The Nebraska Sandhills are on center stage at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center with an exhibit titled “The Sand in Our Art.” Artwork by Trudy Denham, assistant professor at Chadron State College, and former Chadron resident Linda Teahon will be on display through Oct. 25.
The show is free and open to the public. The Sandoz Center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon. The public is invited to meet both artists at a reception Saturday, Sept. 28 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 308-432-6401.
Denham created two large pieces of floor art she calls dirt rugs. To create them, she applied top soil to a base layer of sand in a manner that creates the illusion of an ornamental rug. Denham said the instability of the sand design reflects the fragility of life. Two smaller dirt rugs and textile books made with yucca plants and other organic materials are also in the exhibit.
Denham’s art has been shown throughout the U.S., Ireland, and Scotland. Denham was one of the 15 emerging artists to receive the 2011 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award sponsored by the International Sculpture Center. Denham won Best of Show at the 2011 Innovations in Textiles symposium at the Art Saint Louis Fiber Focus exhibition. Her work has been published in “Sculpture” in 2011 and “Showcase 500 Paper Objects” in 2013.
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Denham teaches courses in art education, sculpture, ceramics, and fiber art. Before joining the faculty, Denham lived in Missouri where she earned a master’s degree in art education and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Missouri.
Teahon’s photography reflects the ranching lifestyle of the Sandhills. She has been a professional photographer for four years covering events such as the Miss America Pageant, Miss Rodeo America Pageant, Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and the Kentucky Derby.
She lives in Dunning, where her family operates Brando’s Bunkhouse. She is involved with The Sandhills Heritage Museum, in its third year of operation. It showcases the Hereford Crossroads exhibit by the Nebraskans for Hereford Heritage. She is also a director of the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byways and the Heart City Bull Bash of Valentine.
While in Chadron, Teahon served as a director of Fur Trade Days in the late 1980s and was co-founder and co-director of the Miss Chadron/Miss Northwest Scholarship Pageant.