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Omaha Magazine

Open Studios,
 Open Minds

Feb 02, 2014 10:00AM ● By David Williams
 "I’ve had all of these ideas swirling around in my head for the past two months,” explains Shanti Grumbine. The New Platz, New York-based artist was greeting visitors into her space during a recent Open Studios event at the acclaimed Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Today her ideas would be manifested in new ways; they would exist for the first time in the minds of others.

Grumbine had been working on a new series of wall sculptures made from the blue plastic sleeves used in the delivery of her New York Times, like the one shown in the accompanying photo.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about sacred geometry,” Grumbine explains to Dick Cook, who was visiting from Creston, IA. “Different religions, especially Islam, use geometric shapes in both art and text. It is a language all its own, and I’ve been abstracting these ideas into mosaics to create a sacred vocabulary using these throw-away plastic casings that protected the ephemeral words inside.”

The act of creating art can be a solitary, even lonely endeavor, but Grumbine was among the slate of 10 resident artists, including two from Brazil and one each from Ireland and Canada, who were engaged in the most social of art interactions. “Something magical happens when I see people react to my work,” continues Grumbine. “And it’s even more magical when I can talk to them about it while in the process of making it.”

Grumbine has since completed her three-month residency at the Bemis Center, but you can meet a new roster of artists at the next quarterly Open Studios event, which is free and open to the public.

“I know an artist like Shanti is creating 24 hours a day, even in her sleep state,” adds Cook while nodding to the neatly made bed in the corner of the live/work space. “I enjoy learning about artists, and this is a rare opportunity to do it on their terms, right here in the studio.”

Visit for a full list of upcoming Bemis Center events.

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