Five Questions with Kristin Pluhacek

Kristin Pluhacek
Kristin Pluhacek

Artist Kristin Pluhacek’s work is represented in numerous public and private
collections, such as Lauritzen Gardens, Museum of Nebraska Art, Wayne State College, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Creighton University, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the list goes on and on.

I like to look at things and then try and repeat really interesting parts of them. - Kristin Pluhacek
I like to look at things and then try and repeat really interesting parts of them. – Kristin Pluhacek

Kristin is a BFA graduate of Creighton University, a roster artist for the Nebraska Arts Council Artists in Schools/Communities program and a drawing instructor at Metropolitan Community College and Joslyn Art Museum.

"Kent Inhaling" after Kent Behrens by Kristin Pluhacek
“Kent Inhaling” after Kent Behrens by Kristin Pluhacek

In a partnership between the City of Omaha Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department and University of Nebraska at Omaha’s SummerWorks program, high school students from across Omaha painted a mural for the Hanscom Park Greenhouse, based on a design by Pluhacek. The mural is 67’9” wide and 14’ tall, and depicts an image of Hanscom Park during its earliest days in the first years of the 1900s. The mural depiction includes citizens walking through flower gardens in the open air and through a rose-covered archway.

Mural for the Hanscom Park Greenhouse, based on a design by Pluhacek
Mural for the Hanscom Park Greenhouse, based on a design by Pluhacek

I was introduced to Kristin and her husband Mark, by my baby sister, Liz. Kristin, Mark & Liz went to Omaha Central High School, and then Kristin & Liz, to Creighton. The legend is that in high school, Lizzie was a go-between for Kristin and Mark in the early days of their love story, ie; she passed notes. Lizzie says “I had art with Mark, and all he could talk about was Kristin. Then I had band with Kristin, and all she could talk about was Mark.” At their wedding, Liz was maid-of-honor. Theirs was an absolutely gorgeous, lovely wedding, which our jazz quartet happily played for.

I have always loved Kristin’s work, and Kristin! She is such a lovely, lively person, so positive, and down-to-earth. Her work, and life, is an inspiration. We’re happy to count she, and the wonderful Mark, as friends.

Kristin and Mark Pluhacek
Kristin and Mark Pluhacek

Kristin was sweet to take time from her busy schedule, and answer

1) You recently completed a public art piece at Hanscom Park. How was it to coordinate your vision with so many working parts?

KP – If I start a project like Hanscom with a good, tight design, I can set up a pretty fluid painting schedule for the participants. The trick is keeping ahead of everyone, while preserving parts of the piece that are “complete”. Generally, the participant/painters do the the first 75% of the work and then I finish the final 25% (straightening lines, adding detail, cleaning up drips, etc.). The Hanscom Mural was really tricky because a lot of the kids who were participating were not allowed to stand on ladders, and there was a lot of ground to cover on ladders – so the ratio ended up reversed, which was a little overwhelming. The greenhouse was initially a little wary of me taking over their space – lots of negotiations- but they came around and were really welcoming.

2) What inspires you to make art?

KP – I like to look at things and then try and repeat really interesting parts of them. It just feels great to make a really strong mark that seems alive.

3) How has your style evolved over the years?

KP – I’m not sure about style. I’ve gotten a little less interested in
what exactly the subject is and more interested in the things that make
it up. So maybe more conceptually abstract, even if the work seems a
little more literal. I’ve also gotten a lot more confident in my skills,
probably from having to justify them daily when teaching.

4) How is the business side of art for you?

KP – A necessary evil. Artists become really good salesman over time –
a real split personality in many ways, because visual art is such a
solitary thing, and visual artists really are introverts. Probably a
good thing that I am a Gemini 🙂

5) What are your goals / projects we can look forward to from you?

KP – I’m hoping to build a studio in my back yard either this spring or
next. I’d like to keep doing engagement projects – they’re stressful,
but really very artistically stimulating. In April 2015 I have a show
scheduled at the Cathedral Arts Project (flowers), and in September 2015, I’ll show do a 2-person show with Rachel Mindrup at Dixie Quick’s RNG Gallery. We’ll follow that one with a show at Creighton in fall 2016. Both Rachel and I are women who teach life drawing, draw figures and raise kids; so that show will be figurative (and awesome!:).


Anderson/Obrien Fine Art
OldMarket Omaha, NE
(402) 390-0717

Dundee Gallery
Omaha, NE
(402) 505-8333

MLB Design Gallery
Kansas City, MO
(816) 531-3133




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