UNO student finds passion in the Omaha art community


Megan Fabry

Sports do not often coincide with art, but UNO accounting student Erin Foley makes the pairing look effortless and elegant. Foley is showcasing her art, titled SLICE, at Darger HQ in collaboration with Michael Willet.

Foley first heard about the show when Darger HQ employee Launa Bacon called her with the offer to present and collaborate with Willett, an artist from Alabama.

“Working with Michael and learning his perspective on the show gave me a stronger appreciation for the Omaha art community,” Foley said. “He loved it here.”

Darger HQ is an organization that connects contemporary artists to the world by creating collaborations between local, national and international artists.

According to their website, Foley builds surfaces where abstraction and representation meet in works inspired by the experience and pleasure of tennis.

An avid tennis player, Foley used this as her inspiration for the display at Darger HQ.

“For me the work should come from a genuine place so I decided to make the paintings and sculpture about tennis and add art references to find a meeting point of my two interests,” Foley said. “I’m not super good at tennis, I just love playing. I wanted it to have a crafty rough texture that felt very sculptural.”

Foley plans out her paintings beforehand, but lets her artistic spirit take over, and as a result, it often changes from her original plan. She said the time it takes for a single piece varies depending on the complexity of the project.

Although she works alone like many artists do, Foley often collaborates with various artists to help push her art to the next level. As an adjunct in the sculpture department at UNO, she often works with other students and gives them advice with their own projects.

“The collaboration/relationship/project has to be organic,” Foley said. “It feels weird when two people try and force something. I like to do what I want, so I’m cool by myself. Teaching is a fun way for me to connect with others.”

Foley said that she has an exciting project in the works with Peter Fankhauser, a good friend of hers. “The next year or two I will definitely be working pretty closely with him,” Foley said.

Every artist has experiences that come with their career and Foley said that is the best part. Because of her artistic ability, she has had the opportunity to travel extensively.

“In my twenties, I traveled the world working in the arts and will never regret it,” Foley said. “There isn’t always a lot of security in the field which can be really freeing, but also not so fun at times.”

SLICE will remain in Omaha until Nov. 4 It is free of charge and can be viewed by scheduling an appointment through Darger HQ.