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Omaha Public Library unveils community art at downtown branch

Six artists were honored at Saturday's ceremony.
Posted at 8:47 PM, Oct 29, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. — At the downtown branch of the Omaha Public Library, art comes to life.

"The title is flourishing. And it's a representation of how the mind flourishes when you get immersed in literature, good books, and good stories," Ilaamen Pelshaw illustrator, designer and artist said.

Pelshaw carefully crafts her work one stroke at a time. She's been crafting her work since she came here from Guatemala.

"These public spaces that are so well planned, and so beautiful for me, means a lot. Even being part of it, is an honor," she said.

That's why she applied to have her art displayed at the library. Throughout the past couple months, OPL staff and others went through several art work submissions.

"The main theme we're interested in, is storytelling," Amy Mather with OPL said. "Because libraries are about stories. We have lots of books here. Books are about stories. We wanted to really explore that theme."

Art work from six artists including Pelshaw were chosen to span the downtown branch. Like Pelshaw, Weston Thomson has been illustrating since he was three.

"Drawing this way brings me back to my childhood," he said. "I have a six year old. He's been drawing a lot as well. It just got me in that state of mind. It just got me thinking. Why don't I just take one continuous line and draw a bunch of friendly faces that would represent the welcoming community."

A piece that Lori Elliott-Bartle along with Marcia Joffe-Bouska and Tom Quest worked on includes Omaha history.

"The glass mosaic, path, shape, mimics the shape of the Bob Kerrey Bridge," Elliott-Bartle said.

All six artists are Lori Elliott-Bartle, Marcia Joffe-Bouska, Tom Quest, Jada Messick, Ilaamen Pelshaw, Weston Thomson

From one friendly face to another, the artists hope their storytelling can help flourish people to think freely.

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