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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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60th Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference

60th Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference

Friday, June 5, 2015 to Sunday, June 7, 2015
Red Cloud Opera House
413 North Webster Street
Red Cloud, NE 68970

"Fragments of Desire: Cather and the Arts"
The 60th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference 
Red Cloud, Nebraska

Join us in Red Cloud, June 5-7, 2015, for the 60th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference. This year's conference is taking place in conjunction with the 15th International Willa Cather Seminar, themed "Fragments of Desire: Cather and the Arts." Highlights will include informative papers and panel discussions; guided town and country tours; an evening picnic on the prairie; a screening of the NET Television documentary, Yours, Willa Cather; ceremonial groundbreaking for the National Willa Cather Center; and the premiere of Larksong, a theatrical retelling of The Song of the Lark.

This is a special year for the Spring Conference, so mark your calendars and make travel plans soon! Our keynote speaker will be Richard Norton Smith, a nationally recognized author and historian. He is a familiar face to viewers of C-SPAN and PBS’ NewsHour; Mr. Smith has been director of the Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museums, as well as founding director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. His past appearance in Red Cloud was for C-SPAN’s live broadcast of American Writers in 2001.



Friday, June 5

  • 9:00    Welcome and Remarks
  • 9:30    Norma Ross Walter and Antonette Willa Skupa Turner Scholarship Awards and Reading of Winning Essays                                           
  • 10:45  Panel Discussion—"Awakening Young Artists: Arts Education Then & Now"
  • 12:15  Lunch on your own 
  • 1:45    Rotating Activities at Cather Historic Sites
             - Kenneth Bé, on painting conservation 
             - Christine Lesiak, Andy Jewell, Janis Stout on Cather’s letters                                      
  • 3:45    Premiere of NET Television Documentary—Yours, Willa Cather
  • 5:00    Keynote by historian Richard Norton Smith
  • 6:30    Dinner and toast to National Willa Cather Center groundbreaking
  • 8:00    3rd annual Wildflower Walk at Sunset; Willa Cather Memorial Prairie         

Saturday, June 6

  • 8:00   Coffee & Kolache
  • 9:00   Services at Grace Episcopal Church 
  • 10:30  The Passing Show — "Enriching Human Experience: The Arts in Cather’s Life and Work"
  • 12:00  Luncheon – Spanish Johnny’s Cocina
  • 1:45    Paper Presentations, or reading of Cather’s play The Westbound Train
  • 3:30    Panel Discussion
  • 5:00    Artist Reception
  • 6:30    Banquet and Miriam Mountford Volunteer Award Presentation
  • 8:00    Larksong performance at the Red Cloud Opera House

Sunday, June 7

  • 9:00     Sunday Brunch 
  • 10:45   Town and Country Rotating Tours
  • 12:30   Lunch
  • 1:30     Town and Country Rotating Tours
  • 4:30     Panel Discussion
  • 6:30     Folk Music & BBQ at the Burlington Depot

On exhibit throughout the event:

  • The Growth of an Artist: Commemorating 100 Years of The Song of the Lark
  • The Regionalist Works of Grant Reynard (on loan from the Museum of Nebraska Art)

This schedule is subject to change. A more detailed schedule will be available in your conference packet.

High School Educators Scholarship – Deadline Extended!

High School Educators Scholarship – Deadline Extended!
High School Educators Scholarship – Deadline Extended!
To further our educational mission, the Willa Cather Foundation has created the High School Educators Scholarship in 2015. Through this program, five high school educators will receive a Spring Conference registration scholarship, so that they may experience the historic sites, the cultural opportunities, and the Cather scholarship that Spring Conference offers. It is our sincere hope that these partnerships will facilitate a dynamic exchange of ideas between Cather scholars and high school educators, upon whom we rely for our next generation of Cather readers. To apply for the High School Educators Scholarship, please complete the form below or contact education director Tracy Tucker, at 402-746-2653 or Deadline is April 30, 2015.



A list of Red Cloud and area B&Bs and motels can be found on our Lodging page. Additional Red Cloud lodging may be available in private homes; for a referral, please contact Ana Armstrong, at 402-746-2653 or