MINDEN OPERA HOUSE PARTNERS WITH ORIGAMI ARTIST, SCHOOLS, LIBRARY, AND NURSING HOME TO CREATE COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITY ART PROJECT
(Minden, NE) In the midst of the isolation of the Coronavirus pandemic, people are craving and seeking out ways to connect to each other. Bringing people together through art, while also commemorating this historic time in our community’s history seemed like a natural way for the Minden Opera House to help build people up in these difficult times. Nationally award-winning paper artist Linda Stephen will work with Minden residents of all ages to create a collaborative community artwork using her skills in origami. The desire is to create a piece that is not only a nod to Minden’s history as the Christmas City for over 125 years, but to capture the spirit of this vibrant community during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Christmas City places over 10,000 lights on the Kearney County courthouse every year that are on from Thanksgiving weekend until New Year’s night. In March of 2020, the lights were lit again as a symbol of hope in an incredibly dark time. It seemed only fitting that these historic lights would become the subject of the art piece, as there are few things that unite past and current Minden residents like that beautiful display. MOH Executive Director Marcy Brandt says, “While this artwork won’t satisfy any nutritional or material needs, our hope is that it will be a healing activity amid extreme challenges, showing that even in isolation and chaos, beauty can be found.”
Artist Linda Stephen will create a fine art paper construction titled “Community Unfolding in Minden” featuring the Kearney County Courthouse with the Christmas Lights. Stephen has worked with nonprofits and schools across the country to create collaborative artworks that celebrate a place or community. The artwork will incorporate both the artist’s paper sculptures, and hundreds of small origami models made by Minden residents. Stephen will invent simple origami models to be incorporated in a type of mosaic pattern in the Courthouse and the landscapes.
Stephen and the Minden Opera House will host small in-person workshops at 4:00 and 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 13 (pre-registration and masks required). After that date, take-home kits will also be available for anyone who wants to participate. Kits will include materials and instructions required to make a piece for the collaborative artwork, as well as supplies and instructions to make a small origami object to keep.
Additionally, the Opera House and Stephen will be providing kits and instruction videos – or live online instruction – to art classrooms in all three public schools, Jensen Memorial Library, and Bethany Home Nursing Facility in Minden. The goal is to have over 500 Minden residents of all ages contribute to the final piece. All finished pieces will need to be returned to the Opera House by no later than May 8 so that Stephen can begin assembling them into her final design. The unveiling of the finished piece has not been set yet, but Brandt says that there will be a large celebration planned when the time comes. “Community Unfolding in Minden” will be on permanent display at the Minden Opera House.
Donations to help defray the cost of the project can be given to Minden Opera House, PO Box 1, Minden, NE 68959 or online at MindenOperaHouse.com. Linda Stephen’s artwork will be displayed in her show titled “Nebraska Outdoors in Origami” at the Minden Opera House Gallery in March and April.
About the Artist
Linda Stephen’s artworks are part of collections around the world including the Minden Opera House (photo shown). Her origami landscapes have won national and regional art awards and been featured in more than 150 juried exhibits across the country. Linda has more than 25 years of experience in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Fluent in Japanese, Linda worked and studied in Japan for six years. For more than 15 years, she has taught origami workshops to museums, schools, libraries, and arts centers nationwide.
Linda is also a children’s book author and illustrator. Her origami picture book The Day We Went to the Park (Handersen Publishing, 2020) celebrates a day of wonder and discovery outside. Learn more at LindaStephen.com or TheDayWeWentToThePark.com.
Marcy Brandt, Executive Director
Minden Opera House
Office Hours: Tues – Fri; 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Where: Minden Opera House Gallery, 322 E. 5th St., north side of historic courthouse square, Minden, Nebraska. Free parking in the square including just in front of the opera house.
When: March 2-April 30, 2021
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday March 13, 2-4 p.m.
Opening Origami Workshops for Collaborative Community Art. Join in “Folding Minden Together”: Saturday March 13, 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Gallery open 10 a.m. -5:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. Saturdays by appointment. Call 308-832-0588 to schedule.
Why: See original art celebrating the nature and cities of Nebraska through paper. Tour (for free) the renovated historical opera house. Visit the Sandhill Crane Migration and then enjoy inside culture and history. Fold paper and leave a legacy. Take 2 minutes or less to fold paper for the community collaborative origami artwork “Community Unfolding in Minden.”
What: Origami collage landscapes of Linda Stephen. The exhibit includes original illustrations for the picture book “The Day We Went to the Park” as well as 3D paper art of prairies, cities, farms, rivers and fields.
CREATE ART FOR ALL
Join Linda Stephen and the Minden Opera House in March and April 2020 in creating a new artwork “Community Unfolding in Minden” celebrating the community coming together. Fold a square or two of paper to make your impression for the future.
Additionally, the Opera House and Stephen will be providing kits and instruction videos – or live online instruction – to art classrooms in all three public schools, Jensen Memorial Library, and Bethany Home Nursing Facility in Minden. The goal is to have hundreds of Minden residents of all ages contribute to the final piece. All finished pieces will need to be returned to the Opera House by no later than May 8 so that Stephen can begin assembling them into her final design. The unveiling of the finished piece has not been set yet, but Brandt says that there will be a large celebration planned when the time comes. “Community Unfolding in Minden” will be on permanent display at the Minden Opera House.
Donations to help defray the cost of the project can be given to Minden Opera House, PO Box 1, Minden, NE 68959 or online at mindenoperahouse.com.
Who: Stephen is a nationally award-winning paper artist whose artworks are part of public and private collections around the world. Linda’s art medium is paper: Japanese handmade washi papers and origami sculptures that she invents. Stephen’s intricate landscapes celebrate the beauty that is all around us.
Stephen teaches workshops on origami, Japanese culture and Japanese paper arts across the country. She is a member of Origami USA and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and SCBWI Nebraska chapter. A native of the Midwest, Stephen has traveled around the world and lived for more than six years in Japan. In 2020, she published her first picture book “The Day We Went to the Park” (Handersen Publishing).
See written article and 1011 News TV video of reporter Kamri’s interview with artist and author Linda Stephen:
Lincoln artist and author creates origami children’s book: Lincoln author and artist Linda Stephen is taking origami to new levels with her new children’s book.
Nebraska’s CBS TV affiliate in Lincoln 1011 News Now features an interview with Linda Stephen about her book “The Day We Went to the Park” and her livestream origami and storytime events for Summer Reading library programs across the state.
Reporter Kamri Sylve visited Linda at her home to record the livestream video storytime for Nebraska City’s Morton-James Public Library.
Lincoln Journal Star newspaper featured a community origami event “1,000 Cranes for Lincoln’s Healing,” organized by Bluestem Montessori Elementary School. Origami artist Linda Stephen taught elementary school students and the public tips on how to fold an origami crane.
See the article here: “‘1,000 Cranes for Lincoln Healing’ livestream event May 8,” May 1, 2020
Artist Linda Stephen has folded thousands of origami cranes. The school and students aimed to make at least 1,000 cranes in a few weeks. The act of folding itself provides healing. With the help of the public — and many hours of folding by students and families, Bluestem Montessori made 1,338.
To watch Linda’s the tutorial on how to fold an origami crane, visit here. on the Bluestem Montessori Elementary School Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BluestemMontessori
Feature story with photo in Lincoln Journal Star’s Neighborhood Extra section of the newspaper Children’s book authors to livestream Saturday storytimes in May, May 1, 2020
Handersen Publishing, Francie and Finch Bookshop and local authors provide livestream storytimes in May for Lincoln (and world) audiences. Presenting authors include Linda Stephen on May 16 with her picture book “The Day We Went to the Park,” Nichole Hansen, Karissa Bettendorf, Gina Bitner, and Kelly Kingsley. Videos were livestreamed on the Facebook page of www.FrancieandFinch.com.