One adage in defense of art is “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but when the eye is prompting the art, what happens?

The Nebraska Arts Council ventured to answer this question with its first exhibit featuring a curator rather than an artist to fill the Fred Simon Gallery. Alex Priest has been granted the task to bring together three artists to comprise Comedy for All, Tragedy for None which opens September 2.

Priest’s eye for the curious, the distinct and the memorable has shown itself before as both a curator & an architectural historian. The group of artists and the works he’s selected intend to place the audience as beholder to search for their own personal meaning.

Installation artist Sarah Jones creates spaces by layering form, color and light in both recognizable and abstract objects so viewers can create their own experiences.

Norman Melichar embraces the eye of the beholder philosophy in his mask and assemblages—created from items others have deemed as trash. He injects joy and character into his pieces to reveal a story.

Dawn Smith’s paintings reveal her own personal reflections and attempt to ignite common themes amongst the audience.

Comedy for All, Tragedy for None runs through October 28 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam Street, Plaza Level. For details go to

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