Omaha offers young artists a variety of spaces to grow


Omaha has historically been an art-filled city. Over the last 150 years, North Omaha has skyrocketed through the sounds of jazz, soul, blues, hip hop, gospel and much more. Historic 24th Street was known for the echoes of saxophones and trumpets. Downtown, the Hot Shops have thrived as a “living museum” according to

The Hot Shops offers studio space and a home for Omaha artists looking to create. It took its name from the origin of its birth: glass blowing. It started with creatives looking for a space to share and has only grown from there. Now, it features art glass studios, metal foundry, ceramics studios, iron forges and general creation spaces.

Gallery 1516 can also be found downtown. This non-profit organization is “dedicated to celebrating Nebraska arts,” as said on gallery1516. org. They are currently featuring an exhibit called “Modern Quilting on the Prairie.” This exhibition fuses the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild and the International Quilt Museum of Lincoln.

A wealth of knowledge about these local places and more can be found walking our halls every day. Freshman Adrienne Ernst is one of young art enthusiasts. “I believe that if you dive into the culture of Omaha you experience some of the best engaging and interactive art experiences,” Ernst said.

A couple more places to adventure are Joslyn Art Museum and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. “I could never recommend Joslyn Art Museum enough because it is beautiful,” Ernst said.

Their art collections come from all across the globe making it “a great place to learn about different cultures and art styles,” Ernst said.

Bemis’ vision is “to inspire an open and diverse dialogue on the critical issues that give shape and meaning to the human condition” which can be found on their website, They feature international residencies as well as exhibitions and educational programs. Ernst said, “it houses some of the best works in the area. They have incredible education programs that allow you to get to know the artist better and see their work in person.”

There is no shortage of opportunities like this. KANEKO and the Old Market Artist Gallery (OMA Gallery) also offer amazing hands-on experience for artists. “KANEKO is a gorgeous public art center that promotes creativity in the community,” Ernst said. “They have so many exhibits on everything you could imagine and more.” Their current exhibits include Charles Kay Jr: UNSEEN. The exhibition description states: “Emerging from the Currents of Assimilation I am a first-generation Thai-American. It’s taken me five decades even to de- scribe myself this way and claim my identity,” as described by Kay Jr on KANEKO’s website,

Ernst continued, “The work is from local artists and they also host free classes and workshops.”

Ernst depicted the OMA Gallery as “charming and beautiful with an excellent atmosphere for drawing inspiration” This Howard Street Gallery can be found in the Old Market Passageway and acts as a hidden gem in the bricks of downtown.

Last but not least for places to give a visit is Chalk the Walk. Started by Brooke Studt, a teacher who brought her love of sidewalk chalk to Omaha, this art festival takes place over four days as artists create seven drawings spanning Darby Street. “This is such a fun event if you are an aspiring artist that wants to bring joy and encouragement through the powers of sidewalk chalk,” Ernst said.

Overall, Ernst said “there is a lot of opportunity here” in Omaha. “There is something special about noticing how much respect a city has for its local artists and I think Omaha is one of them. It is an excellent place for young professionals to live.” Every corner in this city is full of stories and art waiting to be discovered.

For a little bit of direction to young artists, Ernst said, “If you are trying to go above and beyond as an artist of any media, you should try a cooperative gallery of one of the many theaters here.” She also mentioned the “many architectural landscapes that you can draw significant inspiration from.”

Omaha can offer even the youngest of rising artists a home and safe space to create.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s