* Lincoln artist and University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Aaron Holz will give a talk this Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Sheldon Museum of Art. (Full disclosure: I work at Sheldon.) Holz has an intimate exhibition in Sheldon’s Focus Gallery. Of Heads and Hands is inspired by the drawings of 16th century artists Agnolo Bronzino and Jan Gossaert. Holz’s portraits of heads and hands question what it means to paint parts of the human body, and he said he’s fascinated with the psychological aspects of the spaces that surround our bodies. His talk is part of a Friday evening reception that runs from 5-8 p.m. His talk takes place in the second floor gallery space and is free and open to the public. * Artist Bart Vargas — formerly of Omaha — is running an online fundraiser to help raise money for a residency he earned in China. The Shangyuan Art Museum accepted Vargas to be one of its first international artists in residence beginning May 16. This is the first time the program has been opened to artists who live outside China. His studio and living costs are provided, but he needs to raise thousands of dollars to cover flights and travel expenses, as well as additional living expenses. Everyone who donates to the fundraiser will receive a drawing completed during the residency, and the more each person contributes, the more each person will get. To make a pledge, visit Kickstarter.com/projects/1237142552/bart-vargas-in-the-shangyuan-art-museum-residency. * The current U.S. Poet Laureate will give a talk at Joslyn Art Museum on April 28. W.S. Merwin will read from his works and answer audience questions after the reading. Merwin’s career spans five decades and he has become one of the most widely read poets in America. Over the years, his poetic voice has moved from the more formal and medieval-influenced somewhat by the medieval poetry he was then translating — to a more distinctly American voice, following his two years in Boston where he got to know Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Adrienne Rich, and Donald Hall. The event begins in Joslyn’s Witherspoon Concert Hall at 5:30 p.m. and the free event is open to the public. * Mark your calendars for the Hot Shops Art Center spring open house, slated for April 30 and May 1. The Hot Shops annual open houses are some of the venue’s most popular events, and the two-day event runs on Saturday, April 30, from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, from noon to 5 p.m. The event will include open artists studios, live music, art demonstrations and gallery shows. A vast array of artists have studio space in the Hot Shops, and demonstrations will include bronze pouring, clay work and raku firings, iron forging and glass blowing. For more information, visit HotShopsArtCenter.com. Mixed Media is a column about art. Get local art updates at weekfiftytwo.com. Send ideas to {encode=”boomsbaker@gmail.com” title=”mixedmedia@thereader.com”}.

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