Dozens of butterfly sculptures will be on display soon in the metro all due to one Papillion man.This week’s Community Champion, artist Al Rhea, designed a sculpture to represent his community and make it more beautiful.Rhea can typically be found working hard in his workshop.He has been an artist nearly half of his life, with a specific love for butterflies. He has framed some of his best photos and creates unique sculptures.Rhea’s most recent masterpiece is locally recognizable.“The Papillion symbol — the monarch butterfly,” Rhea said.Rhea said Papillion’s 150 anniversary is coming up next year, so the community wanted to do a public art project. About 80 different artists submitted their creation of a butterfly bench to the Papillion Art Council.Rhea said he took his work to Benson Machine to produce replicas, which he then painted and the first sculpture now sits at the Papillion library near East Washington and East Second streets.“It’s very bright and stark and striking. Everybody seems to like it and it gives me great joy to see little kids sitting on it,” Rhea said. “We have current 31 sponsors.”Local organizations and businesses purchased a butterfly and local artists were given $1,000 to paint Rhea’s design.“I’m delivering these — picking them up, getting to know the artists — and to have a story behind each one probably,” Rhea said.Although Rhea is still in the beginning stages, it’s a project that’s sure to bring joy to people’s eyes.“I think it builds pride in the town,” Rhea said.Rhea said he is hoping to have all 31 butterflies finished by April, as each one is completed, updates will be added to the Papillion 150 Facebook page.

Dozens of butterfly sculptures will be on display soon in the metro all due to one Papillion man.

This week’s Community Champion, artist Al Rhea, designed a sculpture to represent his community and make it more beautiful.

Rhea can typically be found working hard in his workshop.

He has been an artist nearly half of his life, with a specific love for butterflies. He has framed some of his best photos and creates unique sculptures.

Rhea’s most recent masterpiece is locally recognizable.

“The Papillion symbol — the monarch butterfly,” Rhea said.

Rhea said Papillion’s 150 anniversary is coming up next year, so the community wanted to do a public art project. About 80 different artists submitted their creation of a butterfly bench to the Papillion Art Council.

Rhea said he took his work to Benson Machine to produce replicas, which he then painted and the first sculpture now sits at the Papillion library near East Washington and East Second streets.

“It’s very bright and stark and striking. Everybody seems to like it and it gives me great joy to see little kids sitting on it,” Rhea said. “We have current 31 sponsors.”

Local organizations and businesses purchased a butterfly and local artists were given $1,000 to paint Rhea’s design.

“I’m delivering these — picking them up, getting to know the artists — and to have a story behind each one probably,” Rhea said.

Although Rhea is still in the beginning stages, it’s a project that’s sure to bring joy to people’s eyes.

“I think it builds pride in the town,” Rhea said.

Rhea said he is hoping to have all 31 butterflies finished by April, as each one is completed, updates will be added to the Papillion 150 Facebook page.



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