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The West Nebraska Arts Center, with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, is pleased to present a solo exhibit in our Bronson Gallery, Gene Roncka. Gene Roncka art exhibit is comprised of framed giclée and lithograph prints, an original work of art in oil plus brass ornaments. He depicts art in various subjects, landscapes and Nebraska Homesteads. The exhibit opens Thursday, August 31th with an opening reception and book signing by co-authors Jody L. Lamp and Melody Dobson. A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living, features the cover art and illustrations by nationally renowned Nebraska artist, Gene Roncka, on Thursday, September 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Gallery exhibits and receptions are always free and open to everyone.  The show will run through Sunday, September 24, 2017.

about the exhibit

Roncka’s distinct style of subtle, soft-muted colors and an ethereal quality transports his admirers into his richly painted canvases. He describes his work as “capturing a moment in time that all of us have experienced, either in fact or fiction.”  “The Gene Roncka Signature Series” includes ornament designs from the Homestead National Monument of America that were displayed on the White House Christmas tree in December 2007; the painted mural at the Homestead National Monument’s Education Center in Beatrice; the Nebraska Easter Seal Society, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Husker program; NASA for Nebraska Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson; and other fundraising organizations.

Check out this video of Gene and Mary Roncka from Ashland, NE at Willow Point Gallery


Gene Roncka

Roncka was introduced to art early by his father who was a graphic printer. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and majored in art. He spent five years furthering his art education at the Art Center in Los Angeles, graduating with honors. He traveled east to New York and joined the prestigious group New York Artist League, dedicated to developing art projects for leading corporations.

Roncka completed his post-graduate education at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, which led him to creating design and paint ideas for Chrysler Corporation and General Motors.  His awards include the Distinctive Merit Award for Time Magazine and the General Motors Outstanding Award for a Sequence of Paintings. Roncka later returned to his native Nebraska to paint portraits for ConAgra and animal paintings that have appeared in publications and documentaries, including Wild Kingdom. Other awards include winning the Nebraska First of State Habitat Stamp competition, Artist of the Year for Nebraska Ducks Unlimited, Artist of the Year for Wings Over the Platte, Best of Show for the Oklahoma and Kansas Ducks Unlimited and creating the winning design for the Nebraska Veterans Memorial.

American Doorstop Project

Co-founders of the American Doorstop Project and authors, Jody L. Lamp and Melody Dobson commemorate Nebraska’s 150th Sesquicentennial Statehood day celebrations March 1, 2017, by announcing the title of their NEW Nebraska agriculture history book, A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living; featuring the cover art and illustrations by nationally-renowned Nebraska artist, Gene Roncka.

Lamp, of Lamp Public Relations & Marketing, LLC and Dobson, independent consultants and national project directors, signed a multiple-book publishing agreement with The History Press in 2016 to produce a series of agriculture history books, beginning with A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living, which debuts in retail outlets, book stores, museums and similar venues throughout Nebraska in early June. The book series continues with MONTANA and NORTH DAKOTA with publishing dates planned for 2018 and 2019, respectively.

  “As we celebrate Nebraska’s statehood for years to come, we honor all who contributed to Nebraska’s agriculture advancement. This Nebraska agricultural history book is not all-inclusive of farming, ranching or the significant role Nebraskans have played in the success of technological and biological advancements in the past 150 years. But it is with utmost integrity and desire that we bring attention and recognition to what we refer to as the “SPICE” (spaces, places, inventions, commodities, events) and the people of the Cornhusker State who helped us to narrow and identify the stories that were selected.”, said Lamp and Dobson.

The book’s front cover image, Sunset on the Sandahl Home Place; was a commissioned piece Roncka painted for the Dean Sandahl family farm near Wakefield, northeast of Norfolk. The back-cover image, River Bottom, tells a story of several generations that have lived and continue to live in a typical Midwestern farm house. Both prints and other examples of Roncka’s work are featured at Willow Point Gallery/ Museum at 1431 Silver Street, in Ashland, the town where Roncka and his wife, Mary, live. The art gallery and the Archie Hightshoe Wildlife display Roncka designed have been recognized by Nebraska Travel and Tourism.

“We are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with Gene and Mary Roncka and to feature someone of Gene’s stature in the art world in our first book. We’ve been fans of his work since we stumbled upon the Willow Point Gallery and believe the Ronckas’ to be as much a treasure to the community of Ashland and the state of Nebraska, as Gene’s beautiful illustrations.”, said Lamp and Dobson.

American Doorstop Project book partners and sponsors include, Montana History Foundation, The Lockwood Foundation, Hall County Historical Society, Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, Kelley Bean, North Platte Natural Resources District, Aurora Cooperative, Prairie Preservations, 21st Century Equipment, Nebraska Hereford Association and Deines Irrigation. Other recent sponsors to provide marketing and promotion support of the Nebraska book include, Scotts Bluff County Tourism and the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska. Funding allows the American Doorstop Project co-founders and authors to elaborate each story within the agriculture history books and further advocacy and education efforts through integrated social media, national and community engagement events, signage, and oral history narratives that will be featured on the www.AmericanDoorstopProject.com website.

The American Doorstop Project is a joint-venture agriculture advocacy collaboration between co-founders and authors, Melody Dobson and Jody Lamp. The project preserves and promotes historical stories through the identification formula of the Space, Place, Invention, Commodity or Event, and the People that have shaped our country over the past hundreds of years. American Doorstop Project features a collection of stories that were instrumental in shaping America’s agricultural roots and had they not happened, America, as we know it, would be different than it is today. The partners have teamed up with The History Press to launch a series of agricultural history books beginning with A History of Nebraska Agriculture: A Life Worth Living to debut in June 2017.

About the Authors

Jody L. Lamp

Lamp’s career in agriculture journalism begins in Nebraska. Born and raised in Scotts Bluff County, Jody earned her bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in December 1993 and has minors in psychology, anthropology and history. She worked as a photographer for the Daily Nebraskan and as an agriculture writer for the Department of Ag Communications with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

After college, she was hired as the agricultural reporter and photographer for the Beatrice Daily Sun and later was recruited by Bader Rutter & Associates, the leading agricultural-based public relations and advertising agency in the United States. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and lived there for three years before moving to Montana, where she continued to work for the agency. In 2009, Jody opened Lamp Public Relations & Marketing and continues to maintain the office she started at Billings Livestock Commission. Jody and her husband, Mike, recently moved to Mitchell, Nebraska, in May 2015 and are the proud parents of Mark and Jessie. In 2016, Jody was selected to join the Humanities Nebraska Speaker’s Bureau.

Jody began collaborating on local and national projects with Montana native Melody Dobson, and together the team created a strategic planning program called “Your One Powerful Voice,” designed to help businesses, organizations and individuals collaborate to create an credible resource of influence. Lamp and Dobson worked as the national strategic plan developers for the U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. and as the national executive co-coordinators for the Great American Wheat Harvest documentary film— coordinating the strategic plans, fund development for production and public awareness—before launching the American Doorstop Project on July 1, 2015.

Melody Dobson

Melody served as a signature event coordinator for the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial’s “Clark on the Yellowstone Signature Event” and the “National Day of Honor” from 2004 to 2007. The events commemorated the 200th Anniversary of Captain William Clark signing his name at Pompey’s Pillar. Melody served as a member of the Pompey’s Pillar Historical Association Board of Directors and was inducted on October 1, 2016, into the “Honor Garden” for her dedication to the development and preservation of the monument. Melody comes from a fourth-generation farm and ranch in northeastern Montana and raised her four children—Sheldon, Christopher, Scott and Elizabeth—with her late husband, Terry D. Dobson, in Billings. She has experience in network radio on-air management, as a personality and as news director, as well as in sales. She received her bachelor of communications arts degree from Montana State University–Billings, formerly Eastern Montana College.

special thanks

A special thanks to, Vic Bentley, Vicki Schmitt, and Jan Durnin, Phil Thompson and Margaret Chase for their assistance in prepping the gallery and helping with the installation of this exhibit.

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The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this program through its matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.  Visit www.nebraskaartscouncil.org for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization, or how you can support the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

The West Nebraska Arts Center is a 501c3 cultural non-profit organization committed to education, awareness and excellence in the arts, serving the North Platte Valley Region.  WNAC is located at the corner of 1st Avenue and 18th Street in Scottsbluff, NE.  Visit the gallery free of charge Tuesday through Friday 9 to 5, Weekends from 1 to 5.  www.thewnac.com. or find us on Facebook.