A depiction of the mosaic artwork that initially greets visitors to the state Capitol as they walk toward the Rotunda will adorn new Nebraska motor vehicle license plates for the next six years.
The mosaic embedded in the floor at the Capitol’s second-floor north entrance depicts stars and lightning, the sun, the moon, a planet and represents “the genius of creative energy,” Gov. Pete Ricketts, first lady Susanne Shore and state officials said in unveiling the new design at a Tuesday news conference.
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The mosaic was the creation of Hildreth Meiere, a renowned American muralist whose artwork adorns Radio City Music Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
“It embodies the spirit of Nebraska,” Shore said, in its depiction of energy.
Meiere received the gold medal in mural decoration from the Architectural League of New York for her designs at Nebraska’s Capitol.
“It’s kind of a cool thing that we’ve got things in Nebraska that you may not expect,” Ricketts said.
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Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley described the mosaic as “a great piece of Nebraska fine art.”
Drew Davies, owner and design director of Omaha-based Oxide Design Co., which fashioned the license plate design, described the choice as “a winner.”
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Shore said Nebraska’s license plate will be incredibly unique and she recognizes in advance that it’s “a state sport in every state to criticize license plates.”
But, she said, she believes it will become “a very beloved license plate.”
The new license plate will be issued beginning in 2023 and remain attached to cars and trucks for the next six years.
Answering questions on other topics, Ricketts continued his broad defense of gun ownership rights in the wake of the latest school shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead.
“Absolutely, yes,” he said when asked whether an 18-year-old should have been allowed to purchase an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
“We ought not to focus on the gun, but on the person pulling the trigger,” the governor said, and that points to “a mental health issue.”
Some of the criticism now being aired represents “red herrings on how to restrict gun rights,” Ricketts said.
Nebraska’s license plates through the years
The celebration that never ended (1976-1983)
Plain label (1984-86)
And we finally have a winner (1987-1989)
But it’s not a Dempster… (1990-1992)
Something for both city and rural folk (1993-95)
If it was good enough the first time… (1996-1998)
Go Big Red! (1997-99)
Just make them bigger this time (1999-2001)
Contest produces a winner (2002-2004)
Yes, we still travel by wagon out here (2005-2010)
Plategate: The vote gets pranked (2009)
Better late than never (2011-2016)
You reap what you sow (2015)
OK, the right Sower, but… (2017-2022)
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On Twitter @LJSdon
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