Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, with artists Therman Statom and Debbie Masuoka, are spearheading Building Bridges, a community-driven public art project with grant support from the Iowa West Foundation. The Kanesville-Tinley neighborhood is the future site of the large-scale work. In January, the artists led brainstorming sessions with students from the Kanesville Alternative Learning Center. These six sessions, along with future community outreach efforts, will inform the final product. Building Bridges is designed to serve as a catalyst for urban renewal, but also a vehicle to enrich the artists’ creative process, tentatively scheduled for completion in summer 2012. Bemis also recently received one of the first grants awarded by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s new Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant program. The $50,000 grant will support Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’ Town Hall Project, an effort to develop new cultural space for North Omaha.  Also upcoming, Bemis Artist-in-Residence application deadline is February 28.

Omaha-based artist Christina Vogel’s painted portraits in her “Snapshots” series will be shown alongside New Hampshire-based photographer Edward Stapel’s “You Can’t Erase an Idea” series and Boston-based photographer Kimberly Kersey Asbury’s “Subterfuge: Mock Battles – Series II” in Library at Chester College of New England in New Hampshire through March 8.

In Chicago, Omaha-based artist Watie White just opened The Chicago Project, a solo show at Co-Prosperity Sphere curated by Jim Duignan, DePaul University Professor of Art. Consisting of White’s printmaking, painting and drawing, selections from the exhibit will, after two weeks, travel to Hyde Park Art Center, Southside Hub of Production and DePaul University Teacher Lounge Space.

Omaha-based artist Tim Guthrie never seems to stop; he was just awarded the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for Best Group Show with Doug Hayko for Extraorinary Rendition. Mato Oput, the film he and his Creighton University Backpack Journalism Students produced after a trip to Uganda last summer, was accepted into the Peace On Earth Film Festival in Chicago Feb. 23-26 and the Omaha Film Festival, Mar. 7-11. Mato Oput (Justice & Reconciliation) is a documentary about the people of Uganda recovering from the civil war that lasted over 20 years. The backpack journalism group talked to church leaders and people who were most affected by the way. Those people who were displaced from their homes, children who were forced to become child soldiers, and a bishop forced into exile. He will a panelist this summer at the Sorbonne in Paris to discuss his experimental film work relating to fiction like his recent piece for University of Nebraska’s Prairie Schooner (PS).  Guthrie created a short film after the Albert Garcia poem “I Watch You Paint” including direction, shooting, editing and rotoscope (painted frame-by-frame based on the original film) for PS to help launch the digital archive of the entire PS collection. The film was also accepted into the Omaha Film Festival.

Correction from the 2.8.12 issue of The Reader from Mike Krainak’s “Lincoln Calling” review of Bemis Center’s Transceiver show: Jeff Thompson was mistakenly referred to as the artist of the “DVD Screensaver Performance;” the artist is actually Constant Dullaart.

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