Date of this Version
Art from Sheldon's Permanent Collection is an exhibition of Sheldon Statewide, an outreach program of the Sheldon Museum of Art, Sheldon Art Association, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2011-2012
A Brief History of Sheldon Statewide
Commemoration-the theme of this year's exhibition-is particularly appropriate, as 2012 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sheldon Statewide. The program began in 1987 as a joint effort of the Sheldon Museum of Art and the Sheldon Art Association, then known as the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and the Nebraska Art Association. Conceived as a project of the association's Statewide Committee, chaired by Lois Roskens, it was part of the group's centenary celebrations. From its first exhibition, Miniature Masterworks, Sheldon Statewide has provided opportunities for communities throughout the state to gain access to original works of art. Miniature Masterworks, organized by Sheldon Educator Suzanne Wise, was launched in North Platte, where it succeeded due to the organizational skills of Rhonda Seacrest, the support o,f the North Platte Telegraph and Superintendent of Schools Doug Christensen, and the vigilance of Sharon Skinner. Sheldon docents Nancy Dawson, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier, Phyllis Pauley, Alison Petersen, Jan Roberts, and Ellen Zumwalt worked with local volunteers to provide tours. Over the last quarter century, Sheldon Statewide exhibitions have been viewed in twenty-four Nebraska communities, reached over 275,000 people, and supported additional outreach programs such as Art in Society: Nebraska. Venues have included art galleries, banks, historical museums, and libraries in Chadron, Columbus, Falls City, McCook, North Platte, and Scottsbluff, to name only a few.
The Sheldon Museum of Art wishes to acknowledge the visionary planning of those who first helped to guarantee that the program became a truly statewide endeavor. In Sheldon Statewide's first decade, Nebraska Art Association President Art Thompson, Sheldon Director George Neubert and Curator Daphne Deeds, and museum staff and steady supporters including Nancy Dawson, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier, Karen Janovy, Janice Roberts, and Rhonda Seacrest all helped to guide and shape it. The program has also benefited from the direction of Sharon Kennedy, Susan Soriente, and Sarah Feit. Initial financial support for Sheldon Statewide was provided by the Sheldon Art Association and was renewed in 1992 by UNL Chancellor Graham Spanier. Today, Lonnie Pierson Dunbier, Rhonda and James Seacrest, Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Nebraska, the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and the Sheldon Art Association support the project. Sheldon Statewide remains a key embodiment of the museum's mission as part of a land-grant institution that is committed "to fostering collaborations within the University and among our constituents in the community, Nebraska, and the nation."
This year's Sheldon Statewide examines commemoration as a theme in art-what brings people together, gives them a sense of identity, and how our perception of commemoration changes over time. Today, for example, Doris Lee's Thanksgiving (fig. 1) seems an endearing and whimsical depiction of a favorite American holiday: a scene of domesticity and tradition in which women and children prepare for the annual family feast in a bustling kitchen. However, the painting actually sparked a firestorm of criticism upon its debut in the 1930s.