Amy Okamoto

December brings new visual and performing arts experiences to the Norfolk Arts Center (NAC), and opportunities to buy or make craft and arts items to give as gifts.

“Rivers” debuts in the main gallery on Dec. 5. A collaboration by artists Lori Elliot-Bartle, Marcia Joffe-Bouska and Tom Quest, the “Rivers” exhibit examines the themes of nature, memory and connectivity and features a 23-foot mixed-media project.

Aptly named “River,” this focal piece mimics the winding bank of a river and incorporates painting, ceramics, glass mosaic and collage. Each segment of the piece grants the viewer multiple perspectives of place.

The exhibit will feature additional collaborative works by the artists, as well as individual pieces, all of which embrace the overarching themes of nature and universal experience.

Artist Brooke Gettman will display her collection “Response” in the atrium. Gettman was the Best of Show winner at the NAC’s 2019 Juried Art Show. “Response” is a collection of digital collages. Her work is personal in nature and frequently examines her experiences and their narratives.

The opening reception for the new exhibits is Thursday, Dec. 12, at 5 p.m. The artists will be on hand to discuss their works. The public is encouraged to attend this opportunity to gain insight into the artists’ processes and creative thinking.

THE SOUNDS of the season will fill the air when “Sing Noel” returns to the NAC on Dec. 13 and 14. “Sing Noel” is the annual Christmas concert presented by the Norfolk Area Chamber Singers and the NAC.

Beautifully rendered traditional music combined with delectable desserts will put you in the holiday spirit. Due to the popularity of the event, “Sing Noel” is being offered on two dates.

There will be an evening performance on Friday, Dec. 13, and an afternoon performance on Saturday, Dec 14. Tickets are available at the NAC or from a Chamber Singers member.

Gifts of Creativity

Handcrafted art is perfect for gift-giving during the holiday season. There’s something special about receiving a one-of-a-kind item. The uniqueness sets it apart from other presents, making the recipient feel as if thought and care were put into the choice.

For the giver, it’s the opportunity to give something truly personal. And unlike gadgets or the latest fashion trend, art is timeless. Whether you choose to purchase a piece or create your own, art makes a wonderful gift.

You don’t need to be knowledgeable about art to give it as a gift, though purchasing a large piece can be a bit daunting. Smaller pieces allow for more flexibility in placement, while personal items such as jewelry need only reflect the wearer’s personality.

Regardless of size and type of art, you will need to consider the recipient’s taste and available space.

By buying from a local artist, you are supporting arts and small business in your community. If you create the piece yourself, you’re offering a gift from your heart and imagination. If you’re not certain about what type of art to give, try giving the gift of creative experience — a gift certificate to an art class or workshop, for example.

Finding that unique piece is easier this time of year. There are plentiful local arts and crafts fairs during the season. Artwork from local artists, including paintings, jewelry, woodwork, textiles and pottery, offers a variety of options to fit most budgets. You may even find a gift that gives back. By purchasing through nonprofits, a portion of your cost may be given to the organization.

Arts and craft fairs are also a good opportunity to speak directly with artists — many are willing to work on commission. If you admire an artist’s work but aren’t finding just what you are seeking, speak with them about commissioning a custom work.

IF YOU DO gift original art, make it special by including a little note about how the work made you think of the recipient.

For the adventurous, express yourself with your own creation. If you’re interested in trying something new to you, several area businesses are offering affordable classes and workshops.

For children, arts and crafts allow them to get into the spirit of giving meaningful gifts that you will cherish for years to come. The Norfolk Public Library and the Norfolk Arts Center are offering free workshops geared to young artists.

From churches to galleries to holiday markets, there are a variety of options to explore. Here are a few of the holiday markets and workshops coming soon:

Make Your Own

Wire, Beads, and Bobbles

Revitalized Studio, 311 Norfolk Ave., Norfolk

Dec. 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Create adjustable bracelets with beads and wire.

Kids Holiday Craft Make and Take

Norfolk Public Library

Dec. 14 from 10 to 11 a.m.

Free winter crafts and holiday treats. Geared to kids ages 8-12. Space is limited. Register by Dec. 11 to save your seat.

Homemade Wrapping Paper

Norfolk Arts Center’s second Saturday

Dec. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Make homemade wrapping paper by crafting your own custom stamp. Suitable for children and adults. Free and open to the public.

Arts and Crafts Markets

Under 200 Art Sale

Blue Cat Gallery & Studio in Wayne

Nov. 29 from 1 to 5 p.m., and Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy sweet treats and hot drinks while shopping.

Christmas at the Madison Arts Center

Fourth Street and Nebraska Avenue in Madison.

Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Artist shops, choral music and make-and-take art.


In other news

Kenny Blank, Lutheran High Northeast’s first-year boys basketball coach, lists several of his former coaches as influences — his high school coach at Lutheran High, Greg Rathke; Concordia University men’s coach Ben Limback; previous Eagles coach Darin Suckstorf, former University of Nebraska…

Later today you’ll need to visit your nearest grocery outlet and purchase as many frozen French fries as they currently have in their freezer case. Trust me. In February these frozen spuds will be worth their frozen weight in gold.

Like many people, I’ve long known of Henry David Thoreau and his famous stay at Walden Pond, but until recently, I only knew the most famous quotes from Walden – the ones that have made appearances in movies or been used in other pieces of writing.

The following area bankruptcies were filed in U.S. Court, District of Nebraska. Reprinted by permission from the Daily Record of Omaha.