* Bemis Underground Manager Brigitte McQueen resigned from her position last week. In an email, she says she decided to leave the program in order to begin work toward the creation of a new arts nonprofit for Omaha, one “which will be dedicated to supporting local artists through studio space, facilities and exhibition opportunities.” She says the yet un-named organization will “utilize the arts to enact social change in our greater community, and will provide free, dynamic arts programming to children in need.” She describes the new organization as a support group for visual arts, music, dance and the literary arts. Though I’m sad to see McQueen leaving the Underground — she’s brought vibrancy and life to the space with her great curatorial work — this exciting project sounds like a worthwhile change. McQueen said the new year will bring more information about her new endeavor. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, in other Bemis news, the Bemis Center Art Sales Program is having a sale: take 15 percent off any purchase now through December 30. The collection is available for online browsing, or contact Art Sales Manager Erika Meisinger for more information or a tour of the Bemis Center Art Vault. (That alone sounds intriguing.) Bemis recently received a $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts, in support of its residency program. The funding marks a 50 percent increase from what the Bemis received in 2009. Bemis Director Mark Masuoka says the grant comes just in time for Bemis’ 30th anniversary in 2011. “I can’t think of a better way to signify this milestone than to be able to increase our capacity to support individual artists,” he says. * Girl’s Inc. of Omaha, in partnership with the Nebraska Arts Council, created state tree ornaments that are now hanging on this year’s National Christmas Tree, installed on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Participants from Girl’s Inc. worked with Omaha artist Marcia Joffe-Bouska to create a glass mosaic on hardboard that represented a favorite aspect of winter holiday celebrations. The National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition of what has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. Mixed Media is a column about art. Get local art updates at weekfiftytwo.com. Send ideas to mixedmedia@thereader.com.

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