Nicole Moffett Shulde is the poster child for artist support programming of the Lincoln Arts Council (LAC), and for what can grow out of the opportunities made possible by those who invest in their arts community.
In 2013, Shulde entered a piece in the National Arts Program, hosted for Lincoln by the LAC. This nationally funded visual arts program is open to employees and family members of the City of Lincoln, Lancaster County and Lincoln Public Schools. The art is judged, cash prizes are awarded and the entries are displayed professionally in a public venue. Nicole was then working in the city attorney’s office. The first year, she was encouraged when she received an honorable mention. She entered again in 2014 and won first place.
“Winning first place in the NAP competition created a new confidence within me, a feeling of, ‘Wow, they really like my work.’ It has given me validation, a feeling that I can and will continue to create,” Shulde wrote in her artist review. “The award also came with $300, which seemed to me to be an almost divine blessing, since I really needed to purchase a vendor canopy ($200 to $300) for upcoming summer art shows. This purchase didn’t fit into my budget, and with the award money, it became a reality.”
Shulde then submitted a winning proposal for a mixed media piece repurposing barn wood, painted ceramic tile and found objects for the LAC’s Community Supported Art program and was selected as a CSArtist in 2015. She joined with eight other Lincoln artists, each creating an original piece to fill the CSArt shares. She was surprised and delighted to find herself in such good company.
Then, in mid-2016, she took the plunge, left her “day job” and now pursues her art full time. She will be an artist/vendor for the first time at the 16th Lincoln Arts Festival at SouthPointe Pavilions, Sept. 24-25, which brings her full circle with the Lincoln Arts Council.
“I am nearly 50 and have been doing art all of my life,” Shulde said. “My father, Nick Moffett, is a sculptor and my sister, Megan Moffett Altshuld, works in oils, watercolor and ink, so I have been in the midst of it from my earliest memories. About seven years ago, I decided that I was going to dedicate more time to my art and start to show it. But I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today without taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Lincoln Arts Council.”
It takes talent, perseverance, hard work and personal investment to make any dream come true. Since the LAC’s work is primarily behind the scenes providing support services, we don’t always have the pleasure of seeing so much of an artist’s trajectory as we have with Nicole. Of course, having a bubbly personality like hers does doesn’t hurt, either. She is quick to credit her LAC connections with continuing opportunities, citing the recent call to artists for the “Hearts Across Nebraska” public art project for 2017. She is submitting three proposals. Keep up the great work, Nicole!
You can find work from all three Moffetts at the Noyes Art Gallery at 119 S. Ninth St. The LAC is Lincoln’s official arts agency with the motto “championing the arts, connecting people, changing lives.” Learn more at artscene.org.