Artists, Ensembles Added to Touring and Education Rosters

The Nebraska Arts Council is pleased to announce that 13 artists and ensembles have been added to the agency’s artist roster, a list of artists who are available for hire with the assistance of NAC grant funding. Artist applications were reviewed and selected by a panel of experts, with support from NAC staff, and ratified by the NAC Board of Directors at its spring quarterly meeting on March 7.

Accepted artists are added to either the Nebraska Touring Program roster, which promotes performing artists who wish to tour throughout the state, or the Artists in Schools/Communities roster, which promotes teaching artists who are available to lead educational residencies.

Newly accepted artists include:

Nebraska Touring Program (NTP)
Evan Bartels, Lincoln, Music
Evan Bartels is a singer, songwriter and storyteller. Hailing from Southeast Nebraska, Bartels creates honest, hard hitting, Americana Rock that stays true to the sounds of American folk and country music. Evan has toured the Midwest and opened for notable acts at various festivals for the past seven years.

Circle Theatre, Omaha, Theatre
Circle Theatre will be touring the play My Broken Doll: The true childhood story of Nebraska Holocaust survivor Bea Karp. The play, designed for grades 6-12, shows post-war life in London and New York, flashing back to train rides and camps in Germany and France. Each performance of the play will include a talk back session with actors and educators to unpack the important lessons of the story.

Joshua Crum, Omaha, Music
With uplifting lyricism and passionate energy Joshua Crum, along with his hip-hop band ALTR, deliver performances with influences of rock, funk and soul. Joshua has been on three national tours since 2008, including Mr. Del’s Revolt Tour in June 2016.

Jens Lehman and the Time Cops, Lincoln, Music
Jens Lehman and the Time Cops is a six-piece band performing original rock and soul songs and selected covers in a similar style. The group has performed extensively in Lincoln and Omaha and will take part in the Nebraska Funk and Soul Alliance in December.

Kellison Quartet, Lincoln, Music
The Kellison Quartet is a fusion band from the Lincoln/Omaha area specializing in jazz, funk, rock, gospel and blues. The group’s high energy performances and style of music work in a variety of venues given their adaptability and expertise.

Luigi, Inc., Omaha, Music
Luigi, Inc. performs a wide variety of jazz music including originals, popular tunes and standards. The group has performed weekly for the past several years and at events such as Omaha’s Summer Arts Festival, Toast of Market festival and Art Splash in Sioux City.

The String Beans, Omaha, Music
With a hilarious stage show and hundreds of catchy, original songs for kids, The String Beans have been a favorite choice for family-friendly entertainment in Nebraska since 2004. The band typically schedules 65-125 appearances each year and recently completed a tour of the southeast United States with performances in Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida.

Trans-Nebraska Players, Kearney, Music
The Trans-Nebraska Players offer chamber music recitals, educational outreach and musical entertainment. The primary styles of music performed by the group include Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary Art Music. Founded in 2008, the group has traveled extensively throughout Nebraska and has plans to perform at the Black Hills Chamber Music Society in Rapid City, South Dakota, this spring.

Artists in Schools/Communities (AiS/C)
Sarah Carlson-Brown, Omaha, Theatre
Sarah is a theatre artist who will introduce students to the interpretation of Shakespeare's plays, uncovering how the plays and characters remain relevant and exciting in our modern society. Students will actively engage with Shakespeare's language and plots, while learning to bring their own unique voice and experience to the text.

Marya Lucca-Thyberg, Bellevue, Theatre
Marya Lucca-Thyberg thrives on creating theatre in any environment. As a certified theatre teacher, freelance director and designer, and teaching artist, she has worked with all ages in elementary and secondary schools, community theatre and professional settings.

Jens Rasmussen, Omaha, Theatre
Jens is an award winning actor and theatre maker with more than 20 years of professional experience from the Kennedy Center to stages in New York City and across the country. As an instructor he is sought after for his curriculum in movement, voice, stage combat and acting. His work grounds students in by exploration of Life Skills through Stage Skills.

Jordan Thornton, Sioux Falls, SD, Visual Arts
Jordan’s residencies include workshops that cover relief printmaking, bookmaking and alternative printmaking and paper-art techniques. His presentations and lectures will cover the history of printmaking, different printmaking techniques and the world of printmaking today.

Bart Vargas, Council Bluffs, IA, Visual Arts
Bart Vargas will introduce students to building sculptures with recyclable materials. Workshops will utilize simple, everyday materials to construct individual or collaborative sculptures or site-specific installations. Students will learn about the creative potential of common, everyday materials often taken for granted. Bart has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his work can be found in many collections throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Schools, organizations or communities interested in hiring any of the artists listed above may do so by applying for either an NTP or AiS/C grant beginning May 1, 2017 (applications must be submitted for projects taking place on or after July 1). For additional information on the NTP program, contact Rachel Morgan at 402-595-2142. For information the AiS/C program, contact Anne Alston at 402-595-2196. Information on all NAC grants can be found at