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Capitol tree ornament

This ornament, titled Chief Red Cloud & First People County Recognition, was created by Lincoln artist Michelle Hrbek and is one of 166 ornaments created by Nebraska artists for the state’s holiday tree.

All are invited to an open house Sunday, Dec. 2, from 1-5 p.m. in the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda, showcasing the 166 ornaments created by Nebraska artists for the state’s holiday tree.

Nebraska First Lady Susanne Shore and Roxanne Smith, Nebraska State Capitol Tourism supervisor, recognized a need for new ornaments to decorate the 20-foot tree annually displayed in the Capitol’s Rotunda. As a result, they met with Liz Shea-McCoy, who directed the statewide public art project and extended two separate calls to Nebraska artists to submit proposal ideas for ornaments.

Artists were asked to incorporate concepts related to Nebraska, which could be traditional, contemporary or abstract, utilizing the medium of their choice (paint, collage, sculpture, metal, fiber, mosaic or stained glass). Themes could focus on the state’s diverse natural, cultural and agricultural heritage; Nebraska’s vibrant history; a public place or location with historic or cultural significance; or a depiction of Nebraska today.

The calls to artists resulted in over 300 proposals submitted by artists from across the state. Of the design proposals submitted, 166 were selected to become unique Nebraska-shaped ornaments, measuring 11 ¾ by 5 ½ inches, that will annually grace the Nebraska State Capitol’s holiday tree.

NextEra Energy Resources paid for the ornaments that were manufactured for the project.

The open house is free, and the public is welcome to visit the Capitol’s Rotunda to see each of the ornaments accompanied by the artist’s inspiration statement. Many Nebraska artists who created the ornaments are planning to attend, offering an opportunity to ask them about their technique, challenges, problem-solving and other pertinent questions. Additionally, visitors may admire the newly designed ornaments, up close and personal, before they become a part of the holiday tree.

Questions? Contact Shea-McCoy at or 402-430-5923.


L Magazine editor

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