Amy M. Nelson, MFA

Amy M. Nelson, MFA

Amy M. Nelson, MFA

Associate Professor
Director, Scheerer Scholars in the Arts Program
Associate Chair, Department of Fine and Performing Arts
Program Director, Studio Art, Department of Fine and Performing Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Expertise/Specializations

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Art and Civic Engagement

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Fine & Performing Arts

Position

  • Associate Professor

Teaching Activity

  • Art and Civic Engagement
  • Directed Independent Projects and Research
  • Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Ceramics
  • Scheerer Scholars in the Art Seminar
  • Senior Thesis

Biography

Amy Nelson is active in the Omaha Arts community, specifically through her work with the Creative Workshops at the Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter and as a member of the Union for Contemporary Art's Board of Directors. Amy was a Mentor in the Joslyn Art Museum's Kent Bellows Mentoring Program from 2010-2017. For her work with young artists in this program Amy received the 2015 Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP) Mentor of the Year. Amy has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions across the US and been an Artist in Residence at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Newcastle, Maine and The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Amy has given lectures, demonstrations and hosted workshops on the American Craft Movement and the role art plays in civic engagement. Amy received her BFA from Creighton University in 1997 and her MFA from East Carolina University College of Fine Arts and Communication School of Art & Design in 2002. Currently Amy is an Associate Professor of Fine Art and the Director of the Scheerer Scholars in the Arts program at Creighton University, teaching courses in Ceramics and Art and Civic Engagement. 

Publications and Presentations

Publications

Presentations

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • As an artist I align myself, and my work, within the tradition of functional crafts and the concept of being-in-the-world. My work ranges from functional ceramics to concept driven “functioning” installations. Whatever form the work takes I continue to apply the underlying principle of artistic practice as a vehicle for social and political change. My current body of work explores the cultural importance of both preserving and creating a collective heritage, and stems from the belief that handcrafted objects gain meaning from their relationship to personal use. The objects become an extension of personal identity, which comes from the idea that they are held, cared for, embraced, exchanged, learned from, and handed down; they are objects of experience.

Current Research Projects

  • The history and tradition of functional pottery is intimately tied to the storage, preparation and presentation of food. For the last nine years I have worked with my students to address issues of food insecurity through the CU Empty Bowls Project. Over the years the CU Empty Bowls has raised over $46,000 to aid hunger relief in the Omaha metro area and has influenced me in countless ways. I have spent hundreds of hours discussing the subtle nuances of designing pottery and the joy of eating with my students. On many levels my current studio practice is a direct result of that experience and has reinforced my belief in mealtime as the embodiment of community.

Grant Funding Received

  • Magis Core Curriculum Major Course Adaptation Grant
  • Magis Core Curriculum New Course Development Grant for Intersections and Designated Ethics course Art and Activism
  • 2018 CURAS Summer Faculty Research Fellowship. Project Artist as Activist: Service. Abstract: Artist as Activist is a multifaceted creative research project centered in the idea of the Arts as a vital component of contemporary culture and the Artist as an active citizen within that culture. Applying the principles of social art practice this project incites civic participation through a community partnership with the Omaha non-profit Arts organization The Union for Contemporary Art. This installment of Artist as Activist uses the history and tradition of functional pottery as a structural model to both preserve and create a collective cultural heritage. This model stems from the belief that handcrafted objects gain meaning from their relationship to personal use. The objects become an extension of personal history and identity, which comes from the idea that these objects are held, cared for, embraced, exchanged, learned from, and handed down; they are objects of experience.

Awards and Honors

  • Dean's Award for Professional Excellence in Dedication to Mission, Creighton College of Arts and Sciences, 2017
  • 2015 Midlands Mentoring Partnership Mentor of the Year, Midlands Mentoring Partnership, 2015