Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 14, 1999)
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Editor’s note: Today'sstory’serves
as an introduction to a semesterlong
series on the state of ethnic artistry in
Nebraska. Every> week we will focus
on a particular artist or progrqm ded
icated to the diversification of state
By Christopher Heine
You know the popular national
image of Nebraska - a state of pickup
. trucks with the tales of Shania Twain
blaring through the AM radio.
This view is not only overly sim
ple, but sad as well. Saddest of all is
that many Nebraskans might actually
In actuality, Nebraska fosters
much more than wheat, corn and
common stereotypes; it also holds a
kaleidoscope of artists from a variety
People of every color and cultural
influence are putting their stories to
performances and galleries across the
Some are visiting artists-in-resi
dence passing through grade school,
high school and college halls as gyp
sies of the academic circuit. Others,
like Juan Rodriguez, are making art
happen in Nebraska.
IT TOOK LOI VO about a year to make his statue of the bald eagle that stands outside Lincoln Plating Co., 600 West E St. Vo also made two bald eagles
with gold plating for Harley Davidson Company.
But most of the state has little
Rodriguez, the coordinator of the
children’s dance troupe “Sabor
Mexicano,” said it’s time for people to
start taking notice.
“People here do not cherish the
arts like they do in New York or other
places on the coasts,” he said. “Many
of us are out here working the fields
of art and not getting the needed
“Sabor Mexicano” does only
authentic, Mexican dance routines.
Last year, the group attended a semi
nar in Mexico and will do the same in
Rodriguez said that artistic diver
sity educates many and makes
minorities feel more valued.
“A lot of our youth today need to
Please see DIVERSITY on 10
Alumni jewelry exhibition shows path of success
By Diane Broderick
On magazine pages and in the movies, Man
Graff's jewelry designs have been seen around
.And today through Feb. 11, Lincoln's Robert
Hillestad Textiles Gallery is featuring an alumni
exhibition of his designs, entitled “Marv Graff:
Fiber and Metal."
Graff, who received his bachelor's and mas
ter's of fine art degrees from the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln in the '70s. will appear at the
gallery for an artist's reception Friday from 6:30
p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
He is presenting a three-pronged exhibit that
follows his career since his days at UNL up to his
most recent work in New York. It includes pieces
that have appeared in national magazines and
been used in films such as “My Best Friend’s
The first part contains early pieces, including
elaborate accessories that he refers to as “wear
able art,” completed while he was earning his
Upon graduation, he ended up at one of UNLs
“I taught at K-State University for a year and
a half, and I was producing things I was selling to
boutiques in New York while I was teaching,”
His commitment to production grew, and he
moved to New York after his time at K-State.
The second part of the exhibit is dedicated to
the designs Graff fashioned while building his
career in New York, when he worked with estab
lished fashion and jewelry designers including
Mary MacFadden and Miriam Haskell,
During this period, in 1979, Graff won the
prestigious Pre de Cache award for young design
er of the year. Graff said the award was selected
by fashion editors based on who they thought
epitomized the fashion of the time.
Eventually Graff decided to open his own stu
dio, which is the focus of the third section of the
exhibit, consisting mainly of costume jewelry that
I Sandy Summers/DN
LEFT: MERV GRAFF, known for his contemporary jewelry designs,
has returned to UNL for an alumni exhibition. Cara Humphry shows
off one of the jewelry pieces featured in the show.
TOP: THIS PATTERN comes from a sweater Graff created while still
he’s completed for
Designs, located in
“I hired repre
sentatives to sell,
kind of like agents.
They have contacts with stores around the coun
try,” Graff said.
Graff also participates in what are known as
trade shows, where buyers from around the coun
try come to see and possibly buy artisans’ work.
Part of the impetus for the Lincoln exhibition
is Graff’s family connection to the state.
He grew up in Shelby, and his sister Barbara
Trout is currently an associate professor of tex
tiles, clothing and design at UNL as well as cura
tor of this event. '
It was “probably just coincidence" that landed
the two in the same field, Graff said, but how he
was raised may have had something to do with it.
“Our parents just always exposed us to a lot of
cultural things; we were from a really small town,
but we’d go to Omaha and spend a lot of time in
Lincoln and travel occasionally," he said.
Trout said preparations for the exhibit have
been going on for about a month.
Please see JEWELRY on 10
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