Minden Opera House & Linda Stephen Partner with Schools, Library and Nursing Home to Create Community Art
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