Wilson Memorial Lecture Series brings professionals to UNO


Will Patterson

The Wilson Memorial Lecture Series is continuing its long tradition of bringing artists from near and far to speak at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Speakers hold their lectures in the UNO Art Gallery located in the Weber Fine Arts Building, unless otherwise noted.

“The Wilson Lecture Series is our primary venue for bringing visual arts professionals to the UNO community,” said Adrian Duran, an art professor at UNO.

Like many art professors at UNO, he offers extra credit to students who make time to see one of the lectures on campus. Duran encourages students and faculty alike to attend as many lectures as possible.

The series is free for anyone to attend— emphasizing the importance of making professional insight accessible to the UNO community.

Nick Newman, a professor of art history at UNO, has been running the series since 2012 when the previous organizer stepped down. Since then, he has been working to bring in a steady flow of new speakers to the university.

“It’s a lot of work,” Newman said. “For a lot of the faculty this wasn’t something they wanted to take when they already had a pretty full platter.”

Since taking on the responsibility of directing the series, Newman has been trying to build a diverse group of speakers each semester. His goal has been to have artists from a wide variety of mediums be a part of the series.

The series reaches to all corners of the local art community and beyond—capitalizing on artists that may be in town as a part of residency programs. Some of these include the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and the Kimmel Harding Nelson for the Arts.

“I always look forward to the people from the Bemis Center,” Newman said. “Because they are people who are putting things together that you couldn’t imagine.”

The next speakers in the series are Gaelyn and Gustavo Agui-lar who will be speaking in the Community Engagement Center room 201/205 at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Both are artists in residence this fall at the Bemis Center for the Arts and will be working on a project about the concept of Columbia.

Typically, at least one speaker slot is given to a new faculty member to discuss their past and current art projects. Newman said that this helps students have a better understanding of their professors and helps introduce new artists to the community.

Toward the end of the semester, guests can expect to see lectures by graduating art students. These presentations give students a chance to display their art publicly and give a presentation.

The full list of speakers for the semester is available on UNO’s website and the Friends of the Arts website.