BROKEN BOW–What’s your story? Everybody has their own and what better way to discover it than at your neighborhood library? Local artist Abby Olson asks this question in a new 6′ x 6′ painted mural proudly on display in the teen section of the Broken Bow Public Library.
A reception took place on Friday, August 13 to reveal the painting designed and painted by Olson, with the help of several teenagers who took part in the summer reading program.
Children’s Librarian Brenna Slagle wanted to get this project completed in order to personalize the teen area of the library and add some color.
“Brenna wanted to help the teens feel like this was their space,” Olson told KCNI/KBBN. “We had 11 [teenagers who helped]. It was a big enthusiastic group!”
Born and raised in Broken Bow, Abby Olson is now a senior at Wayne State College majoring in art education with certification in K-12. Creating beautiful works of art and collaborating with other people is nothing new for Olson as she also took part in the Nebraska By Heart Project in 2017, her senior year of high school. Olson designed the “Pieces of Nebraska” 6′ x 3′ heart that sits in the Broken Bow city square with the help of art teacher Roberta Barnes.
Olson told KCNI/KBBN that her participation in the library mural project is exactly what she wants to do and loved having this opportunity. She hopes to keep her options open for the future but is considering a grad program to earn a masters degree in fine arts or higher education.
Abby is the daughter or Pete and Kyla Olson. Kyla Olson told KCNI/KBBN she is constantly in awe at what her daughter creates, but is never surprised. Kyla said she always knows the result of Abby’s hard work will be good and always knew she would do something creative in life.
The “What’s Your Story?” idea for the mural came from the desire to add color to the teen section of the library, to do something that fit in a square canvas, incorporate books with a catch phrase or title, and something teens could relate to, according to Olson.
“Those kids helping me out that are getting ready to start high school, after that going on to college and figuring out who they are and what their story is so I hope that they all connected with that a little bit and they really do feel like this is their place to start their story,” Olson said.
After Olson settled on a design the canvas was purchased and the mural was completed in a couple of days with the help of the teens. Abby was also part of the summer reading program as teenager and knows how important the space is for local kids.
“I was a part of the teen summer reading program myself. I’m a country kid so there were some times when I needed to kill a little bit of time in town–it didn’t make sense to drive all the way back home and drive back into town so I spent a lot of time at the library. And I was quite the book nerd myself!” Olson said.
Children’s Librarian Brenna Slagle expressed her appreciation for local support of the project, saying the canvas was paid for with grants from the Custer County Foundation and the Broken Bow Library Foundation. Slagle also thanked Subway for donating cookies for the August 13 reception. Regular fall programming will resume in September and Slagle encourages community members to check out the library newsletter and Facebook page for updates.