Normally, a life-sized bronze sculpture inside a building in downtown Grand Island would have no trouble attracting a significant amount of attention. But on Friday, a large bronze sculpture by Nebraska artist Sondra Jonson will be only one of several unusual and beautiful pieces on display at Prairie Winds Art Center.
The group will be holding the show "A Touch of Elegance," a show that will feature the work of Jonson; Gretchen Olberding, a jewelry artist; Donna Ryan, who will present furniture and canvas paintings; famed portrait painter Ardith Starostka and Nate Steinbrink, who works in blown glass.
The event will run throughout the month of September at the art center.
Jonson, who was born in Philadelphia, works largely on commission and creates many life-sized bronze sculptures. For the show, however, she will be bringing one life-sized and a number of smaller pieces to better illustrate the work she does.
"I do a lot of life-sized pieces, but you can't keep a lot of those around, much less transport them," Jonson said. "So the work will be a little different but you have to be able to work small as well as big."
Jonson also said she would be bringing sculptures made out of other materials that are slightly cheaper to manufacture, to demonstrate the diversity of her work.
Among the work Jonson has done on commission include a piece called "Breaking News," for the 50th anniversary of KRVN in Lexington that depicts a family listening to the radio, and a memorial to Michelle Brekke that stands in Las Vegas.
Jonson said sculpting on a smaller scale is often as time consuming as sculpting on a larger scale. Either way, the process is a complicated one and a subject she looks forward to discussing at the event on Friday.
"It takes about nine months because there are so many processes involved," she said. "So few people realize how a sculpture is made. Until I was in college, I didn't even know, so it's nice to talk to people who are interested and watch their face when I tell them how much time it takes."
Donna Ryan, who helped organize the event, said the variety was a large part of what they were shooting for by combining the five artists. Also, in exposing the public to a number of different artistic ideas, such as glass blowing or painted furniture, the variety will continue to thrive.
And, Jonson said, the diversity might very well translate to a lighter pocket book for her.
"I think it's an ideal show because there's so much to it," she said. "It's going to be hard for me not to buy something."
"A Touch of Elegance," will run throughout the month of September at Prairie Winds Art Center. An artists reception will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today at the center, located at 112 W. Third St.; there is no admission charge. For more information, call 381-4001
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