Several communities in northeast Nebraska will unveil public artworks this Sunday and next Monday as part of the Byway of Art project.
Kat Shiffler, project manager at the Center for Rural Affairs, has been coordinating the efforts with those towns for months.
“The Byway of Art includes the communities of Lyons, Oakland, Decatur and Macy,” Shiffler says. “We’ve been working for over a year with these communities and with a visiting artist to come up with site-specific or community-specific artworks that represent something special and unique about each of these towns.”
The projects include a stationary trolleycar in Decatur that will be used as a storytelling space — and a circle of teepee-like structures in Macy that will form an open-air gathering and performance space. Shiffler says the towns got to decide how they want to be represented with the artwork.
“It’s not simply an outsider coming in and drawing a picture or painting a painting and representing a town,” Shiffler says. “It’s the towns themselves deciding how they want to be represented and building it themselves. All of the craftsmanship and the design was a project between the artist and local craftspeople and volunteers.”
Shiffler says the goal for the final four public artworks is to promote a regional attraction.
“One reason we wanted to create this network of public artworks in rural northeastern Nebraska was to attract visitors to a place they maybe hadn’t thought about visiting before,” Shiffler says. “We hope once all four projects are complete, and that’s expected to happen this spring, we can have a tour and tie them all together and promote them as a group, as a regional attraction.”
For more information on the “Byway of Art” project, visit www.bywayofart.com
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton