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25 for 25: Student Art

We are commemorating our 25th Anniversary with 25 posts about our history and accomplishments between now and the Spotlight Gala on September 15.  Join us for a celebration of Voices for Children and all of the organizations, lawmakers, and individuals who have supported our work on behalf of children.  For details, visit voicesforchildren.com/spotlight-gala.

On the eve of Gala, the ballroom at the Embassy Suites will be filled with student art, symbolizing that Nebraska children are always our first priority and forever present in our minds.  Every year, we shine a Spotlight on Nebraska children through a student art project funded from a grant from the Omaha Schools Foundation.  Thanks to their generosity, more students than ever before participated this year!  Over the last 4 months, we have had the true pleasure of working with Hot Shops artists – specifically Tim Barry, Diane Mattern, Mell Smith, and Ed Fennell.  They, along with other hot shops artists, welcomed 3 different groups of students into their studios to create the largest amount of student art projects to date.

Every time we hopped in Carolyn’s mini-van to head down to Hot Shops, Diane was there with a smile and a hug, ready to get to work.  Diane cares deeply about children’s issues and it reflects in everything she does.  Tim is an amazing teacher and passionate vessel of information.  When he walks into a classroom with his “Hot Shops” T-shirt on and starts talking to a group of kids, they are engaged in everything he is telling them.  He talks to them like adults and they truly hear him.   A lesson from Tim Barry, who happens to be our individual award winner:

“In the glass studio, when something breaks we don’t throw it away.  We know the idea was good and the beauty of the piece is still there.  It just needs some special care and attention to bring it back to whole again.  Vulnerable children are like the broken pieces of glass. They can become something wonderful and useful.  It just takes special care and attention.”

When you purchase any of the student art pieces Saturday night, you are not only providing support for Nebraska’s children, you are taking home a reminder with you that together we can tell their story.

We have three great projects:

Spiral Centerpieces
Students arranged the broken glass on the bases of these spirals to make each a one of a kind creation.  Children are the foundation of our future and we want to make sure they have the tools they need to grow up to be healthy and successful adults.  The silver spirals symbolize a look up toward the future; a brighter future for Nebraska’s children and another 25 years of Voices for Children’s advocacy.

Mosaic Mirrors
The Mosaic Mirrors will be featured in the Silent Auction.  Students picked out their favorite pieces of broken glass to make the piece in a beautiful collaboration.  When the lucky winner of this item looks in the mirror, they will see a reflection of the impact they have made on Nebraska’s children.

Students watched in awe as Tim Barry sat on his potter’s stool and turned a lump of clay into something beautiful for them to build upon.  He stressed the importance of working with their hands and using their imagination.  They carefully cut out pieces of clay for light to shine through, and they painted unique designs.


A very special thanks to all of the artists at Hot Shops that worked with the students, the students themselves, the teachers, administrators, and the Omaha Schools foundation. Hot Shops Art Center, located at 1301 Nicholas Street, consists of art studios, showrooms and various gallery spaces.

Thank you to taking the time to share!

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