Commemorative exhibit of, tornadoes

Yesterday I briefly shared an idea with the local arts and humanities council, Moonshell, at their monthly meeting. I didn’t have much time (and wasn’t too coherent still recovering from a weekend cold), but the chair had already conveyed most of my thoughts after our phone conversation of three weeks ago.

Even though I wasn’t asking for anything specific yesterday, there seems to be interest from a number of people on the council in the idea of an arts festival to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Night of the Twisters. My hope is for an exhibit of the plastic arts that focuses on severe prairie weather and the community building that follows devastating storms such as the one in Grand Island, Nebraska on 3 June 1980. Ideally, the entire community would be involved in some way and film, drama and music would also be involved. Maybe we could even get the Dominator to stop by if it’s a slow chase day and involve the National Weather Service out of Hastings.

In all likelihood I won’t be able to move much on the idea until January, but I’m glad the ball is rolling in the right direction.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

2 Responses to Commemorative exhibit of, tornadoes

  1. Sarah Jane says:

    I like this idea a lot! It seems like an invitation to celebrate the stories and memories of folks who remember that night, to focus attention on the environment and weather of the prairie, to celebrate neighborliness and community… lots of important and oft-overlooked goodness. I’m excited to hear how this starts to take shape.

  2. Jon Presco says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Nielson. Here is my responce,


    Creative Hostels for American Vagabonds

    This morning I noticed I got a comment from someone who read my blog. I believe it is the gentleman who lives in an apartment in Grand Island Nebraska. He posted the two top photos on his blog, and suggests the establishment of cultural communes for Christian Artists. I need not go into any detail why I think this would be a bad idea, as one just need read the bulk of my posts. However, his ideas are not without merit – and he solicits my ideas!

    theaestheticelevator said… So you found my blog, and here I am finding yours. Any more details on your ideas for art in Grand Island (where I’m also living right now)?

    Posted by pcNielsen in Art, Art and Missions, Art and faith. Tags: Christian art centertrackback I mentioned last week how I mulled over my idea for a faith-based art center while traveling through Missouri and Illinois over the holidays. This idea comes back to me with regularity when I’m on the road, when I have more time to think than in other circumstances (and probably on account of the surrounding land’s inspiration).

    The trouble with any Christian commune is, it will be exclusive. Even hippie communes were exclusive. I used to live in a commune below Mel Lyman’s commune in Roxbury. I was menaced by one of Mel’s bodyguard while walking on Fort Hill monument park. My kin, Jessie Benton, bankrolled this commune with the artistic legacy of her famous father, Thomas H. Benton, left her. Jessie married God. Mel believed he was a Avatar. Those who did not truly believe Mel was God, and lived in God’s Commune, were soon discovered and removed by the God Squad.

    Once a week my commune would co-mingle with God’s Folks when we took part in ‘The Food Conspiracy. We bought food wholesale. Also, hippies that lived on farm communes outside of Boston could exchange residences with city hippies for a couple of weeks or so as to not be deprived of city life. Here was a cultural exchange idea that needs new life!

    This idea may be applicable to the ideas that I am mulling over. I have been considering a new kind of trailer park that caters to the Gypsy Vagabond that is in ALL Americans. The motor coach industry in Oregon is going down due to the high price of gasoline. What if you founded Creative Communes, that not only grew food, but grew corn for ethanol? Picture a Hostel in the barn above surrounded by motor homes – and fields of corn! There will be solar panels on the barn roof providing free energy to those home motorists who contribute to the Grand Creative Commune.

    Here is Grand Circle Travel that would be ideal. The Baby Boomers who hit the Bohemian Road in the 60s may be looking for a way to return to the true American Utopia that is forever on the move. Rena Christiansen subscribed to “Go West young man!” Seniors can hit the road with a renewed all inclusive purpose. Not only can our collective efforts help free of the need for foreign oil, but the Grand Circle Communes could be Creative Colleges on wheels! Artists from all over the world may be rolling into a small town near you, to teach you how to make things worth owning, or how to write a folk song. Young folks who want to learn a craft, can do so just by lending a hand in the Grand Endeavor that made America Great.

    Those who don’t own a motor home, or a car, can go online and put their thumb out on the Grand Ride Board.

    We have heard enough about what divides us, and it is hight time we heard about what unites us! We are all on the same Grand Ark! Where we are going, is up to us!

    Below is a letter Royal Rosamond wrote his good friend, Otto Rayburn. Royal talks about Homer Croy who promoted Will Rogers. In another letter Otto asks my grandfather if he knows of California Poets that would be interested in joining a Poets Retreat in the Ozark mountains. These men were part of the Back to Earth Movement that promoted the return to Arcadian ideals.

    Jon Presco
    Grand Circle Travel

    Grand Circle’s Discovery Series focuses on cultural enrichment and lifelong learning. Events include visits to the homes of local families with homemade meals, lectures and special tours by local experts and classes on local language, arts and crafts and cooking. On one trip to Italy, travelers visit a family at a villa and sample wine from their vineyard. An Eastern Europe tour features a lecture on The Czech Republic’s economic challenges by a professor at the Prague Institute of Economics, polka lessons, a gypsy music and dance performance, and home-hosted dinner with a Polish family.

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