Jean Cross, Director of the Art Center of Lincoln, stands outside the Art Center building. Opening Day is planned for August 1.
Volunteers at the Art League of Lincoln have spent the month of July cleaning, scraping, painting, and organizing. Their project: the Art Center of Lincoln, located at 580 Sixth Street across from City Hall. Opening Day is planned for August 1st.
Art Center Director, Jean Cross, is excited about the enthusiasm she sees from so many volunteers. She said, “We estimated three weeks for painting and clean up and we were finished with the painting in five days! Once we got a place and it became a real entity, all of a sudden we got these donors.”
Donations have included furniture, paint, fixtures and, most importantly, labor.
Patrick Jewell removes a stump from the planter area near the entrance to the Art Center.
Cross was formerly the Executive Director of the Art League of Lincoln. The Art Center is her passion. “I want it to look the best. We are trying to make it really open and really welcoming. I want people to come in and go, ‘Wow!’ Already people are saying it looks bigger and brighter,” she said.
Cross has a lifetime in the arts. She said, “I was born to two artists. My father was a set-designer, painter, landscaper. He taught drama. He and my mom met at USC. My mom was an actress and he was a set-designer there. From a very young age, I remember my father bringing projects home for me to work on. Ever since I can remember I was making things. After I got my art degree I started teaching.”
Cross taught junior high and high school home economics, family development, arts and crafts and sewing. “I’ve always been a seamstress,” she added. As Art Director at a large community church, she designed the sets, 200 costumes and church decor for a Christmas production that was attended by 15,000 people. She was the first woman sculptor at Gladding McBean and worked on pieces of architectural terra cotta for buildings all over the United States.
Lincoln Hills resident Stephanie Spikell (center) delivers a “yarn-bombed” tricycle to Jean Cross at the Art Center of Lincoln.
Sitting among several unpacked boxes of art books, she described the plans for the Art Center after it opens.
Cross said, “Out front we’re going to put a patio on the side and encourage people to stop by for lunch, enjoy a cool day (laughs) and make it a nice extension of the space. The main room is going to be the art gallery. So far we are planning shows that will last about five weeks. Our first show will be a members’ show which will open August 14th, then a Salmon Show to coincide with the Calling Back the Salmon celebration in October. We’ll have a large holiday boutique in November and December.”
The entrance into the main gallery room.
Other changes to the interior space include a gift shop, a combined art resource library and classroom, a workroom and a small office area.
“It’s really exciting. We’re trying to work with what we have. The Performing Arts department is planning some small theater events in here. I want to have things going on that bring people in here everyday,” Cross said.
The gift shop area is taking shape.
The “open” banner is ready for display.
The Art Center hours will be Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with other hours for special events. Receptions are planned for the second Wednesday of the month to tie in with the food trucks and the people coming downtown. During August the Art Center will also be open during Farmers Market on Thursday evenings.
Cross enjoys the positive energy around the opening of the center. “I’m so excited to see people take ownership of the building,” she said.
For more information, go to the Art League of Lincoln website.
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