* Last weekend’s KANEKO block party drew a large crowd to check out (and bid on) 50 or so works by local artists. Much of the work took the creative assignment literally, and many pieces were piles of various sized square blocks that somehow fit together. Rob Gilmer’s block pile focused on health care, while a series of blocks created by an anonymous artist were covered with maps. Some artists created wall pieces: Caleb Coppock’s encaustic wall piece got a lot of action during the bidding, and Leslie Iwai’s set of playing cards was popular with viewers. Fletcher Benton’s large-scale alphabet sculptures filled the KANEKO bow truss space, and the art sat along edges of the gallery. About halfway through the evening the Prairie Cats started playing their unique brand of swing, and lots of enthusiastic art lovers took to the dance floor. Check Mixed Media next week for results of the auction and official word on the event’s success. * Nebraskans for the Arts recently named Marjorie M. Maas its new director. Maas is president of the Nebraska Shakespeare Community Board and has served on the Bluffs Arts Council and the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards board. Maas will be the state’s advocacy captain affiliate for Americans for the Arts, serve on the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and run the day-to-day administrative duties of the organization including marketing, membership and board organization. * Lauritzen Gardens offers free admission each Sunday throughout December. Visitors can view the Poinsettia show, the latest art exhibit by Diane Murphy, the museum shop and café, and attend any special events at the gardens free of charge. Sunday, Dec. 19, members of the St. Columbkille choir will perform holiday music with Candy Connery on piano from 2-4 p.m.