CHADRON – “Dabbling in the Arts,” a show featuring the work of Linda Dabbs, an adjunct faculty member at Chadron State College, opened in the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center in late September and will be open through Nov. 25. The showcase includes Dabbs’ work from art-related careers spanning four decades.
“My art has evolved, partly because I never said ‘no.’ When I was asked to do something new or different I had never done before, I always found a way to do it,” Dabbs said.
Hours of the exhibit are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to noon, and Saturday 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Opportunities for people to watch Dabbs create her art will be Oct. 27 and Nov. 19 from 10 to noon and 1-4 p.m. in the Sandoz Center.
“We think these Artist-in-Residence times will be fabulous. People can actually talk to Linda and see how she does some of her artwork. We've done that in the past and it's been well accepted and popular,” said Holly Counts with the Sandoz Center.
Although her Artist-in-Residence days will include watercolor and acrylic demonstrations, Dabbs also has a passion for pottery and theatre backdrops. She enjoys teaching students techniques for set painting the backdrops for both Fall 2020 CSC Theatre productions.
A three-dimensional collage, “Embraced,” at the entrance to the show exhibits Dabbs’ interest in multimedia and pottery. It is composed of found wood and metal pieces accented by stoneware pottery sunflowers Dabbs fired in a kiln in Malvern, Iowa.
Dabbs, who came to northwest Nebraska because of its landscapes, also enjoys painting wildlife such as elk, antelope, and bison. She finds satisfaction in placing the animals in northwest Nebraska settings.
“I drove around the Fort Robinson area taking all kinds of reference photos of hills and gullies, anything I could find that looked like good elk habitat,” she said. “I loved the landscape when I came here and now I want to stay. I think my interest in wildlife and other animals comes from my zoo days.”
Dabbs was a vet tech at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha starting in 1971 and in the late 70s was asked to establish and direct the zoo’s art department. She also planned the children’s summer arts program. In addition to painting backdrops, she designed maps and other publications.
While raising her children in the 1980s, Dabbs said she worked with Imperial Outdoor Advertising, Misner Advertising Agency, Action Printing, and Kelly S. King Faux Finish School, as well as doing freelance work for the City of Omaha, Northwestern Bell Telephone Yellow Pages, and others.
Additionally, she has been a scenic artist for the University of Nebraska Lincoln Opera, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Kountz Memorial Theater at Mahoney State Park, Opera Omaha, the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson State Park, and Chadron State College theatre productions. In 2007, Dabb’s work on “The Most Happy Fella” at the University of Nebraska Lincoln Opera won the International Trophy for Best Set at the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera in Waterford, Ireland.
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