UNO art student launches solo art show


Will Patterson

University of Nebraska at Omaha art student Laura Simpson has launched a solo art show titled “Episode Twenty-Five” at the Harney Street Gallery in downtown Omaha. Tucked away in the heart of Omaha’s art scene, Simpson has a chance to put her story out into the world.

Simpson began her post-high school education at Metropolitan Community College where she earned her business associates degree before transferring to UNO. Now she is working toward a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art with an emphasis on 3-D art.

While “Episode Twenty-Five” is not Simpson’s first art show, it is her first solo show—marking a significant moment in any artist’s career. She drew inspiration for the collection from her 25th year alive—from which the collection also earns its name.

“I entered my 25th year of life at the start of summer jobless, living in my parents’ basement and with limited real-life responsibilities compared to others my age.” Simpson said. “Despite be-ing in minor debt I decided, ‘I am young and living large.’”

Visitors can see how Simpson illustrated a year of life experiences through a variety of mediums. Simpson’s art spans from abstract, such as interpretive sculptures, to more acute mediums, such as photography collection. This variety gives Simpson’s show a unique appearance and purpose.

Dominating the center of the room is one art piece featuring a full-size bathtub. Inside the tub are mute colored balls and shredded Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. The art piece sets the mixed themes that are present throughout all of Simpson’s displayed work.

Against some of the gallery walls are glass windows in frames. Pieces of mirror affixed on the glass give the appearance of a shattered reflection.

Simpson said that while she is proud of everything on display, she has a particular appreciation for a series of laminated sticky notes. She said that the notes encompass her thoughts in a way that they are “deeply personal and yet relatable in many regards.”

Simpson encourages other art students looking to kick start their career to just put themselves out there.

“Be yourself and seek to make meaningful connections,” Simpson said. “Surround yourself with people and things that inspire and encourage you every day.”

Continuing her career in the arts, Simpson plans on applying for artist residencies and doing a lot of traveling.

In true artist fashion, she plans on doing so in an old camper van to “get me from one place to the next and one day to the next.”

“Episode Twenty-Five” will be on display at the Harney Street gallery during hours posted online or by private appointment until Sept. 30. A closing reception will be held on Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.