to the Great Plains - Nancy Warner exhibits 'Midwestern Farm Places'

By Amber Mohr Wright Morris wrote in “The Inhabitants,” “In all my life I’ve never seen anything so crowded, so full of something, as the rooms of a vacant house.” Morris’s words can well describe the vision of San Francisco photographer Nancy Warner, who has dissected and disseminated some of this “crowd of vacancy” to produce a photographic study of farm homes for a new exhibition, “Going Back: Midwestern Farm Places” at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Neb.

Third Chair Chamber Players

By Becky Van de Bogart Labels have become a mainstay in our social conversations these days and resisting them is a full-time occupation. Due to the limited pool of funding, music has not escaped this need for definers. As the arts try to divvy up the shrinking pie of dollars, new definitions rise out of the quagmire to limit one slice and add or expand another. Last year there was a heated discussion at the Chamber Music America conference trying to fit jazz into their mission. This led to yet another effort to define chamber music (and, by default, jazz), when in the end it was all about which genre deserved funding with the available dollars.

Omaha's New Film Forum

By Casey Logan A quarter century ago, German filmmaker Werner Herzog traveled to the rain forests of South America to make "Fitzcarraldo," the story of a man who dreams of building an opera house in the middle of the Amazon. Obsessed by this vision and determined to make it reality, the title character (played by the inimitably crazed Klaus Kinksi) employs a local tribe to help him drag a steamboat from one river to another, with no less than a mountain standing in the way between them.

Shakespeare on the Plains

By Bob Hall I run the Flatwater Shakespeare Festival in Lincoln Neb., and while I have thus been asked to write about the state of Shakespeare on the Plains, I find myself dealing more with how to convince a wary audience that, without teaching or training, they already possess all the tools necessary to give the bard a tumble. There's certainly plenty of Shakespeare for them to try.

Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music Now in its 43rd Season

By Robert Narveson Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music, a group of Lincoln, Neb., citizens, sponsors performances by nationally and internationally famous chamber music ensembles. The name of the group, informally abbreviated to LFCM, was suggested by Larry Poston, a then-member of the University of Nebraska English Department, who along with several other faculty members was casting about for a way to bring top-flight musical performances to a city that was, at that time, sorely lacking in so important a sign of cultural vitality.

Common Ground between Islam and Christianity

By Mohamed El Ghannam I visited Nebraska during the period from Oct. 19 to Nov. 10, 2007, as a visiting scholar to Doane College in Crete. This visit was a part of the Fulbright Visiting Specialists Program called "Direct Access to the Muslim World." The program promotes understanding of the Muslim civilization through U.S. higher educational institutions that host specialists from the Muslim world for short-term programs of intensive lecturing and public outreach.

'Chamber Music': A Prelude

By Charles Henry Bethea Mention “chamber music” in any gathering and the responses will range from loving sighs to a race for the exit. No musical category evokes such a range of reactions except maybe opera. Chamber music is classical music for a small group of performers played and sung in a “chamber” - like a living room, billiard room, parlor or any smaller space. Music has been written for two to 10 musicians in varied combinations, including, more recently, the jazz combo.

Artist V.... Vaughn paints the 'Last Year on the Farm'

By Jeffery Sparks “There are some who can live without wild things,” said naturalist Aldo Leopold, “and some who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them.” Texas artist, V.... Vaughan, knows all about this sort of progress. Suburban sprawl reached the edges of her family’s 200-acre, multi-generational farm last year. Then, construction began on new roads and a toll road adjacent to the property. Vaughan’s farm (the place she has painted for the past 30 years) is vanishing into extinction.

Water, Cather, courts and drought: UNL Olson Seminars to present a variety of topics

By Linda Ratcliffe Ann Bleed will open the spring Paul A. Olson Seminars in Great Plains Studies series at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a presentation on water policies, “Formulating Policies for Future Water Use on the Great Plains,” 3:30 p.m., Jan. 23 at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, Lincoln, Neb.


Immigration in Nebraska

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