Friday, August 12, 2011
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City Hall hosts art show, open house

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[August 12, 2011]  Thursday evening the city of Lincoln hosted a chamber Business After Hours event. But what started out as one of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce's monthly get-togethers for its members, ended up being a great deal more.

As the evening was being planned by Mayor Keith Snyder and Kathy Vinyard, Vinyard -- who works at City Hall for the mayor and the building and safety office -- was reminded of something she saw while visiting friends.

"We were visiting some friends in Kentucky, and while there, they said they were going to go to City Hall for an art show," Vinyard said. "I thought, what a neat idea."

Vinyard said that when word got out that there would be a show; she was really surprised by the number of really good artists in the area who were willing to bring in their work for display.

Local artists who participated were Eric Burton, Ruth Fredericks, Jason Hoffman, Meghann Kindred, Toby Prang, Kerry Rolewicz, Michelle Schneider and Renee Sisk.

Work from the various artists lined the hallways downstairs, filled the city clerk's office, one bay of the fire department and the council chambers on the second floor.

Pieces included wood sculpture, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, multimedia and much more.

It is said the sign of good art is that it stirs an emotional reaction. Whether it is peace and tranquility or unrest, if the viewer reacts, the art has done its job.

In the art show there were several pieces of whimsy that brought a smile to those gazing on it, and there were several thought-provoking pieces.

Among some of those thought-provokers was the sculpture work of Jason Hoffman. Hoffman has done a full collection depicting the suffering of the critically ill. His works ranged from a larger-than-life pill dispenser, to a hospital bed complete with IVs and medical equipment, to a stirring piece depicting death.

Hoffman said the pieces were not something he really wanted to discuss, except to say that they were based on personal experiences with a loved one.

In addition to art, those who visited on Thursday evening also got a chance to tour the city building, going into areas such as the mayor's office, the offices of the city clerk and several parts of the Lincoln Fire Department.

One bay of the fire department was opened for people to look around, and there was also art on display in that area.

Upstairs on any day of the week, the hallway of the fire department is decorated with historical items and photos from the fire department.

In addition, there has been a recent addition: a wall of photos of the current department. A recently taken photo in the center of the display shows all the firefighters together and is surrounded by individual portraits of each one.

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Another interesting display came from the work of Alderwoman Joni Tibbs. Tibbs, who has a sound respect for our city's history, had brought out of storage several old journals from the earlier days of the Lincoln City Council.

The old books were placed on display in the council chamber. Included in the items were records of transfers in the city, tax records, and rules or ordinances, handwritten and signed by the council members on the date of origin. The books ranged from the mid-1800s to the very early 1900s.

Interestingly, Tibbs found a page where a letter had been written in 1915 to a local resident, explaining that it was not acceptable for the resident to dispose of their "slop" and trash by throwing it out in the city alley. Some things never change.

In addition to all this, there was also some excellent food catered by Ed and Ronda Malkowski of the Owl's Roost in Lincoln, and the Lincoln Area Music Society provided a string trio that played some lovely vintage pieces, offering a sophisticated backdrop for the entire event.

The event was also very well attended, as many people unfamiliar with City Hall came in for a tour and to look at the art. Also on hand were several city officials. The mayor was there all evening, along with Denise Martinek, city clerk; Susan Gehlbach, deputy clerk; and Chuck Conzo, city treasurer. City aldermen including Melody Anderson, Marty Neitzel, Jeff Hoinacki, Joni Tibbs, Kathy Horn, Tom O'Donohue and others dropped in for visits as well.

Fire Chief Mark Miller stationed himself in the upstairs hallway and visited with several who came through, talking about the history of the station and the items on display.

As the evening progressed, Vinyard said she felt like it was a great success, and everyone was pleased with the turnout of artists as well as the large number of people who paid a visit.


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