Skip to main content
Changes ahead
Some pages will look different than others as we modernize to bring you an even better website.

Oct. 17

Emma Frazier
Public and Media Relations Manager
531-MCC-2726, office

New art sculptures installed on the MCC South Omaha Campus
OMAHA, Neb. (Oct. 16, 2023) — Metropolitan Community College installed one of two public works of art at the new Automotive Training Center on the South Omaha Campus on Oct. 6. A 12-piece sculpture titled MCC Calligraphy, by Luke Achterberg, is on display on the south wall of the building’s commons area. A second sculpture installation will premier on the campus in November.

MCC Caigraphy is an assembly of colorful, organic-shaped steel sculptures finished with a brilliant blue, orange and green automotive paint. It demonstrates influence from hot rod painting schemes and graffiti art. 

A second work by Achterberg will be installed outside the Automotive Training Center on Nov. 15, an 18-foot sculpture, Fast Lane. It is an orange and blue abstract representation of a hot rod truck taking off into the sky near the facility’s north entrance. Both sculptures capture the spirit and flair of the paint jobs students can learn to apply to vehicles in the collision repair program, one of the many technical trades taught in the building.   

The project is an initiative of a MCC Board of Governors’ resolution that allocates up to 1% of new construction projects to be dedicated to artwork meant to enhance the space. Achterberg’s proposal for the project was selected out of more than 70 entries in a national call for art managed by the Nebraska Arts Council on behalf of MCC. In conjunction with the public art initiative, the MCC Gallery of Art and Design at the Elkhorn Valley Campus will present additional work by Achterberg along with his sketches, conceptual materials and presentation documents that secured him the project here in Omaha.

“The current body of work explores my realizations of relationships between certain aspects of Americana and fine art,” said Achterberg. “Particularly, I am interested in the American subcultures of hot rodding, contemporary graffiti writing and the experience of urban civilization and environment, which I call street art. The painted automotive steel fabrications seek to question, and perhaps even blur, the line between accepted forms of fine art and street art.’’

The exhibition opens today, Oct. 17, and closes with a reception and artist talk on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 5:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public and will take place at the Elkhorn Valley Campus in the Gallery of Art and Design. 

About Metropolitan Community College
Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest postsecondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.
About the artist
Luke Achterberg is the son and grandson of welders and automotive painters, and the influence of both of these trades comes through strongly in these recent works. He is also interested in the American subcultures of hot-rodding, contemporary graffiti and street art.
Achterberg received his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2004, then obtained a Welding Technical Diploma from Western Technical College in La Crosse the following year. After spending time as a certified welder at a custom job shop, he attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, completing his Master of Fine Arts degree.
Achterberg has received many prestigious awards from institutions such as the International Sculpture Center in New Jersey and Art-St-Urban in Switzerland. He currently lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin. 
Go to for more information.