Amy Nelson is active in the Omaha Arts community. She is a member of the Union for Contemporary Art's Board of Directors, actively participates in the Creative Workshop program at the Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter and has been a Mentor in the Joslyn’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program for young artists. In 2015 Nelson was honored as the Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP) Mentor of the Year and in 2017 received the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Professional Excellence in Dedication to Mission. Amy has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions across the US and been an Artist in Residence at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Newcastle, Maine and The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Amy has given lectures, demonstrations and hosted workshops on the role art plays in civic engagement. Amy received her BFA from Creighton University in 1997 and her MFA from East Carolina University School of Art & Design in 2002. Currently Amy is an Associate Professor of Fine Art at Creighton University, teaching courses in Ceramics and Art and Civic Engagement.
As an artist I align myself, and my work, within the tradition of functional crafts and the concept of being-in-the-world. My work ranges from functional ceramics to concept driven “functioning” installations. Whatever form the work takes I continue to apply the underlying principle of artistic practice as a vehicle for positive social change. My current body of work explores the cultural importance of both preserving and creating a collective heritage, and stems from the belief that handcrafted objects gain meaning from their relationship to personal use. The objects become an extension of personal identity, which comes from the idea that they are held, cared for, embraced, exchanged, learned from, and handed down; they are objects of experience.
The history and tradition of functional pottery is intimately tied to the storage, preparation and presentation of food. For the last 13 years I have worked with my students at Creighton University to address issues of food insecurity through the CU Empty Bowls Project. Over the years the CU Empty Bowls has raised over $46,000 to aid hunger relief in the Omaha metro area and has influenced me in countless ways. I have spent hundreds of hours discussing the subtle nuances of designing pottery and the joy of eating with my students. On many levels my current studio practice is a direct result of that experience and has reinforced my belief in mealtime as the embodiment of community.