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Local artist Lois Smith is teaching watercolor classes for adults and high schoolers starting next month.

Julie Blum, The Columbus Telegram

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. With only a few days left in 2017, we are looking ahead to the new year, 2018. We are all so busy with family events this time of year that sometimes the New Year's celebrations are overlooked. I hope you will take the time to reflect on your year and the year ahead.

As executive director here at the Columbus Arts Council, I often find myself wanting to learn more about Nebraska artists. Top on my list of things in 2018 is to visit more art galleries, work on painting more in my spare time and getting out and enjoying the nature that is all around us. Seems like a reasonable list for the year when it comes to art.

Just around the corner is the annual 2018 Ernestine Quick Memorial Exhibit that will take place Jan. 9 through Feb. 3. There is still plenty of time to turn in a piece of art for the show. The entry fee is $20 for the first piece and $10 for each additional piece. Our reception is Jan. 13 from 1-3 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. It’s all free!

Jan. 8 is the start of children’s art lessons for third- and fourth-grade students. This is the start of Youth Art Mondays with classes from 4-5 p.m. at the art gallery. Cost is $16 per student for the month of January and includes four art lessons. If you have not registered, just stop by and all will be welcome on Jan. 8.

In January, we are partnering with Sip Espresso Bar for the Faith-N-Art Exhibit. We have visited many of the area churches and everyone should have received a packet in the mail with information. This is a chance for churches to get involved and encourage artists from your congregation to participate in an art exhibit. I think art is one of the most overlooked gifts in the local church, but that is something we want to help you with.

The Faith-N-Art Exhibit will be displayed at Sip Espresso Bar, 1354 27th Ave., in downtown Columbus. The exhibit will run from Jan. 15 through Feb. 28 and the entry fee is just $5 per piece. Pick up an entry form at the art gallery or go online. The reception is planned for 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 27. Please drop off art at the art gallery.

There will be art lessons for high school students and adults titled “Moving Out of my Box.” This will be three consecutive classes held Mondays from 6:30-8:30 p.m., teaching the basics of watercolor. Classes are Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12. Lois Smith will be teaching and she has won many awards across the state of Nebraska for her fantastic watercolors. The cost is only $40 plus supplies. Please register by 5 p.m. Jan. 26.

We are really excited to begin another great year at the art gallery of amazing exhibits, plays and classes to enrich the community of Columbus and the surrounding area. We invite you to get involved this year and try something new at the Columbus Art Gallery. Happy new year everyone!

Rod Magg is executive director of the Columbus Area Arts Council.

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