• The Union for Contemporary Art (map)
  • 2423 North 24th Street
  • Omaha, NE, 68110
  • United States


Alexandria Smith explores the transformative girlhood experiences that shape the women we become as she illuminates the complexities of Black identity. 

Try a Little Tenderness presents Smith’s new and recent paintings in which she obsessively deconstructs images of the female body. Legs, hands, and pigtails, for instance, become characters and landscapes—a topography of the artist’s psyche. Although her abstract tableaux have been interpreted as performances or aftermaths of violence, they actually represent bodies in flux: not-quite-adolescent girls beginning to develop senses of themselves as independent from the environments they inhabit. Collectively, they tell a mythical coming-of-age story that centers on the mental and emotional processes of self-discovery.

Try a Little Tenderness runs from January 14th through March 25th. Admission is free and The Wanda D. Ewing Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM to 6PM

Alexandria Smith is the first recipient of the Wanda D. Ewing Commission.The annual initiative supports the production and presentation of new work by a woman artist of the African diaspora. Wanda Denise Ewing (1970–2013), the Omahan artist for whom this gallery is named, was influenced by folk-art aesthetics, craft traditions, and the limited of depictions of Black women in Western art history and popular culture. Through her art, she celebrated Black bodies and explored the complex interplay of race, gender, and sexuality. The commission was established to carry forth Ewing’s legacy and to create a vital cultural opportunity for Greater Omaha, where narratives of Black female experience are too often absent from the arts discourse.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of Paul and Annette Smith, The Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.