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Wings Over the Platte Features Life on the River

The regions oldest and largest artist exhibit dedicated to life on the Platte River, Wings Over The Platte, opens with a reception tonight (Feb. 13) from 6-8 p.m. at the Venue next to Bartenbach’s Galleries in downtown Grand Island. Hosted by the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, the exhibit is free and open to the public.

“It’s a very unique time for us,” Joe Black, Executive Director of the Stuhr Museum, said in reference to the relocation of the exhibit this year. “It’s definitely a chance for us to be creative.”

The museum, designed by famed architect Edward Durell Stone in 1963, is currently undergoing a $7 million renovation to repair the building’s infrastructure.

The Venue offered to house the museum’s exhibition, which features work from local and national artists in a wide variety of mediums on display now through April 6.

Now celebrating its 27th year, the show includes “everything from oils and pastels, to wildlife photography, sculpture, wood carvings, pencil drawings, fabric work and more,” Black said.

Wings Over the Platte featured artist Donna Schimonitz of Lincoln includes illustrated species that call the river and its tributaries home, such as the critically endangered Salt Lake tiger beetle, one of the rarest insects in North America.

Schimonitz credits her early nature education to growing up on a dairy farm near St. Paul where she often took walks, and was “occupied for hours watching tadpoles swimming in the mud puddles.” She now works as a Graphic Designer for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln.

“I learned why balance in nature is important,” Schimonitz said, describing her early connection to the natural world. “Why each wild animal, no matter how scary I thought it to be, is necessary for an ecosystem to work smoothly.”

The museum’s first featured artist was Thomas Mangelsen, now a world-renowned conservation photographer, who contributed to the show as recent as last year.

“It’s good to see our old friends as well as new faces,” Black said.

Open year-round, the Stuhr Museum was aims to introduce visitors to the history and development of the region’s history from 1860 to 1920. For more information, visit: www.stuhrmuseum.com or contact the museum at (308) 385 – 5316.

The exhibit includes this illustration of a Salt Creek tiger beetle by featured artist Donna Schimonitz.
The illustration of a Salt Creek tiger beetle by Wings Over the Platte featured artist Donna Schimonitz of Lincoln.

About amy kucera

A Nebraska native from Verdigre, Kucera received an Associate’s degree in English Education from Northeast Community College, Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Wayne State College, and English language teaching certificate through the Cambridge University in Prague, Czech Republic. In addition to writing, her interests include history, music, art and traveling— especially via foot, horseback, canoe and kayak. She is currently the Executive Director at the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site in Bancroft.

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