Homestead to host art lessons in memory volunteer

September 25, 2018

Homestead National Monument is hosting two art classes in honor of a volunteer who died in 2016.

Jerry Davison was a longtime volunteer at Homestead who enjoyed the park’s work. Prior to his passing, Davison expressed his wishes to have an educational art session for students in Beatrice and surrounding areas.

“He called me a couple days before he died to make sure I knew what his vision was and how he would like youth to have an experience where they can build on skills to become fairly proficient at something,” said park ranger Susan Cook.

Funds from Davison’s memorial will help pay for the instructors as well as art supplies for the students. Cook said that students will be able to keep the supplies to further their exploration with art.

The classes include a drawing session Sept. 28-29 and a painting session Oct. 19-20. Retired art teacher Nelson Dungan will be instructing the classes. Depending on class size he may enlist help from other instructors. Fifth- to eighth-grade students will be able to attend the sessions in the morning, while afternoon sessions will be reserved for high schoolers. Students can choose to attend one or both of the sessions.

Dungan hopes that students will partake in both the drawing and painting sessions because he believes drawing is a foundation to painting. The students are also encouraged to attend both days of each session, but it is not required.

“This first session we’re going to be doing a lot of sketches of the subjects, and I’m hoping on Saturday we can do some polished finished drawings - more detail to their work,” Dungan said.

Weather permitting students will do their work at the Prairie Plaza. They will allow the children to spread out in a limited area so Dungan can get around to help the students. Davison’s memorial funds were used last year with an art project during the solar eclipse, but Homestead Superintendent Mark Engler said that this is more what Davison would have wanted.

“His memorial fund was involved somewhat with the eclipse last year,” Engler said. “We wanted to do something again this year and this is the project we’re doing this year for it, and I would say what we’re doing this year is probably closer in line with what he talked to us about.”

Engler said that the first session is about half full and they have allowed for 60 students per session. If interested, anyone can call Homestead to sign up for the free lessons. Younger children will be in the sessions from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and high school students are welcomed from noon to 4 p.m.

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