Native American students present work at KANEKO

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November 9th, 2011

Omaha, NE – An internationally-recognized artist will present the work of Native American students from Omaha at the KANEKO studio Thursday night.

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Therman Statom is an internationally-recognized glass and visual artist born in Florida, who is now based in Omaha. Statom has been leading an art workshop that began over the summer with Native American students from Omaha Public Schools. It’s a partnership with the KANEKO studios and OPS’ Native American Indian Education Department.

Artist Therman Statom leads a workshop for Native American OPS students. (Photo courtesy OPS, July, 2010)

“We decided to target the Native American community simply because, one reason, is that it had certain connotations with everybody, the city of Omaha is named after a tribe,” Statom said, “and the other is that they had the worst numbers in terms of graduation rates and the problems that exist on reservations.”

Statom said Native American culture has often been de-emphasized in schools in the past, and the program aims to change that. The workshop, now in its second year, is intended to provide a creative means for students to express and redefine themselves through visual art and culture. And Statom said it’s had an immediate impact on helping kids see their own potential.

An OPS student enrolled in last summer's workshop shows off her artwork. (Photo courtesy OPS, July, 2010)

“It’s basically that kids get smarter (when) they do some sort of creative venture prior to a more linear kind of a science, they do better in that science,” Statom said. “We’re about results, and the numbers have gotten better, the attitudes have gotten better, even in the Native American community.”

Statom added, “It’s unfortunate that with the financial times, the arts and more creative ventures tend to be pushed to the side.”

Statom will present the students’ work at the KANEKO Thursday night, which includes a wall of dream catchers, blown glass, murals and free-standing sculptures. He’ll also discuss the workshop, entitled Modern Traditions: Seeing With New Eyes, during an open forum discussion with students and OPS representatives, which gets underway 7pm, Nov. 10 at the KANEKO in Omaha’s Old Market.

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