Wanda D. Ewing Commission

Supporting Women Artists of the African Diaspora

Wanda ewing

Each year, the Wanda D. Ewing Commission supports the production and presentation of new work by a woman artist of the African diaspora. Wanda Denise Ewing (1970–2013), the Omaha artist for whom The Union's gallery and Commission are named, was influenced by folk-art aesthetics, craft traditions, and the limited 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.

Recipients of the Commission are invited to create new work for a solo exhibition and develop a companion educational program or project. In the past, these have included a limited-edition coloring book, workshops for the children and young adults participating in The Union's Youth programming, and a master class for professional and developing artists in the Omaha area.

Past Wanda D. Ewing Commission Recipients

Zoë Charlton, The Ipseity Project, 2018
Alexandria Smith, Try a Little Tenderness, 2017

2019 Commission Selection: Vanessa German

On view September 12–November 30, 2019

For the 2019 Wanda D. Ewing Commission, the Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German presents sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies. — an immersive installation that originated at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA and is being reimagined at The Union. In the artist’s own words, “this work is a dimensional living reckoning. the living reckoning is bold, eruptive, disruptive work against systems & pathologies that oppress & subvert overt & covert violence onto & into the lives & humanity of marginalized people on this land.”

Zoe charlton workshop1



Zoe charlton workshop


Zoe charlton workshop2