Museum of Nebraska Art (Kearney, NE)

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A painting depicting two concert-clad figures one crouching over the base the other holding a microphone

Detail from the painting Negro Singer by Grant Reynard, part of the Museum of Nebraska Art's exhibition Afro Psalms, which is available for touring through the museum's ARTreach program. Image courtesy of Museum of Nebraska Art

Founded in 1976, the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) in Kearney became the state's official visual arts collection by legislative act in 1979. The collection of more than 5,000 artworks contains work by Nebraskan artists and works reflective of Nebraska's culture and  environment. Artists represented in the collection include Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton, wildlife illustrator John James Audubon, and contemporary fiber artist Sheila Hicks. MONA's community programs, in support of its mission to enhance the quality of life for all Nebraskans through expanded arts education, includes artist and scholar lectures, musical and theatrical performances, and hands-on arts workshops for youth and adult students.

In FY 2004, MONA received an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000 to support its ARTreach program in which works from the museum's collection are toured and exhibited statewide. The program brings quality original art to citizens who do not have regular access to it, particularly those living in rural areas.

Grant funds were used to print interpretive and promotional materials as well as for the transportation and installation of the touring artworks. Beginning in October 2004, 22 sites were offered a chance to participate in the project, which is scheduled to run through September 2006. Presenters may request one of six thematic exhibitions, such as Afro Psalms, an exploration of African American life through the juxtaposition of works by illustrator Grant Reynard and poet Charles Fort. MONA expects up to 2,500 individuals will benefit from each site's four-week exhibition.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)