Gladys M. Lux—A Life Dedicated to Art
Artist and educator Gladys Lux was born in 1899 on a farm by Grand Island, Nebraska where from an early age she displayed artistic talent. Her grandmother began her art education by teaching her china painting and she also learned to paint in watercolors and draw. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska, Ms. Lux began teaching art at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1927.
Throughout her life, Ms. Lux created artwork in the regionalist style, often of her favorite subject—Nebraska, both its people and the land. Her painting of a farmer plowing a field titled “Good Faith” was chosen to represent Nebraska at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Many galleries have exhibited her artwork; among them are the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kansas City Art Institute, the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha and Sheldon Museum of Art of Lincoln, Nebraska.
During the forty years she taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University she inspired many students to believe as she did that “there is an artist in everyone.” When she retired, Ms. Lux was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus of Art. She also received numerous other awards for her contributions to art and art education.
Launch of LUX Center for the Arts
In 1985, Ms. Lux purchased the former city hall building in the village of University Place to house the University Place Art Center, a nonprofit community arts organization. The goal Ms. Lux had for the building was that it would become an educational and exhibition center for all ages of students and artists. Later the University Place Art Center was renamed LUX Center for the Arts in Ms. Lux’s honor. Her purpose to provide a variety of opportunities to experience art continues as the mission of the LUX Center.
LUX Center for the Arts is grateful to Gladys Lux for her generosity, vision and dedication to the arts, and for her efforts which were instrumental in the creation of LUX Center for the Arts.
The Gladys M. Lux Print Collection
In September 1997, Ms. Lux transferred ownership of her personal collection of nearly 500 master prints to The LUX Center for the Arts. The prints, purchased to use in her classes, had come primarily from two organizations. The majority were acquired from the Associated American Artists, in New York City. Started in 1934, the AAA was founded on the principle that original fine artwork should not be restricted to a select few. Private collecting in the United States had been limited mostly to paintings, while original prints were sought by only museums and scholars. So to broaden the reach of the art world, artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry agreed to offer their prints to collectors throughout the country for as little as five dollars each. The prints were issued in editions of 250, individually signed, and not numbered.
The second organization from which Ms. Lux purchased prints was the American Collegiate Society of Print Collectors. Formed in 1930, this group sold prints exclusively to college art departments. The society was forced to suspend activities during the Depression due to the financial condition of many universities.
Curated exhibitions of Ms. Lux’s prints may be seen throughout the year on the second floor of The LUX Center for the Arts in the Gladys Lux Historical Gallery.