If you peek your head into Anne Burkholder’s studio, you’ll most likely see her hunched over her latest rural Nebraska landscape.
Inspiration for her paintings is derived from her childhood spent in the Sandhills, as well as frequent trips to remote locations across the great plains.
When I’m painting the skies, I’m just basically in that space. You know, if I’m painting a landscape I’m standing there in that field of grass or on that hill looking across the valley – it’s a really peaceful feeling for me,” Burkholder said.
But if you’re starting to get the idea that Ms. Burkholder is a soft-spoken wallflower then you’ve got it all wrong.
Anne’s life is marked by international backpacking trips, whimsical folk art and efforts to cultivate a thriving art culture in Lincoln.
In 1987 Anne sold nearly everything she owned to buy a run-down building in the Haymarket.
“It was really important for me that there be a community of artists, because as I was talking to other artists they needed to also get out of their kitchens and attics and garages, and have a space where they could do their art,” she said.
At the time, this area was dingy – to put it mildly – but Anne was determined to establish a space where artists from every background could work and display their art.
She was one of the major players in establishing Lincoln’s First Friday art walks in 1988 after visiting similar events in Minneapolis and Kansas City.
After almost 40 years, Anne still mingles among the guests that filter in and out of her gallery every First Friday. She smiles and nods at old friends, artists and patrons as she sits back and watches her once dreamed-up gallery come to life.
“Oh I have no plans to stop. Why would somebody retire if you’re doing exactly what you want to do?
You should still being doing it,” she said. “A nd making art, what a wonderful existence.”
Anne Burkholder is a lady with grit and a really good story, and it’s not over yet.