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Cartoon Network professional holding workshop at WNAC

Cartoon Network professional holding workshop at WNAC

The Calibraska Arts Initiative will be offering a special public talk and day-long workshop with professional storyboard artist and animator, Benjamin P. Carow, on July 6th and 7th at WNAC.

This unique opportunity is supported by West Nebraska Arts Center and Cirrus House, Inc. in conjunction with their Turn the Page! Comics and Mental Health Art Exhibit opening June 28th and running through August 26th in the Bronson Gallery at WNAC. Online registration is available at, calling 308-632-2226, or in person at WNAC, 106 E. 18th Street in Scottsbluff. The registration deadline is June 25th.

Calibraska co-founder and Director Erica Larsen-Dockray states, “Benjamin is a past Calibraska instructor and it is our honor to bring him back to western Nebraska where he will share his experience working in the industry. This is an amazing opportunity for children and adults to learn firsthand what it’s like to work in the Los Angeles animation scene and how to become a storyboard artist or just have a blast using their imaginations. These are creative techniques anyone can do and skills they can use to enhance other creative endeavors.”

And WNAC Executive Director, Donna Thompson, says, “We jumped at the chance to add another element of outreach and learning to the exhibit, as well as an amazing and fun educational opportunity for kids and adults in the Panhandle. This is the 3rd collaborative art show between Cirrus House and WNAC with the goal of bringing public awareness to the stigma of mental illness through art. As we state in the Call for Artists, comics, like other art forms, can help build a framework to better understand the everyday trials of life through visual art and storytelling. This workshop is a perfect fit and we are thrilled to be the host venue. ”

The weekend will kick off with a free and open to everyone Public Talk on Friday, July 6th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Folks of all ages are welcome to come meet Benjamin, get a serious inside scoop on what it’s like to be a storyboard artist in the animation industry, and ask him questions. On Saturday, July 7th, all three organizations will be hosting a Storyboard Workshop for students ages 10 years to adult from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the cost of $40.00, which includes all supplies needed.

During the morning session, Benjamin will talk about what makes a good story and strong characters, along with the basics of story structure. This will be followed by exercises in creating beat boards and single panel storytelling elements. After a one-hour break for lunch, the afternoon session will consist of students taking that information to go deeper into storyboard language, anatomy, cinematography, shot variation, and composition, with exercises in choosing shots and making their own storyboards.

Benjamin P. Carow is a Los Angeles based Emmy Nominated Storyboard artist and award winning film maker currently working at Cartoon Network on “Ben 10.” He grew up in Los Angeles obsessed with cartoons and video games, and knew at a very young age that he wanted to work in Cartoons and Animation. With the help of very supportive parents, he was signed up for as many after school arts programs as possible. He attended CALARTS and studied storyboarding, and began giving back to the after school programs by becoming a teacher. He graduated in 2014 and came to Scottsbluff to teach at the Calibraska program. Later, he began working in animation as a storyboard artist, first at Titmouse Inc., and later at Cartoon Network on the Power Puff Girls.

Since it’s kick-off in 2013, the Calibraska Arts Initiative has had over a hundred students ranging from 5 to 65 years participate in animation workshops and camps. In addition, five students and alumni from the California Institute of the Arts animation programs have had the opportunity to visit Scottsbluff for the first time to teach and assist the classes. The main objective of the Calibraska Arts Initiative is to form a bridge between California and Nebraska and to inspire and familiarize these two commonly disconnected populations. Using creative connections, they have been able to bring individuals together who may otherwise never interact and are primarily focused on giving Los Angeles-creative-industry-based artists and students exposure to small-town Nebraska culture and hospitality as well as providing access to high-end educational opportunities, mentorship, and training from Los Angeles creative industries to western Nebraska residents of all ages.

Calibraska’s usual animation camps held each summer in the Panhandle are on hiatus this year due to co-founder and Director Erica Larsen-Dockray’s incoming addition to her family. She plans to return next year and is looking to expand the animation programs and camps with state-wide offerings. Larsen-Dockray is a Scottsbluff native and has been an animation and media arts professional and teaching artist in Los Angeles for 10 years. She has taught animation and art to students ranging from preschool to graduate students and adult learners. To learn more go to

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