3a) Jewel of the Heartland- Artist:Shelley Creeger Stoltenberg

Patrons: Mary & Dr. Gregory Heidrick, Bob & Jan Fitzsimmons, Dr. Michael McCoy and Betsy & Dr. Jim Bobenhouse

Inspiration for my Nebraska by Heart design came from the land.  Nebraska is full of fertile farmland that sustains its citizens and people around the world.  The base of the structure is painted in a modern representational style symbolizing the diverse fields and the rich soils of our state.  The heart itself sprouts flowers of many shapes and colors so show the diversity and beauty that our state sustains.  There is a great abundance of color in the Nebraska landscape.  From spring to fall, if you go out into the countryside, you can see a wide variety of native flowers blooming:  pasque flowers, prairie smoke, bellflower, phlox, purple coneflowers, sunflowers, butterfly weed, asters, black-eyed susan, ironweed, goldenrod, and many, many more.

I am a master gardener and teach classes about ornamental gardening and landscape design for joy of it.  I love flower and also enjoy being able to share the beauty of plants with friends, family and neighbors.  Painting the sculpture with flowers is another opportunity for me to share the natural beauty that Nebraska soils so easily support.  Flowers are nature’s jewelry, and that is why I am titling this piece:  Jewel of the Heartland.

Technical notes:

I will be painting my design using acrylic paints.  The heart will be smooth, but I plan to texturize the base to add visual interest and an interactive tactile element for those young ones that are curious and closer to the ground.  They will feel ridges and bumps in the fields, just as they would while exploring nature.