Mollie Magnuson

NAP Coordinator- Lincoln
Mollie Magnuson
Mollie Magnuson is the Arts Associate for the Lincoln Arts Council and coordinator for the NAP exhibit in Lincoln, Nebraska. This was Mollie’s second year running the show and she has already made great strides in increasing participation numbers and awareness about the program. Mollie holds a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and creates art in many mediums including; woodcut printmaking, intaglio, screen printing, papermaking, bookmaking, ceramics, jewelry making and crafting.
Mollie strives to open the world of the arts to those in her community and believes that everyone has a creative side. With her passion for art and her interest in community affairs we know she will work hard to produce an amazing show for 2013.
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different than any other art exhibit put on by the Lincoln Arts Council?
A. The National Arts Program® is different than any other program that the Lincoln Art Council puts on in that it allows multiple artists in our community to join together and display their artwork. No matter how different the content of the work may be or the medium, the National Arts Program® gives all artists, who are employees or family members of Lincoln Public Schools and the City of Lincoln, the opportunity to take part in a month long art exhibition where their artwork is hung in the public libraries. It is a celebration that works to increase community awareness of the creativity and talent that pulses in our community.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. As an artist I can first handedly say that working in a full time position and making art is quite the juggle. To have enough energy to go to your studio after a full day of work is a task. If this task is accomplished, it is worth celebrating. The first step in creating artwork is to figure out in your mind or on paper what it is that you want to make. Next you have to make sketches or build a mock up and decide what medium you want to use and reconsider if the content of the piece is saying what you want it to say. Then you create it. Making art is a process. There are many steps and they usually don’t happen in the same order every time but after that piece of art is created, you want to share it, you have to share it, it’s sometimes hard to share it. It’s important to communicate the piece because it is a piece of yourself and of what you want to express and share with others. As an employee it is important to display your artwork because the time and effort that is put into making it proves that there is a reason for its existence and therefore needs to be shared with others.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork?
A. There is a lot of excitement that comes from employees and their families when the National Arts Program® is announced every year. Especially from those who participate on an annual basis. I have a group of employees from the libraries who are always a lot of fun to work with. They have shared with me that they look forward to competing against one and another and also appreciate and take pride in the opportunity to share their artwork with those who visit the libraries. This year I also had a lady, who is a family member of a City employee, who was so excited to learn that she and her grandson were both eligible to take part in the exhibition. He was even more excited when the judges choose him as an award recipient.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in the government setting is so important?
A. It is important to display artwork in government settings so that the officials of our community are made aware of the value that its residents place on art. The quality and diversity of the artwork that I have seen in my two years of coordinating the City of Lincoln’s National Arts Program® has made me aware of the wide spread of talent that our community encompasses.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. I have two favorite aspects of the National Arts Program®. The first is when the artists drop off their artwork. It is so exciting to meet the artists and see their work and discover the conversations that unravel. The second aspect that I enjoy, is the reception and awards ceremony. To see and feel the energy that flows over a room full of proud artists and family members awaiting their recognition for their creative accomplishments is incredibly rewarding.
Q. Do visitors to the libraries respond to the employee exhibit?
A. Visitors to the libraries do respond to the employee exhibit. I had a handful of visitors contact me this year interested in getting in contact with artists because they were interested in purchasing a piece of artwork that they saw hanging in the libraries.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. In my two years of coordinating the NAP I have had the opportunity to use the online registration process both years. This registration process makes it so easy to promote the program and is completely user friendly. The response from participants in using the online registration has also verified that this way of registering is fast and simple.
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life? How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts? Are you an artist yourself?
A. Through my experience in working in the field of the arts, working on my own artwork, and helping others discover the ability to create artwork, I have come to realize that I desire to revolve my life around the arts.
I have been doing art since I was a little girl. I remember my first project I did was crocheting a blanket when I was in 4th grade. Throughout the rest of my public school experience I continued to take interest in being involved with art but in college is really where art started to impact my personal life. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art and am currently working to get my certification to teach K-12 Art.
I am practiced in many mediums but most of my interest lies in Woodcut Printmaking. My other areas of interest include: Intaglio, Screen printing, Papermaking, Bookmaking, Watercolor, Ceramics, and Jewelry making. The way that I feel when I am making art is my favorite feeling in the world. It allows all of my stresses to disappear and releases my mind to be able to fully focus on the process of creating.
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. I was nervous after my first year of coordinating this program that we were not going to be able to continue in 2012. The number of participants in our program in 2011 and in previous years were continuously dwindling. After proposing and putting into effect the idea of expanding the eligibility from only City Employees to including Lincoln Public School Employees, our numbers rose significantly. I am honored to be the coordinator of the City of Lincoln National Arts Program® and look forward to seeing to it that our program continues to expand and grow.