Lincoln, Nebraska, Jan. 15, 2021 — In March and April, Nebraska is a stopover place for about 600,000 Sandhill cranes, mostly along the central Platte River. It is the largest gathering of cranes in the world and one of the most popular wildlife migrations for viewers. Thousands of people visit Nebraska to see these birds and reconnect with nature.

 One of two new exhibitions at the Great Plains Art Museum will celebrate this annual wildlife spectacle and the unique lives of these elegant birds. The artist, Jude Martindale, interprets her experiences with the cranes in ways that reveal not only their personalities, but her emotional reactions to watching their captivating behaviors.

Martindale’s exhibition, “The Great Migration: A Celebration of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska,” is on view Jan. 19 through June 19. Martindale grew up in rural Nebraska and currently lives and paints in Lincoln. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, studied portraiture at the Art Students League of New York and earned a Master of Science in scientific illustration from the University of Arizona. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Martindale illustrated the 2020 book “Flying Free.” To learn more about the artist and her work, visit

“It is an honor for me to present this exhibit at the Great Plains Art Museum,” said Ashley Hussman, museum director and curator. “I hope that viewers reflect on the excitement that cranes bring to Nebraska each spring and are inspired to help protect them.”

The second exhibition, “Avian Observations: Great Plains Birds in Art,” is on view in the lower level from Jan. 19 through May 8. Featuring artwork from the museum’s permanent collection and from Elizabeth Rubendall Artist in Residence Kirsten Furlong, this exhibition allows visitors to explore the history, physical characteristics, behaviors, habitats and conservation of the diverse creatures that are so important to the Great Plains region.

The artists in this exhibition address a wide range of topics related to regional birds. While the artworks often demonstrate the beauty of our avian neighbors, they also emphasize the importance of their conservation as bird populations continue to decrease throughout the world and especially the Great Plains.

The Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St., is open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information on the artworks and how to visit the museum safely, visit   

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