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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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"Red Cloud circa 1900" on Display

"Red Cloud circa 1900" on Display

Red Cloud circa 1900
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Currently on display in the Red Cloud Opera House Gallery is an original painting by Todd Williams, entitled "Red Cloud circa 1900." The piece is a part of a project called “Painting the Legacy of Nebraska: Celebrating 150 Years” in which Williams will paint a scene from each of Nebraska’s ninety-three counties. This project is taking place in conjunction with The Nebraska Sesquicentennial in 2017. The stunning painting was unveilied to the public at a reception on Tuesday, November 25, 2014. 

Williams, a native of Central City, Nebraska, studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and worked as an artist for Hallmark Cards for a decade. His work is now available in galleries throughout the Unites States. Among others, his Red Cloud painting is also featured in the 2015 “Legacy of Nebraska” calendar, which is available for purchase in-store at Cather Books & Gifts.

During the early 20th century, Red Cloud was the thriving county seat of Webster County, and the childhood hometown of American author Willa Cather. The "horse street railway" was an important link between the Burlington Railroad depot south of town and the commercial district of Webster Street and Red Cloud proper. In the background of the painting stands the Red Cloud Opera House, which served as the vibrant cultural center for the area and where a young Cather first encountered the greater world of the performing arts. The street railway was operated from 1888–1918, when paved streets hastened its end, a time period which closely mirrors the heyday of the Opera Houses.