Ann Williams was immersed in the art world at an early age. Her artist fatherexposed her to art galleries anddisplays early on and Ann found her youthful artistic inspiration in nature. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Fine Arts, Ann eventually plunged head first into the art world to pursue her passion full time. She explored a variety of media and continued to evolve as an artist. “Although I am generally a mixed media painter, I have found a new love of all things three dimensional. And yet in the same breath, my sculptures take on an almost two-dimensional quality as the figures and patterns emulated my larger body of works on canvas. They seem to bring substance to what I am already exploring in my paintings.” In 2007, Ann completed and exhibited a large body of work from the Book of Psalms. This series contained 150 mixed media paintings and debuted in Lincoln for three months before it began its current life as a traveling exhibit. She has had the privilege of working on a public art project for Mid America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, and has exhibited her art in Los Angeles. Ann currently serves as Team Leader of “Visual Voice,” a visual arts ministry of Lincoln Berean Church. She has also recently joined the board of the Hildegard Center for the Arts. Ann’s most recent painting project is inspired by the Gospels as she depicts Matthew, Mark, Luke and John on canvas; 70 of the estimated 200 paintings are now completed. “My inspiration comes from creation, scripture and observations of how people and objects move and sound. Through sharing my work in a variety of venues from galleries small and large, mainstream or religious, I strive to encourage other artists within my reach and challenge them and all other viewers of my work to do that which they’ve been created to do.” If you would like to learn more about Ann and see a larger compilation of her work, visit her website at ann.envisiongalleries.com.
Whether she is teaching art to students, putting together a new exhibit for the community or creating her ownunique art, Liz Shea-McCoy is the consummate artist. With her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education and Textile Design in hand (earned at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Liz has taught for over 18 years in conjunction with the Nebraska Arts Council’s Artist in Residence Program. In addition to serving as a visual arts mentor for Lincoln Public Schools, teaching in the “Arts Are Basic” program and instructing at UNL and Nebraska Wesleyan University in the area of design, she still finds time to express herself as an artist. Liz notes, “I love to manipulate materials and have tuned in to the sensitivity of space and composition in my collages, assemblage and painted compositions.” Liz’s solid foundation in print-making and textile design continue to be an important part of her creative process. “I strive to allow each material to display its unique qualities while helping to orchestrate and define space,” she relates, when describing the process behind her sophisticated creations. As an artist, Liz has been published and is recognized on the local, regional and national levels in a variety of media including print making, painting, collage and assemblage techniques. Her involvement in the art world extends beyond that of artist and teacher, however. Liz has had a major role in three recent community art projects: “Tour de Lincoln”, “Star Art” and “aCross Lincoln.” She has also served as a board member for Abundmusik Lincoln, The Lincoln Children’s Museum, Sheldon Art Association and Friends of the Lied. In addition, Liz has assumed leadership positions by serving as Board President of the Lincoln Needleworkers Guild, the Lincoln Arts Council and the Haydon Art Center. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for the Lincoln Children’s Museum and is active in an advisory capacity for the Haydon Art Center. Since January, 2010, Liz has enjoyed her role as President of the Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery and also currently holds a Board position with the Hildegard Center for the Arts where she is chairing the “Illumination” Arts Competition to be held in October, 2010. Through the many hats that Liz wears, she continues to grow and evolve as a teacher, community advocate and artist and the community benefits richly from her sharing of vision, time and talent.
“There is a glorious and regal fire placed by God inside each one of us. Dignity, truth and love swirl within thisconflagration. It is our quest, as students of the human masterpiece, to expose this flame and harness its uncontainable light, guiding our journey together.” This is the passion that Michael Montag brings to his art in all that he envisions and creates. Working mostly in cast bronze and stainless steel constructions, Michael’s work ranges from portraiture and relief panels to heroic scale pieces. He describes his artist style as a unique hybrid of baroque tradition and constructivist innovation. “I find hope in the fact that opposed styles can work together and be stronger for their union.” Born in Chicago and later graduating from Creighton Prep High School, Michael went to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Creighton University. Recently he substituted for his former professor at Creighton who had become incapacitated due to injury, sharing his talents with the Sculpture Program there. Specializing in the creation of public sculptures for churches, businesses, hospitals and private collectors, his work can be seen and enjoyed throughout the Midwest. Michael’s recent major works include a 45-foot Crucifix Spire for Gretna’s Holy Family Shrine and a 22-foot Crucifix on the campus of the College of St. Mary in Omaha. In addition to commissioned work for Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska in Lincoln, his work can be found at Creighton Prep High School, New Cassel Retirement Center, the University Nebraska Medical Center, the Grotto of the Redemption in Rockwell City (Iowa) and West Bend (Iowa). Michael lives in Omaha and maintains a studio near Elkhorn Nebraska on the grounds of the Pro Sanctity Retreat Center. “The vast and flowing vistas of the Nebraska landscape pour into everything I do.” Michael explains his choice of in living and creating in Nebraska. “They say that long ago this area used to be a great inland sea. Living and traveling in this vast expanse, I believe that the ocean is still here. Some of my coastal, big-city friends ask me how I can create art here. I have only to drive them past the city’s shores and show them the oceans I explore. I ask them in turn, how I could create art anywhere else?” Photos of Michael’s work can be found onwww.prosanctity.org in the Photo Gallery.
Nancy (Nordstrom) Heiser describes her art style as “eclectic” and the media she uses is just as varied. Nancymoves from one medium to another as her subject matter dictates and has employed acrylics, oils, pastels, and water colors as well as the pencil to create her work. The commissioned pieces she creates are held mainly in private collections. “I’ve completed commissioned portraits, she shares, “but my real inspiration comes from nature.” Nancy refined her skills as an artist through her studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art Education. After her graduation, Nancy shared her love of art by teaching in the Omaha and Kansas City Public School Systems. She also taught at the Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. In addition to her background in teaching and freelance work as an artist, Nancy is also extremely active in the community lending her hand in the areas of the Arts, the church, and education. She is extremely active in any number of community volunteer positions; recent responsibilities she has undertaken include serving on the Building Committee for St. Joseph Catholic Church, sitting as a Board of Trustees for Lincoln Pius X High Schools (her alma mater), and spearheading (with her husband, Tom) the Capital Campaign for the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. She has also been active in the Lancaster County Medical Alliance, Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association and the “Park It At Woods” Campaign. Nancy currently sits on the Medici Board for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Fine Arts. The community is enriched by her art as well as her altruistic commitment to make the world a little better and brighter wherever she can make an impact!
By second grade, Sue Kouma Johnson “knew” she was an artist. Her artistic expression was as necessary to herbeing as was breathing. Throughout high school and college, Sue worked to improve her skills and utilize a variety of media. She tried her hand with the pen and ink drawing and experimented with sculpture and batik. Much of her creative study time at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, was centered in the pottery lab. Her focus on pottery transitioned into the sculpture studio where she perfected her methods in figure sculpting. Eventually her love of color and imagery led her to delve into painting and printmaking. After exploring the works of artists such as Matisse, Chagall, and early Christian iconographers, Sue’s “style” began to emerge: abstract expressionist blended with eastern iconography. “Art making is now an almost unconscious work of the heart,” she shares, “like a meditation that comes forth through color.” She admits that the early influences still play a role in her art but her style has taken on a life of its own. And some of her five children are following in their mother’s footsteps: “I am happy that several of my daughters are delving into art. I can share my experience with them as they grow up. They inspire me with their talent and ideas.” Sue’s art has been exhibited in many galleries and shows. In addition to numerous commissions she has completed, she has also illustrated for magazines. The size of her artwork ranges from small holy cards to large outdoor murals and everything in between. To contact Ms. Johnson, see more of her beautiful work or make a purchase of art, please visit her website www.suekoumajohnson.com.