Spotlight Member Section featuring Jo Anne Nielsen

Jo Anne Nielsen IMG 5611

Tell us about you.

I was born in Hastings, NE and was in the same nursery as Dr. Jack Stark who is a Nebraska Board of Regents Candidate! I have lived in the Omaha area since I was 6 years old. Most of my schooling was at Franklin Elementary and then Jr. and Sr. High at Tech High School, (now the TAC Building). I have 2 children, Steve 55 and Lori made it to 50 (deceased 2019) and I have 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons.

Tell us about your history with Omaha Artists, Inc.

I have been in Omaha Artists, Inc. since 1992. In 1994 right after my 3rd grandchild died of SIDS, Helen Patane asked me if I would like to be on the Hostess Committee, my response was an immediate yes! Judy Webster, Binck Utterback and I worked on this committee until 1997. Then I was on Membership for only a year because then I became the President for 2 terms. In 2000, I went back to being on the Membership Committee (I loved it). I didn’t think I was doing enough for the club so in 2001, I went on the ANAC Committee with Dick Brown. Once again in 2002, I didn’t think I was doing enough to keep out of trouble, so along with everything else, I took on the newsletter. In 2011, I became the Treasurer and I am still doing it! I have also assisted with the Art Shows and as Vice President published the roster (matter of fact several times). Someone asked why I have worked on so many committees. While never having won an art show award, I love this organization and want it to succeed and make it a great experience for others.

How did you get involved in art?

Funny story, after being so busy with my daughter’s wedding plans in 1990, I suddenly wondered what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I started a watercolor class with Opal Parmenter and did not have a clue what I was doing, but stuck with it. Watercolor is still my favorite medium.

What other organizations do you belong?

Presently, I belong to 2 book clubs. I am an Elder at my church and in charge of the Fellowship Committee. Back in 1995, my daughter Lori and I turned a negative into a positive by working with the Nebraska SIDS Foundation: we published a cookbook – three cookbooks to be exact! I have been a member of ANAC (Association of Nebraska Art Clubs) for 21 years, was the Newsletter Chair for 12 years and presently the ANAC Registrar!

What is a little-known fact about you?

I am a Beauty School Drop-Out. I got pregnant while in beauty school and could not handle the smells of hair color and permanent solution! I have been so busy in my life, a paying position was not an option. I guess I would rather do without and do for others instead.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My absolute favorite is watching television (reality, drama, movies, sitcoms, documentaries, just about everything). I also like to read, put puzzles together and time spent with friends. After 96 hours of watching Homeland, perhaps this was not the right time to ask this question, because I obviously have Covid-Brain! LOL!

What are your travel experiences?

I was very fortunate, while married, my ex and I loved to travel. There are only 4 states that I have not visited – West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Washington DC. We camped in much of the United States. I have traveled to 9 different countries in Europe and have taken 4 cruises.

How do you stay motivated to paint?

This is a difficult question to answer! I love to paint but I have to be in the MOOD and I do have good intentions, then something else comes up! I love workshops. Katie Johnson and I went to David Smith’s watercolor workshop in Sioux Falls, SD just before the Coronavirus began. Also the Omaha Artists Inc. members motivate me... I simply LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them.

What are you known for?

I guess, my RED HAIR and WALKER. And I am the only member that can speak REALLY LOUD to get people’s attention!

What skills would you like to learn?

I would like to attend an acrylic workshop. I have painted with acrylics, but have never been properly trained.

Has anything or anyone changed your life?

Yes, life’s experiences are valuable lessons. I have worked very hard to make my life what it is today.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

I hate it but, use it often – “It is, what it is”!