CAMBIRDGE (SNR) - Last month, Catholic artist Sondra Jonson of Cambridge, Nebraska, earned a national award for her sculpture, "A Mother's Love."
The award was presented to Jonson by American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) at their national convention April 23-24 in Lincoln.
"'A Mother's Love' is about a sacred bond that never ends," the artist explained after she returned home, where several more sculpture projects are in the works. "Once a mom we are moms for all eternity."
Depicting Mary cradling the infant Jesus close to her heart, "A Mother's Love" is an abbreviated version of the "Choose Life" sculpture that Jonson created for installation at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln two years ago. It includes only the top half or so of the original, and it's proportionally smaller.
"For me this opportunity was great because in a lot of the competitions I normally enter, this kind of theme is pooh-poohed - it's not 'cool' enough for modern sculpture," acknowledged Jonson, who is a member of Saint John the Baptist Parish in Cambridge.
"Mothers are always going to be about family," she continued. "In the average art competition, they just don't want to be that sentimental."
Since joining the Nebraska chapter of AMI around five years ago, Jonson has been encouraged by teh non-profit organization's recognition of the arts.
"They always give me a format that lets me enter something so close to my heart," she said.
AMI gives out a number of awards to mothers who excel in fine and performing arts. In the art competition, first-place prizes of $400 each are handed out in oil/acrylic painting, watercolors, pastels, mixed media, photography and computer graphics, in addition to sculpture.
There are competitions in music performance (vocals, instrumental) and literature poetry, short fiction and essay) as well. In fact, Jonson won the national essay contest last year with "Midnight Fields," a piece she wrote about raising her three boys in rural Nebraska. Her popular "Rachel Weeping for Her Children" - another pro-life sculpture - also won first prize in the competition a few years ago.
To enter the competition, AMI members first submit on a state level in January. State winners advance to the national event, which are juried by professionals. This year's convention was in Lincoln, so Jonson was able to attend the festivities, which included awards presentations, workshops, and the selection of the Mother of the Year and Young Mother of the Year honorees.
"It was the first time I got to do something with the mothers," Jonson said, noting that her remote location in Cambridge is a factor in her limited participation. "It was wonderful, sitting with women from Oregon and Texas, Catholic women,
Protestant women... These women are just so involved in making things better for kids and families."
She believes that AMI is accomplishing a lot of good.
"It stands for family values, and they really promote that," she said. "By recognizing mothers, mothers that achieve great things, they really give us a lot of support. It's rare to be supported and encouraged just for being a mom."
Her hope is that more Catholic women in Nebraska will get involved with AMI.
"As Catholic women, we should be wanting to encourage motherhood," she reasoned. "American Mothers does a lot of great work for families, aside from giving us artists a venue."
The "official sponsor of Mother's Day," AMI is an interfaith, non-political, non-profit organization with the purpose of "strengthening the moral and spiritual foundations of the family and the home... At a time when the return of family values has become a national priority, American Mothers, Inc. responds with educational, cultural, and spiritual programs for mothers of all ages.
For more information about AMI, visit their website at www.americanmothers.org. Nebraska's state AMI president, Betty Jean Kolterman can be contacted regarding membership information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the works of Sondra Jonson, visit www.sljonsonstudios.com.
Southern Nebraska REGISTER
By S.L. Hansen
— May 23, 2008
"'A Mother's Love' is about a sacred bond that never ever ends.
"Once a mom, we are moms for all eternity."
-Artist Sondra Jonson of St. John the Baptist Parish in Cambridge
AWARD - "A Mother's Love," a sculpture by Catholic artist Sondra Jonson of Cambridge, earned a national
award from American Mothers, Inc. (AMI) at their national convention April 23-24 in Lincoln.
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