Anke Becker, a visual artist from Berlin, Germany, has arrived in Nebraska City to learn about what is considered "The Good Life" in the midwestern region of the United States.

Anke Becker, a visual artist from Berlin, Germany, has arrived in Nebraska City to learn about what is considered "The Good Life" in the midwestern region of the United States.  
Becker arrived on Monday, Jan. 19, to start her six week residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.  Upon her arrival, she started a postcard exchange project called "Fernweh", in which she asks others to share with her their personal definitions of "the good life."  While here, Becker will continue working on two projects she had already started, "Economic Words", visual poetry pulled from financial columns, and "Mein Kapital", artwork involving dollar coins and an original copy of  "Das Kapital", a political/economic treatise by Karl Marx.  
The daughter of a social sciences professor and history teacher, and with one set of grandparents that was communist and the other socialist, Becker comes from a very different world.  
She said that she moved to Berlin in 1991, not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and she sees everywhere around her connections to the past.  
"When the Wall came down," Becker said, "all of the East Germans wanted to go west.  
“I was thinking about this as I was flying west to come here.  Here in America, everyone wanted to go west, too.  Go west young man, I think they say," she laughed.  
Sobering, Becker said she thought her grandfather had always wanted to come to America, "But of course, he had been a Communist and this was the McCarthy era, so it was not so possible."
Becker talked about watching westerns as a child, thinking that was really what it would be like in America.
"We were so disappointed to find they were filmed in Europe, with European actors," she smiled.
This is not Becker's first trip to the USA, but she said she thought the midwest was more like what she thought America would be like.  
"This is such a huge country," Becker enthused, "wide open, and the people are so friendly.  In Germany I could sit next to somebody on a train for four hours, and we would never say more than 'hello'.  Here people talk to you like you're an old friend."
That friendly and open nature suits Becker's artistic style well, as she often employs collaborative efforts in her art.  
Becker, whose work "has been exhibited internationally and has been featured in several publications" is asking for assistance from the public with her latest art project.
To help Becker with her "Fernweh" project:
1. Find a postcard - designed by yourself or embellished as you see fit - and add some lines giving your personal definition of "the good life" on the postcard's back side.
2.  Before Feb. 19, send the postcard to:
Anke Becker
c/o Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts
801 Third Corso
Nebraska City, NE 68410.
3. All postcards will be shown during the open studios at the KHN-Center for the Arts on Feb. 19, from 5-7 p.m.
4. A documentation of all the postcards along with the artists' names and their definitions of  "the good life" will be available on this website: www.fernwehthegoodlife.blogspot.com.
5.  Becker will send you a similar, one-of-a-kind postcard from Germany when she gets back home in Berlin.  
Becker hopes that area people will send lots of postcards and come to the KHN Center for the Arts for open studios on Feb. 19, and said she is "grateful for the very generous opportunity she has been provided with at the Center, and that the friendly, helpful people here have made her feel such hope for the world."