New sculptures are adding to the interesting things downtown, thanks to the work of North Platte’s Prairie Arts Center and Executive Director Holly Carlini.

A half-dozen sculptures have arrived. Carlini has worked with the city, the Downtown Association and the Canteen District to place them

Carlini connected with an expanding downtown art program across the state, called Sculpture Walk Across Nebraska (SWAN). Such works are now displayed in Grand Island, Norfolk, Valentine and Wayne, in addition to North Platte, with plans to expand.

“The goal is to add art that will inspire, entertain and attract visitors,” she said.

Wind Reeds” by afather-son team of Minnesota artists, Jim and Ryan Pedersen,
stands at the main downtown intersection, 5th and Dewey.

City workers installed the pedestals and Wyman Welding fastened the base of the sculptures in place. This set of sculptures will remain for a year, then be replaced with others. Carlini hopes to place an additional sculpture each year.

The Prairie Arts Center is already the home of the first permanent sculpture from Sculpture Walk Across Nebraska — Fire Within by Mike Fluent — which was installed two years ago.

When the PAC purchased Fire Within two years ago, thanks to a grant from Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, they learned about the Sculpture Walk Across Grand Island program, a precursor to the SWAN program.

Carmen Marimba at the Espresso Shop, with cymbals on her skirt. Photos by George Lauby

Carlini said some sculptures are interactive, such as Carmen Marimba, which stands outside the Espresso Shop at 4th and Bailey. It has cymbals that passersby can play. The sculpture was created by Lee Luening and Sherri Treeby of South Dakota. The couple has placed more than 250 public, life-sized sculptures in South Dakota, making them one of that state’s most prolific bronze sculptors.

Artist Casey Marsh of Elkhorn, Neb. brought a small bronze, Bucked, of a cowboy on horseback to Dewey St. on Monday. It is near the front of the River Valley Gun Gallery shop.

Artist Casey Marsh, at left, and Holly Carlini of the Prairie Arts Center

Marsh grew up in Hastings and worked in Sidney for 10 years. His paintings are displayed in the clubhouse of the Dismal River Golf Course, and his portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody hangs in the Prairie Arts Center. He said he channeled the look of a western scene by artist Frederic Remington when he was creating the Bucked sculpture.

Other sculptures depict Sandhill crane, flowers and an abstract replica of reeds curving in the wind at the corner of 5th and Dewey. Carlini is delighted to see them in the downtown Canteen district.  

“We’ve been waiting a long time for them to be placed,” she said.

‘Learning to Fly’ by Vic Rouleau of Holcomb, Wisc., on Sixth St.

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