BEATRICE -- It may be months before Memorial Stadium opens its gates for a new football season, but the vibrant red and detailed gray of Nebraska artwork done by a local artist evokes passion and excitement for gameday.
Despite being a Doane University graduate, Ashley Spitsnogle is a passionate Husker fan, which is shown in several of her art pieces.
Two of her most well-known pieces depict Brook Berringer, a football player who died in a plane crash in 1996. One shows Berringer listening fixedly as Tom Osborne coaches him on the field.
Husker red is the only color used in the piece.
“I put it on Facebook, and people really responded,” Spitsnogle said. “Jan Berringer and Drue (Brook’s mother and sister) both reached out and messaged me and said how much they thought it looked like Brook.”
The original artwork was auctioned off for $7,500 at the Cattlemen's Ball of Nebraska, but the first print was given to Jan Berringer.
Spitsnogle has done several live paintings to be auctioned off at events, some of which have been Husker related.
She created the "Last Tunnel Walk" at the Heartfelt Hearts and Souls Gala, and helped raise $9,000 to benefit families who have lost children.
The piece shows Berringer with his hand on the shoulder of Sam Foltz, a Nebraska football player who died in a car crash in 2016. Berringer is guiding Foltz through the stadium tunnel into a bright light, the words “I play for Nebraska” above them.
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Spitsnogle said two prints of "Last Tunnel Walk" are on display in Memorial Stadium.
“After that, I painted the Scott Frost one, and it made the cover of the Husker Sports Network Fall Sports Guide, which was pretty cool,” Spitsnogle said.
The Beatrice Chamber of Commerce recently displayed some of Spitsnogle’s pieces during the week of Homestead Days.
Aside from her Husker work, Spitsnogle has several pieces of Nebraska landscapes and farming. She is also the art director for “Josh the Baby Otter,” a program focused on children’s swim safety.
The Big Red Wrap-Up with NET is doing a special on her Husker art in August, she said.
“I’m going to be doing a John Cook painting here pretty soon for volleyball, and then an aerial view of Memorial Stadium at dusk with Lincoln in the background,” Spitsnogle said.
Spitsnogle said it’s been “pretty cool” to have people purchasing her pieces for their Nebraska-themed rooms.
“I am very honored to be able to create special memories for Husker Nation through my artwork,” she said on her website.
Some of her work is at the Main Street Studios and Gallery in Elkhorn, and more information about her work and upcoming events can be found at ashleyspitsnogle.com.