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Change in North Omaha: It’s been a long time coming for northeast Omaha

August 3, 2015 1 comment

With Native Omaha Days having just concluded, it’s a good time for reflection. Here’s a new story I wrote for the August issue of The Reader (www.thereader.com) that sounds out some African-American residents for their take on old-new northeast Omaha challenges, opportunities and approaches to revitalize that area. Hard copies should now be out and about in North O, Benson, Midtown, Downtown and the Old Market.

I am presenting the story in this post in two layouts: the first is exclusively for my blog and the second is how the story appears in The Reader.

Change in North Omaha: It’s been a long time coming for northeast Omaha

African-American residents weigh in on old-new challenges, opportunities, approaches to revitalize the area

©BY LEO ADAM BIGA

NOW APPEARING IN THE READER (WWW.THEREADER.COM)

Quality-of-life metrics assessing the state of African-American northeast Omaha paint a stark picture. Pockets experience some of America’s worst poverty and gun violence. Disparities contradict Omaha’s high best-place-to-live rankings.

Riot-scarred landscapes remain untouched decades later. Urban renewal brought distrust and dislocation. Combined with education, employment, income, home-business ownership gaps, it’s a stuck-in-time place. Stalled economic growth and limited opportunity drive many away. Others stay out of conviction or concession.

While North Omaha is the focus of unprecedented education initiatives and redevelopment efforts driven by major public-private coalitions, key markers show little’s changed where people’s lives are concerned.

With ex-pats back for the biennial Native Omaha Days, there’s much nostalgia and lament. Seven community-engaged residents trying to remedy the challenges recently shared their take on the situation.

After being away, Omaha native Michelle Troxclair, 46, Nebraska Writers Collective deputy director, says upon returning she noted “North Omaha and the people who live there were stagnate in many ways.”

“They became comfortable with nothingness. Our leadership appeared, for the most part, to be spinning their wheels and more concerned with the scraps they were getting than a place at the table. Then they began fighting for those scraps amongst themselves. I thought I could make a difference, and I did, but in a very different community. Yeah, we got a Walmart and Aldi’s. North (High) is getting a new stadium. They tore down the Hilltop projects. I see some new housing. Again–scraps.”

When Angel Martin, 31, moved to Omaha from Milwaukee she saw abandoned, boarded-up properties here as seeds of potential. Now she views them as emblems of lost opportunity.

“If people see that every day you’re unfortunately going to believe it’s the norm,” says Martin, who directs the Katherine Fletcher Center at Girls Inc. “We should have took on that mindset of taking back our community. It starts with the homes. We should have pooled our resources together to buy these houses.”

Preston Love Jr., 73, hails from a North O legacy family led by his late father, musician Preston Love Sr. He left for a while–to work for IBM and to manage political campaigns. He says when he came back home, “my community was in shambles. I got motivated to get involved because of what I found.” He’s since been on a “soap box” about this once great community being brought down by “residual negatives.”

“When I was growing up, North Omaha was rich in culture, rich in commerce, rich in religion and church. We had our own everything. We had each other. We had neighborhoods. We had love for your neighbors and spankings if you didn’t act right. We had all that.”

Discrimination and racism still ruled, however.

“We didn’t have the ability to go places, we didn’t have the ability to go downtown to see a movie, we couldn’t swim at Peony Park, we couldn’t go inside Joe Tess. We didn’t have this, we didn’t have that, and some of it was a little deeper than some carp.”

  •  Preston Love Jr.

Love believes blacks “made a catastrophic mistake” choosing integration over desegregation.

“If you integrate you lose half the things you did have because you begin to water down your culture. When you integrate Walmart into this culture, mom and pops close. We should have affirmed all the things we had and fought for desegregation to get what we didn’t have.”

Sundiata Menelik, 57, has returned after decades as a developer and real estate magnate in Minnesota. He recalls as a kid the flourishing North 24th Street business district: “It was alive.” By the time he went away, however, it died. Job prospects for blacks dried up.

“Everybody from my generation was trying to escape this the way you escaped apartheid South Africa or any place that is hell on Earth. For us, that’s what it was.”

 Sundiata Menelik

In Menelik’s opinion, “nothing’s happened” to reverse the black brain drain and narrow opportunities. He deems this stalemated community “backwards” compared to more progressive sister communities.

“This is a reservation right here and the same ills on the reservation are here, it’s just not in your face. A lot of this is institutional.”

Menelik also says North O is a separate world from the majority of the world. Some blacks can freely step in and out of both worlds. Others can’t.

“When you can’t escape, there’s nothing, What you see is bleak.”

“People feel oppressed,” Martin says. I think poverty is what comes from being oppressed. If you don’t have opportunities to get good paying jobs, then it’s difficult to rise above.”

Ean Garrett, 29, came up in North O’s poverty zone.

“Three to four generations growing up in poverty have come to believe poverty is their place in life as opposed to understanding they should be able to work hard and gain the fruits of this system,” Garrett says.

Menelik says inclusion is an illusion here for many.

“We’re the best place for startups, the best place to raise a family, but it don’t have nothing to do with black people. Nebraska’s as segregated and racist as anywhere in the United States.”
He asserts blacks here are “not looked at as full citizens.”

Ean Garrett, J.D. - Chief Innovation Officer  

Ean Garrett

Aledia Kartchner - Social Innovation Consultant

Aledia Kartchner

Garrett says it’s not just blacks getting the shaft in North O.

‘There’s still a lot of white people living here and they’re being given the short end of the stick as well.”

“What we have left is an impoverished community,” Love says. “That doesn’t mean everybody in it. When you have serious poverty like it is here you have a (drug-gang) subculture that’s figured out there’s no future in the (mainstream) community. So they created their own community and it’s thriving. Money’s flowing, big time. Everything’s working just fine. They may have to die but that’s OK because they’re not expected to live and all that logic. That subculture is created by poverty and breeds total disconnect from lawfulness.”

Menelik has lost loved ones to gun violence, He’s doing prevention work as local Mad Dads chapter president. He is also on the board of the Bryant Center Association that serves at-risk young people.

He sees an urgent need to intervene in the hopelessness.

“The game is over, man. The kids, they’re hollering out silently. If it was a movie you’d see a bunch of black hands reaching up and saying, ‘Where are you and when are you coming?’

“We’re taking it upon ourselves to do for ourselves and to do it right now. It’s crucial.”

“The only major solution is economic inclusion, economic health for this community,” Love says. “If you lay on the table jobs and alternatives a lot more will take it than people realize. Do we need better education? Yes, we’ve got educational gaps that need filling. We’ve got a high drop-out rate that needs improving. We need to reduce STDs. All of those are more factors than potential solutions.”

He says North O should demand more autonomy and accountability from the nonprofit social sector set up to address its myriad needs.

“We have a lot of people pimping the community. They don’t live in the community, they work in the community receiving what benefits there are coming into a poverty-infected area and then they escape out of it, taking the benefits of the drops, the crumbs.”

Menelik says after ignoring North O the power elites “understand they’ve got to do something because we’re right on the doorstep of North Downtown development. They want to come off [as] multicultural.” Whatever happens, he says “we want to see results, we want performance-based, sustainable, social-economic development.”

Garrett says, “You have an entire middle class that lives outside the North Omaha community that benefit by way of employment from programs addressing the issues in North Omaha. So if the issues in North Omaha go away, then a lot of those jobs go away as well. Our destiny is intertwined with the destiny of those that have the resources. What happens if the philanthropic dollars dry up?

“The philanthropic industry here in Nebraska is not sustainable–throwing money into a community and 10, 15, 20 years later not seeing any outcomes. Let’s takes those funds and use them towards outcome-based investments and address these issues from a private sector approach. That is the type of mindset and vigor we need.”

Garrett’s Infinite 8 Institute poses social impact models. He says too often nonprofits don’t produce the social good their grant applications promise and that he favors outcome-based models.

“If you give them the money up front and you don’t make them work for it, there’s no incentive to get the outcome.”
Garrett’s partner Aledia Kartchner, 36, says they find innovative ways to handle “the huge lack in North Omaha.” One is via non-cognitive life skills and work force development classes they teach at Bryant Center. However, programming costs money and resources are scarce.

“If you’re only giving us enough funds to keep the lights on then we can’t bring resources and people in to prepare these young people,” Garrett says. “We have to be able to close the deal. That means people at the top being willing to open up the doors of opportunity in a way that’s sincere and not just talk.”

Kartchner says they’re seeking investments “in human capital.”

Garrett says North O’s human resources get overlooked.

“These kids have been through so many traumatic experiences they are better prepared than many who live in the outer community. As an employer I don’t want somebody who hasn’t dealt with a tough problem before. These kids are having to solve tough problems on a daily basis. Those skills are transferrable in this new knowledge-based economy, where soft skills–the ability to adapt and to be resilient–are things employers applaud.

“If you just look at it at face value, you see thugs with impoverished, destitute, sad stories. But if you turn that around you see potential human capital that can really add value.”

He says the skills he teaches “are all the intangibles that made the difference between myself and those peers who maybe fell victim to unfortunate circumstances.”

“We’re working with kids from early childhood through 12th grade. Local elders volunteer, so it’s very intergenerational. We have a pipeline all within that one structure to measure long-term outcomes.”

He says another key thing taught is “mindfulness meditation to ensure kids focus on peace of mind when they go back to their chaotic environment and the negative energy around them–you can’t control what’s happening around you but you can control how you react.”

Infinite 8 seeks to raise $1.5 million for a social impact bond for violence prevention.

“As an organization one of the things we focus on is creating social impact financing,” says Garrett, who sees it as a litmus test for how serious Omaha is in finding fresh ways to tackle persistent issues.

“Omaha has so much wealth and prosperity but then you wonder why is it not circulating into northeast Omaha. There are people in the city who singlehandedly could eradicate poverty here. It’s a question of whether or not the powers that be actually want that to happen. If you’re trying to do something like turn around the most deadly place to be black in America and integrate that with one of America’s most highly acclaimed places, then I think you have to look at what resources are necessary in order to accomplish that.”

The public sector also has a role to play.

“If we’re not electing elected officials willing to fight those battles for equal distribution of tax revenues and other funding streams, we lose. We’ve paralyzed most of our elected officials because of where they’re financed to get elected, so they’re not willing to stand up and try to act like Ernie,” Love says, referring to firebrand Neb. state senator Ernie Chambers. “They’re nice people but they’re not independent. When it comes time to fight for the community, we ain’t got nobody there.

“The net effect is we’ve become a community on the receiving end and almost on the beg. So you’ve got a community that has to sit down. There’s only a few of us that stand up. That’s a problem. The community doesn’t have enough leverage to fight these battles.”

Garrett agrees. “It’s time for North Omaha to become independent. For North Omaha to be able to do for people in North Omaha we need our own resources. If you want to see us do better, than empower us but don’t beholden us. We have to recognize what’s in our own community and that we have what it takes. We do believe there are people willing to do the right thing and we want to work with them.”

Kevin Lytle Jr. with the Leadership Institute for Urban Education in Omaha, says, “I believe our biggest resource in North Omaha is the people who live and struggle there. We have not found an effective way to develop, foster and encourage true community and camaraderie amongst African-Americans in Omaha.”

Self Xpression (Kevin Lytle Jr.)

Kevin Lytle Jr.

Menelik says “It’s like we’re waiting for somebody to come in out of the sky to save us, when sometimes you’ve got to go within yourself.”

Troxclair says “In the arts community many are coming together and their voices are starting to be heard. In every other major city’s revitalization effort, there is a concentration on arts investment. Omaha did not do that. We are connecting with each other and artist-allies who know we need to work together. Omaha’s leadership is still focused on housing and jobs. We get that, but every artist has created his-her own job and is an entrepreneur. White folks get it. How many people do the Holland, Joslyn, Bemis, Kaneko, Omaha Community Playhouse, Rose employ? We let the John Beasley Theatre go to waste. We let our stagnate leadership dictate the artist landscape and they have ignored our young people completely.”

Meanwhile, Angel Martin has noted a “halt” in the movement by young African Americans to get involved.
“A lot of young people (including herself) ran for the school board or the city council. There were a lot of new faces and voices with a lot to say. That was a prime time to tap into that energy. A lot of those people have since said, ‘I’m out of here,” and that energy’s kind of gone I sense. That’s a concern. Where are we going next?

“Some people are choosing to move on to where things are thriving more and it’s more progressive.”
Everyone concedes North O loses many of its best and brightest.

Martin doesn’t begrudge the defectors.

“I can definitely see why people do not choose to stay here. Some of those who do choose to stay are looking for ways out. Some elders have told me, ‘You might want to look to move on.'”

She’s seriously considered it.

“We don’t have affirmative action. A lot of employers don’t look for faces that look like mine.”

Martin expresses another concern many share.

“I think there’s a lot of outsiders dictating which direction North Omaha should go. There’s a lot stirring. My concern is who’s doing the stirring and what are they mixing up. Was everybody invited to sit at this table? A lot of deals have been made relating to North Omaha’s future. My only hope is my great aunt in North Omaha was kept in mind when they talked about redevelopment. I hope as a people we understand it’s our right to question, to ask for details.”
“We have to stand up together and fight. We’ve gotta put your foot down and say we’re not taking this lack of economic inclusion anymore and be willing to take the heat,” Love says.

Love recently put himself on the line by advocating minority contractors get a share of the $2.3 billion in waste water and sewer separation construction happening. He pressed the mayor and others hard on it. He expected the corporate backlash he got but not the flak from his own community.

“They don’t want you messing with ‘Mr. Charlie.'”

Too, often, black advocates are left standing alone.

Garrett feels the millennial generation offers new hope.

“They’re a lot more informed. Millinials, regardless of color or shade, believe in social good and they’ll put their money behind products and services that have a positive impact on the community and the environment. I believe there needs to be more courage from the outer community to stand up and do what really needs to be done and to do it in a way that sits well with the indigenous people in North Omaha.”

He says Infinite 8 has piloted programs in Kansas City, Mo. and other cities but runs into “a barrier to entry” here he attributes to decision-makers “not being open to new paradigms, ideas, best practices.” He’s not waiting for approval. Bryant Center kids are introduced to Bitcoin, drone technology, green sustainability, 3D printing and mobile Web programming. “We’re really focusing on what sectors have the most promising outlooks. We’re preparing young people with these skills so when they go into the workforce they actually have a leg up.”

Michelle Troxclair, ©C4Photography
Troxclair is all for creative approaches.

“Rote methods are outdated and we all know the world of technology has changed the landscape. Young people don’t want to be bothered with minutia. Applicability, immediacy are what they’re looking for. The arts must be used to stimulate interest and academic motivation.”

Lytle says, “A huge factor not being deeply addressed is how our children are being taught and who is teaching our children.” He wonders “how effective are the educational lessons being transmitted in relation to the culture African-American students” interact with.

Garrett and Co. decry how elements of this civil society demonize and dismiss a segment of the city they have no direct experience with.

“Is it civil to deny opportunity to your own citizens? Are we uncivil because we have violence going on in our community? Is a person who sits back and watches the violence and does nothing more civil?”

Aledia Kartchner echoes others in saying she’s tired of her people being depicted as “just savages killing each other – there’s many positive things going on but they don’t focus on that.”

North O’s good people, neighborhoods, anchors, programs and events get obscured by the actions of a few knuckleheads.

Martin says, “It’s an unfair perception that’s very disheartening. If you never highlight the positive things going on you’ll never know. If you’re not in the area, you won’t know. When we take back our community as a people we’ll take back those perceptions.”

Troxclair takes exception to media depictions of “us as nincompoops holding candlelight vigils waiting on Jesus.” She says, “When a murder occurs, a murder occurs. Report that a murder occurred. Report who the suspects according to the facts. Do we really need to know the criminal record of the entire family?”

Where controlling the message is concerned, Melenik says North O could benefit from more black-owned media outlets and Martin suggests more blacks are needed in newsrooms.

Lytle, 32, repeats a mantra many sound–leaders are doing what they can with what they have. But he says, “We are not getting the job done. The role of leadership is to warn a people of potential dangers and opportunities, educate a people on how to navigate through that and create avenues in which a people can effectively execute and implement the steps that will best serve them.”

Yet, he adds, “I am hopeful for the future of blacks in Omaha and for the area of North Omaha because I believe the up and coming leadership is learning from the choices and paths laid by current symbolic individuals and will dedicate their efforts towards going against the grain and truly establishing community and ownership.”

Angel D. Martin

Angel Martin

Martin feels the same. “We have a long way to go but I’m hopeful because I do think our people get it and we have a genuine love for each other and for North Omaha. I’m just hoping it’s not a day late and a dollar short.” She says even Native Omaha Days might be a catalyst for “capitalizing on connections, sharing ideas, holding roundtables, digging in and getting things moving. It takes all us all working together–those currently living here and those who used to live here.”

Love says The Days are not the pure fun they once were due to the specter of violence. The festival’s still a good time, “but when the dust settles we are still left with the new pure–poverty.”
Sundiata Menelik says all the community gatherings and dialogues are no substitute for “bootstrapping” grassroots action.

Despite much to be pessimistic about, Ean Garrett says, “We’re optimistic. We know there are people who are tired of the situation as it stands. I think there’s good people out there who do want to change some things and to do so in ways that empower people in the community to do it themselves.”

Visit http://www.infinite8institute.com/byinfinite8institute, http://www.bryantcenteromaha.org/ and nativeomahaclub.org.

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My Joslyn Community Pick is Thomas Hart Benton’s ‘The Hailstorm’ – Read what my fellow guest curators picked and why

August 3, 2015 Leave a comment

My Joslyn Community Pick is Thomas Hart Benton’s ‘The Hailstorm’ – Read what my fellow guest curators picked and why

I am proud to join a diverse group of folks weighing in on our personal favorite artworks at the Joslyn Art Museum. It’s part of what I call a people’s choice art crawl that gives members of the community like me a chance to have a voice in what is, after all, art for the people, by the people. The Joslyn calls the project, Our Museum: Community Picks. My comments and those of the other “guest curators” shared here are part of Round Two of this very cool community engagement endeavor. My comments and the other guest curator comments follow below. As a side note, I personally know and have met and in most cases interviewed at least nine of the guest curators.

Here’s how the Joslyn describes the project:

Our Museum: Community Picks (round two) is an exhibition, of sorts, with the community serving as curator. Joslyn visitors will find a collection of personal reflections, facts, and feelings shared by community members, posted alongside their favorite artworks in the galleries. See “picks” by a diverse group of people — from small business owners, nonprofit leaders, students, artists, educators, and more — each lending a unique voice, bringing a new perspective to a Joslyn treasure. We hope you enjoy the posted comments and that they encourage exploration, thought, and discussion. When you visit, stop by the My Pick station on Strauss Bridge to share a note about your favorite artwork. Or chime in via social media @joslynartmuseum. We want to hear from you!
Community Picks Meet & Greet
Thursday, August 6 @ 5:30 pm
Discover the “round two” gallery reflections and say hello to the contributors! Join us for conversation, light hors d’oeuvres, and cash bar in the Storz Fountain Court. All are welcome to attend this free event.

 


Susan Baer Collins

Theatre Artist, Non-traditional Student, University of Nebraska at Omaha

My Pick: Frederick Childe Hassam, April Showers, Champs Elysees, Paris, 1888, Gallery 9

Why It Moves Me: “Like the American Impressionist Childe Hassam, I am a huge Francophile – I just want to jump into this picture! I’m always drawn to this painting of a rainy day in Paris with crowded carriages, white horses, and bustling black umbrellas. I can’t help but project myself onto the young woman in the foreground with the bright red flower on her hat. She reminds me of the young woman with the parasol and the monkey in George Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which is also one of my favorites. I love seeing the detail of the closer figures while the trees and other objects blur in the rainy mist and the reflective puddles.”


 
Kacie Baum

Science Outreach Programs Coordinator/NE SciFest Coordinator, University of Nebraska Medical Center

My Pick: Paul Cornoyer, Paris Street Scene, 1898, Gallery 9

Why It Moves Me: “This piece instantly takes me back to walking the Paris streets with my mom a few years ago. In one quiet moment I stopped and looked down an old brick alley and saw an older gentleman walking with a coat, cane and hat. It took me back to the images of Paris years ago. When I view this painting and that man walking down the street, I’m taken back to that moment and feel like I’m there in the painting.”


 
Leo Biga

Author, Journalist & Blogger

My Pick: Thomas Hart Benton, The Hailstorm, 1940, Gallery 10

Why It Moves Me: “Benton’s rolling, roiling work dynamically renders nature quaking in storm. A lightning bolt splits into two arcs, like prongs of a pitchfork or branches of a divining rod. Clouds press heavily, ominously, darkly. The sky erupts in electric, icy bombast. Tree, farmers, donkey, dugout sway in the charged air and furious wind. Man’s pursuits so puny against vast, powerful forces. Yet Benton roots these figures resolutely on the land, of the land, weather be damned. A swirl of determined life goes on. His visceral imagery makes me feel the windswept rain, hail, dirt and hear the clap of thunder, the bray of donkey, the curses and prayers of men. This iconic American landscape straddles modernism, regionalism and folk. It goes straight from Benton’s heart, gut and mind into my individual and our collective consciousness. It never fails to arrest my attention or to fill my senses.”


 
Gregory S. Bucher

Professor, Creighton University

My Pick: Jennifer Steinkamp, Judy Crook, 2, 2012, Gallery 17

Why It Moves Me: “I love the energy of the twisting tree, the evolving palette of colors as the seasonal cycle progresses, and the drama of the blooming flowers and turning leaves. I can never leave the room without watching the entire loop several times.”


 
Bruce Carpenter

Architect, HDR

My Pick: Sol Lewitt, Seven-Part Variations on Two Different Kinds of Cubes, 1967-69, Gallery 14

Why It Moves Me: “The simplicity is a creative expression of math or more specifically geometry. There is an obvious sense of architecture in a pure form that I find intriguing. When you experience other installations or images from this series, it becomes playful in the various combinations. Moving from a strict geometric presentation to a playful experience in the variations, I believe demonstrates the brilliance evident in the creativity.”


 
Clayton Chapman

Chef & Owner, The Grey Plume

My Pick: William Robinson Leigh, A Double Crosser, Gallery 9

Why It Moves Me: “For me this painting represents not only the timeless struggle between man and beast but also conveys the insatiable will of Spirit. The evolution between horse and human is undeniably one of the oldest and most important relationships as it changed human existence forever. In countless ways, man has always been dependent upon the animals’ power. Revered by some but sadly exploited by many. We are mystified and driven by the idea of controlling or restraining something that is wild. Whether chasing an animal or chasing a dream/idea, it is all reflective of this innate desire and need. The opposing colors of the dark horse and light rider is one way this struggle is reflected. The tenacious, wild spirit of the horse and the determined but humbled spirit of the rider is portrayed by the rider’s defeat to the ground. Looking closely, one notices a slight smile on the defeated rider’s face. Perhaps, a smile of gratitude and awe. A reminder to me of the honorable balance we must constantly strive to maintain between man and beast, man and planet, need and abundance, ambition and satisfaction. “


 
Christina Clark

Professor, Creighton University

My Pick: Jean Vignaud, Abelard and Heloise Surprised by the Abbot Fulbert,1819, Gallery 2

Why It Moves Me: “I like this painting for the story it represents and the way it is represented. Abelard and Heloise are famous star-crossed lovers whose emotional, eloquent letters survive. Vignaud evokes paintings of another famous pair of lovers, Dante’s Paolo and Francesca surprised by her husband Gianciotto, through the pose, the color red, and the books nearby. It feels as if I have opened a door in the wall opposite the abbot, and we have both come upon the shocking scene together.”


 
Sen. Tanya Cook

Senator, Nebraska State Legislature

My Pick: Edwin Lord Weeks, Indian Barbers, Saharanpore, ca. 1895, Gallery 8

Why It Moves Me: “The image of an Indian bazaar evokes a multi-sensory response. I imagine the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes you might find all up and down those aisles and alleyways. I also appreciate what the painting has to say about culture and community: the bazaar was hugely important in both meeting everyday needs and in forging human relationships.”


 
Oscar Duran

Community Builder, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha

My Pick: Jules Breton, The Weeders, 1860, Gallery 4

Why It Moves Me: “This piece moves me because it reminds me of my youth and when I first began formalizing the kind of person I would grow up to be. I come from strong rural roots and recall many seasons clearing the fields in preparation for a healthy harvest. Where I grew up, this job was one of the first jobs given to children because it helped us realize the most important tools in our lives, our bodies and our attitude.”


 
Annika Ellefson

Student Artist

My Pick: Jackson Pollock, Galaxy, 1947, Gallery 16

Why It Moves Me: “When I was little my dad used to take me to Joslyn and whenever I saw Galaxy I would freak out — I would run through the galleries screaming POLLOCK POLLOCK POLLOCK in my tiny little five-year-old voice. It was one of the only times when I wasn’t told to be be quiet because I shared the interest with my dad. For me, Galaxy was a real introduction to art.”


 
Marian Fey

Executive Director, Nebraska Cultural Endowment

My Pick: Frank Tenney Johnson, Night on the Oregon Trail, 1930, Gallery 9

Why It Moves Me: “As though actually outside on a very dark night, it takes a moment to adjust to the shadows and deep colors in this painting. The details of the wagon and barren landscape become clearer as does the light from the camp fire peeking around the side of the wagon. In thinking about how lonely and isolated travelers might have felt on the trail, I find the camp fire to be a sign of comfort and security.”


 
Claudia Garcia

Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Nebraska at Omaha

My Pick: Henri Matisse, Head of a Woman, 1917, Gallery 5

Why It Moves Me: “I feel drawn by this painting because of its strength and its contrasting colors. This woman is not pretty but strong. The green background is in stark contrast with her very white face. You can see she has put on make-up, the red lipstick and the red blotches on her cheeks, but it feels more like a way of asserting who she is (saying ‘this is me’), than seducing. She isn’t even smiling- this woman is not trying to please anybody. Woman is viewed as a challenge in this painting, and the colors express that: her white face, her short brown hair on top, the different shades in the background, moving from lighter to darker green and from darker to lighter ocher tones on the right. All the colors look artificial. We’re reminded this is a representation and not reality itself, but at the same time there is strength here that speaks of an inner truth. I like the fact that it is a male artist who captured this force. The intensity of the woman’s gaze parallels the artist’s intuition and insight.”


 
Mace A. Hack

Nebraska Director, The Nature Conservancy

My Pick: George Catlin, Buffalo Hunt, ca. 1932-35, Gallery 7

Why It Moves Me: “If this scene didn’t happen in Nebraska’s Sandhills, it sure could have. It makes the gallery’s other buffalo hunt paintings seem like bucolic picnics. Fur-clad hunters and bison struggle up one snowy hill, predator and prey as one, facing the same challenge of living in this harsh environment. Yet we’re the ones with bigger brains, hence the snow shoes, long spears, and slim advantage. Could I ever do this? I am in awe of these tough, smart people who preceded us.”


 
Brook Hudson

Omaha Fashion Week

My Pick: Stuart Davis, American Painting, 1932-51, Gallery 10

Why It Moves Me: “We loved American Painting by Stuart Davis first because it attracted our nine-month old daughter with its bright colors and bold shapes. In doing further research, we appreciated it even more because of its celebration of the New York City skyline, which is very much a part of our life in the fashion world. It truly reminds us of the hustle and bustle of the iconic fashion capital and gets us excited to share the experience of traveling to that city with our daughter in the future. It is also quite meaningful that Davis had a transatlantic inspiration early in his career, as we are a transatlantic family! Nick is a UK native and I am a Nebraskan, living together in Omaha. Now we have our own little masterpiece in Charlotte, who represents our European and American cultural influences, much like this painting.”


 
Tarna Kidder

Construction Services and Special Projects Manager, Kiewit Building Group Inc

My Pick: Karl Bodmer, Remarkable Elevations on the Banks of the Missouri, 1833, Gallery 7

Why It Moves Me: “I love all of Karl Bodmer’s work. Not only are they beautiful pieces of art in their own right, but they are also amazing for their historical perspective documenting some of the first sights of the American West. I especially enjoy the watercolor landscapes with their muted tones and haziness, because even today these are the vistas in Nebraska and South Dakota that are so breathtaking.”


 
Valery Killscrow Copeland

Native American Advocate, Lincoln Public Schools

My Pick: Edith Claymore, Dewey Valise, ca. 1900, Gallery 7

Why It Moves Me: “I love Joslyn Art Museum because it is filled with many extraordinary works of art by famous and not-so-famous-artists. One skilled artist you may have never heard of is Edith Claymore, from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Nakota artist beaded this fantastic Woodland design bag. It’s unique because the Hunkpapa Sioux typically used geometric designs in their art in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This piece is priceless because of its unique design and the detailed combination of Lazy Stitch and Applique beadwork. The bag is made with precision skill that takes decades of practice to accomplish. I appreciate the talents of the artist and I understand the complex design process to make such an exquisite piece, because I’m also a Native American Beading Artist. Lela Washtay Woksu! Very Good Beadwork!”


 
Chris Kircher

Vice President, Corporate Affairs and President, ConAgra Foods Foundation

My Pick: Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Dirck van Os, ca. 1658, Gallery 3

Why It Moves Me: “This portrait moves me both from an historic and an artistic perspective. It’s a snapshot in time, capturing not just the detail and look of the period, but also the feeling and emotion of the subject himself. The artist’s dramatic use of light and shadows is particularly impressive. I believe Rembrandt would agree that painstaking restoration efforts have brought this painting back to its original intent, and he’d be proud to know that it’s found an ideal home here in Omaha.”


 
Melinda Kozel

Manager of the Kaneko UNO Creativity Library

My Pick: Jackson Pollock, Galaxy, 1947, Gallery 16

Why It Moves Me: “There is something that happens to you when you look at a Jackson Pollock painting. You start out by finding a spot to start looking and your eyes will then follow a drip line of paint into a pool. Then a splatter nearby steals your attention and you follow that instead. This painting which seems to be about nothing – with no focal point, figure or composition – is actually about you, the paint, and your time together.”


 
Jan Lund

Retired Adjunct Assistant Professor, French, Creighton University

My Pick: Camille Pissarro, Haymakers, Evening, Eragny, 1893, Gallery 5

Why It Moves Me: “It makes me very happy that Joslyn has this painting by Camille Pissarro. It gives me an utterly joyous feeling, bathed as it is in an idealized glow of light, health and abundance. Pissarro is one of the lesser known but most important of the Impressionist painters. His profound knowledge of social philosophy informs much of his art, and far exceeded that of any other significant painter of the period. Pissarro’s influence on his fellow Impressionists is probably still underestimated today. Ahead of his time, and a primary developer of the Impressionist style, we see in this painting his experimentation with the techniques that would lead Seurat, Signac, and others to Pointillism.”


 
Estelle M.

Student, Joslyn Art Camp

My Pick: Dale Chihuly, Chihuly: Inside & Out, 2000, Strauss Bridge

Why It Moves Me: “Abstract art always inspires me to create my own art so I think this piece is really an amazing and inspirational sculpture.”


 
Linda S. Meigs

Artist, Preservationist & Mill-Lady (Founder & Director of the historic Florence Mill)

My Pick: N. C. Wyeth, Untitled, 1919, Gallery 7

Why It Moves Me: “My compass for travel usually faces West. I love the stories, personalities and its isolated, overpowering nature. I enjoy serendipity, surprise and the intersection of art and history. N. C. Wyeth’s painting both delights and haunts me. I am amazed at how contemporary it looks for having been created around World War I. His use of color, dramatic lights, darks, and loose painterly strokes are quite modern. Strong diagonals create a composition of action. One can almost hear the new-fangled engine roar, tires spin and the startled shouts and whinnies. This painting also speaks to me of a narrative… a shift in history. The artist’s subject and technique can be seen as a metaphor for the dramatic cultural, social, and industrial changes taking place after World War I. It speaks of a clash of culture, lifestyle and the end of an era. This work moves me on several levels. Though designed for advertising, the painting is beautiful and exciting. Yet its message is poignant. N. C. Wyeth masterfully controlled contrasts… both visually and thematically.”


 
Shaun Murphy

Student

My Pick: Jennifer Steinkamp, Judy Crook, 2, 2012, Gallery 17

Why It Moves Me: “It’s a really unique piece; before visiting Joslyn I’d never seen anything like it. It almost feels like it’s responding to my motion. I love how the wind blows, the seasons change, and the mix of natural and artificial colors. Seeing Judy Crook, 2, leaves me with a real sense of happiness.”


 
Imani Murray

Student, Central High School

My Pick: Artist unknown (East Indian, 18th century), Ganesha, 18th century, Balcony

Why It Moves Me: “I love how soft it is both in form and color. I love the composition, all of the small pieces, his face, his trunk, the things he’s holding, come together to create a powerful presence.”


 
Cathy Nelson

Teacher Leader, OPS

My Pick: Grant Wood, Stone City, Iowa, 1930, Gallery 10

Why It Moves Me: “I love how the artist created a pastoral Iowa scene that is reminiscent of the state’s rural roots, and then… Wait a minute–those aren’t trees and bushes!! Why, I see peas, and broccoli, and watermelons! So clever and creative! I looked at the painting many times before I actually ‘saw’ its composition. It serves as a good lesson to me to look past the obvious…”


 
Gwendolyn Olney

Associate Counsel, BH Media Group

My Pick: Thomas Moran, The Pearl of Venice, Gallery 8

Why It Moves Me: “I’ve loved this piece since I was a little girl. The lush, deep colors of the boats and water in the foreground draw you into the painting and then fade into the light, whimsical city background. Venice appears both romantic and exotic, and the painting drives my desire to travel.”


 
Brian Smith

Curator of TEDxOmaha

My Pick: François-Edouard Cibot, Fallen Angels, 1833, Gallery 2

Why It Moves Me: “Unrepentant, powerful, full of muscle and thunder. I’m attracted by the dissonance: the imperfection of the dimensions of the eyes, the ropy arm of the seated angel, the clash of blinding light and suffocating darkness. There is another future to erupt from these two. A personal bonus, the balding angel reminds me of musician Jimmy Flemion, who often performed with strap-on wings.”


 
Jannette Taylor

Director of Programming, NorthStar Foundation

My Pick: Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Grief of the Pasha, 1882, Gallery 4

Why It Moves Me: “I am moved by this painting because it displays the deep connection we have with other living beings. The fact that he is mourning the loss of an adult tiger, leads me to believe they have had a very long and meaningful relationship. It is a wild animal. I love the color in this painting. The images represent almost every human emotion; love, compassion, grief, loneliness, empathy and acceptance. Pasha is in such dismay over the loss of his friend, you can feel the despair through the image. I think we can all relate to this.”


 
Roger Weitz

General Director, Opera Omaha

My Pick: Karl Bodmer, Schuh-De-Gá-Che, Ponca Chief, 1833, Gallery 7

Why It Moves Me: “Joslyn is not just a building with paintings on the wall; it is an interactive space for creative expression with the community. I was most recently reminded of this while attending a performance of Prince Max’s Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior in Joslyn’s Witherspoon Concert Hall, the world premiere of a new play by Ellen Struve in collaboration with the Great Plains Theatre Conference. The moving play prompted me to revisit Joslyn’s Bodmer collection where I was with great art, again, both challenged and rewarded.”


 
Richard White

Professor of Philosophy, Creighton University

My Pick: Jean Vignaud, Abelard and Heloise Surprised by the Abbot Fulbert,1819, Gallery 2

Why It Moves Me: “Abelard was a brilliant professor and Heloise was his pupil. They fell in love, and the rest is history. But here is the crucial moment that Vignaud captures so well: Heloise’s uncle discovers the couple together and you can tell he isn’t happy! Is it jealousy, or just the hatred of anything that celebrates life? There is so much to think about in this painting! Perhaps it is the conjunction of love and loss that makes us who we are.”


 
Pam Wiese

VP of Marketing & PR, Nebraska Humane Society

My Pick: Thomas Moran, The Pearl of Venice, 1899, Gallery 8

Why It Moves Me: “I find this painting a very satisfying juxtaposition. It’s very calming at first glance, as the whole bottom third of the canvas depicts an epic expanse of water. But as you step closer you see astonishingly intimate detail of life and activity aboard the boats. The city behind is lit from the side and reflected in the calm water, but the moon is still peeking out (maybe early morning sun?) so it holds all the exciting promise and possibilities of a new day. I can imagine gondoliers gliding across the cool water, the smell of coffee and melodic voices speaking Italian as the city wakes up!”


 
Thomas Wilkins

Music Director, Omaha Symphony

My Pick: Keith Jacobshagen, All Souls, 1994-95, Gallery 16

Why It Moves Me: “Like a Beethoven Symphony, Jacobshagen’s All Souls humbles me. The coexistence of the sky’s grandeur and the welcoming intimacy of the seemingly by comparison tiny land mass is stunning. It reaffirms for me how delicious a gift it is, to know that though we exist in the midst of something much greater than ourselves, we are everyday invited to be a part of it… whether it’s life altering music or life itself.”


 
Nancy Williams

Chief Information Officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands

My Pick: Alexander Brook, Frogtown Lady, 1939, Gallery 10

Why It Moves Me: “I love it because of the contemplation in her expression. Was it good enough? How can I make it better? Did I really hear that? What else could be done? The acceptance of – it is what it is. There is more. I can get there. We get there. The questions that many women ask and the conclusions that many of us usually get to after contemplation.”


 
Suzanne Wise

Executive Director, Nebraska Arts Council

My Pick: Jesús Moroles, The Omaha Riverscape 2008-09, Sculpture Garden

Why It Moves Me: “I like the way this installation involves all of your senses. It is magical on a summer evening when you hear and feel the cooling effects of the water and the lights cast interesting shadows. I think you have to spend a bit of time with it, and when you do, lots of interesting ideas emerge, like the fact it’s made of granite, which doesn’t seem remotely like the Georgia Pink granite of the building. It’s a great ‘front door’ to the Museum.”

Change in North Omaha: It’s been a long time coming for northeast Omaha

August 1, 2015 1 comment

With Native Omaha Days in full swing, here’s a new story I wrote for the August issue of The Reader that sounds out some African-American residents for their take on northeast Omaha’s challenges and what can be done to revitalize that area. Hard copies should now be out and about in North O, Midtown, Downtown and the Old Market, among other places.

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North Omaha Summer Arts Crawl – Friday, August 14 from 6 to 9 pm


North Omaha Arts Crawl 2015-3-1

North Omaha native, resident and artist Pamela Jo Berry saw a need for more art to be infused into her community. So she dreamed up something called North Omaha Summer Arts (NOSA) in order to bring art in all its forms into that underserved neighborhood. With the help of partners and collaborators she’s made it a reality.

This free arts festival for the community, by the community wraps up Year 5 with the annual Arts Crawl- Friday, August 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. At venues up and down and around North 30th Street. Take a stroll or drive from Metropolitan College Fort Omaha campus north to various churches to Heartland Family Service/Solomon Girls Center to enjoy inspiring visual art and soothing live music by artists from the community. Sample the work of established and emerging artists in a wide variety of mediums.

Free refreshments and homemade snacks at each stop.

Before, during or after the Crawl, enjoy some of North Omaha’s other resources, including the Loves Jazz & Arts Center, the Carver Bank, the Union for Contemporary Art, the Bryant Center, Miller Park and the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation.

The Arts Crawl lineup:

Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus, Mule Barn Building #21 New this year: Omaha Fashion Week at the Mule Barn

Church of the Resurrection, 3004 Belvedere Blvd. (just northwest of 30th and Kansas Ave.)

Trinity Lutheran Church, 6340 North 30th St. (30th and Redick) Featuring a Community Peace mural made by teens and seniors from the North Omaha Intergenerational Human Services Campus

Parkside Baptist Church, 3008 Newport Ave. (30th and Newport Ave.)

Heartland Family Service/Solomon Girls Center, 6720 North 30th St. (30th and Titus Ave.)

NEW THIS YEAR:

Washington Branch Library, 2868 Ames Ave. is hosting an Arts Crawl reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Enjoy art and refreshments at the library.

FREE and open to the public. Family friendly.

Please come participate in this important milestone of 5 years bringing art to North Omaha. Your support is appreciated.

For more info, email pamelajoh100@hotmail.com or call 402-502-4669/402-709-1359.

Thank you,

The North Omaha Summer Arts team

P.S. Please pass the word to friends, family, colleagues. Like and share our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NorthOmahaSummerArts. Visit and share our North Omaha Summer Arts Crawl Facebook Event page.

Coming Soon: A new book I wrote with Father Ken Vavrina, “Crossing Bridges,” the story of this beloved Omaha priest’s uplifitng life among the downtrodden

July 24, 2015 5 comments

Blank bookcover with clipping path

Blank bookcover with clipping path

COMING SOON A new book I wrote with Father Ken Vavrina-
“Crossing Bridges”

The story of this beloved Omaha priest’s uplifitng life among the downtrodden.

Look for future posts about where you can get your copies. All proceeds will be donated to Catholic organizations.

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Attention must be paid: In the spirit of Everyone Has A Story To Tell…


Attention must be paid

In the spirit of Everyone Has A Story To Tell…

Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “Everyone has a story to tell.” Few of us, however, behave as if we believe that sentiment to be true. Most of us ignore, if not dismiss the experiences of others unless those experiences happen to belong to a close friend or family member or unless the experiences are attractively, compellingly packaged in some commercial media product. It’s hard to deny we tend to tune out stories that do not immediately appeal to our sense of curiosity and thirst for drama, tragedy, inspiration, entertainment, titillation or pure distraction. We are increasingly reliant on media channels to tell us what is worthy of our attention. More than ever before we are programmed to overlook all but the most trending or iconic or marketable stories amid the glut of data – videos, sound bytes, headlines, texts, tweets – coming at us from a multiplicity of communication-information platforms. This tendency to abdicate our personal investment of time and energy and inquisitiveness to get to know someone in our immediate reality, such as a neighbor, a coworker or the mailman, to an impersonal web search engine’s recommended list of newsmakers and celebrities we will likely never meet, makes it harder for every day people to authentically know one another. In this supposed golden age of interconnectedness the irony is that we can find ourselves increasingly disconnected from each other’s true lives and intimate stories as we more and more settle for “knowing” people by their usernames, tag lines, logos and avatars and “following” their lives virtually via social media.
I believe this phenomenon accounts for the basic lack of respect that permeates too many interactions and transactions between people these days. If you’re too busy or stressed or self-involved or condescending to get to know someone, you’re more likely to be rude or indifferent to them.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. How we attend to people and to their personal stories and spaces is still a matter of choice, a matter of intention.

For all this talk about the distancing, distorting effect of media, good journalists continue playing a vital role as storytellers who focus past the noise of all that clutter to flesh out the narratives of individuals from every walk of life. Human interest stories they’re called. Far more than filler or fodder, they are portraits and snapshots of a society and a period. They are windows into the human soul. They remind us of our shared traits and of our boundless differences. They are markers for the human condition. I’m proud to say I make my living doing this. I’ve even branded myself – God knows we all need to be able to reduce the sum of our parts to a brand in order to be relevant in today’s hash-tag environment – with the tagline: “I write stories about people, their passions and their magnificent obsessions.” Which is to say, as the cliche goes, I write about what makes people tick. I prefer to think of it as giving voice to the things that drive people to create, to endeavor, to aspire, to grow, to build, to sacrifice, to carry on. The reason I devote myself to this discipline and calling is that I truly do embrace the notion that we all have a story to tell. For that matter, we all have many stories to tell. In one way or another, we’re all subjects and characters worthy of being interviewed, profiled, remembered because we all have things to teach others and to move others.

It would be a shame, wouldn’t it, if someone, and it just happened to be me, didn’t tell the story of an Old Market eccentric named Lucile who dressed all in orange and decorated her home with decades worth of architectural remnants she’d collected? Or what about the classical violinist who plays in major symphony orchestras and rigorously practices Buddhism and incongruously lives in a trailer and works a warehouse day job. I wouldn’t have missed his story for the world but the world almost missed out on it if not for him telling me the story of his life and me writing it up and getting it published. Then there’s the master of Spanish classical guitar who once shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with his legendary mentor and yet who continued to compete in professional rodeos, Why put his fingers and hands at great risk? Because Hadley loved his art and his cowboy roots equally. Both were necessary expressions of his unquenchable lust for life.

I loved the story of the little old man from the Pennsylvania German anthracite coal mines. In his youth he broke horses along the Colorado River and during World War II he helped the U.S. military learn the secrets of advanced German jet fighter technology. Then as a venerable scholar he translated the massive diaries of a 19th century German prince whose expedition of the vanishing Western America frontier provided an invaluable glimpse of life in that period.

I’ll never forget a woman and her remarkable transformation, which is happening as we speak and continues to bloom. In relatively short order she’s gone from life as a substance abuser, stripper and prostitute to surviving a failed marriage to raising three children on her own to finding her and her family homeless at times as she tried getting things together. While still homeless off and on she launched a business making skin lotions, cleaners and scents using shea butter. Her business has attracted major backers and her products are now sold in stores across America. The topper to all this is that she wants most of the proceeds to support an African mission she’s established to help villagers who harvest the shea butter she uses in her products.

Memorable too is the music lover from Omaha who was part of an all-black WWII quartermaster battalion. He and 15 others from Omaha – they called themselves The Sweet 16 – served together all the way from induction to basic training to North Africa to Italy. After the war Billy earned money as taxi driver, railroad baggage handle and gambling house proprietor. He also quietly amassed a staggeringly large music collection and made sure he and his war buddies stayed in touch via reunions.

I could go on and on. The point is, remarkable, compelling stories are all around us. Until you ask, until you show some interest, you just won’t know that Brenda, the spirited old woman singing karaoke at the local bar, performed with Johnny Cash and toured Vietnam during the war with an all-girl band. You’d never guess that Helen, the elderly school para, was the lead trombonist in a multi-racial all-girl band that played the Apollo Theatre and all the top clubs and concert halls from the start of the Great Depression through the war. You’d never learn that Marion, the double amputee confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home, was arguably the best all-around athlete to ever come out of Neb, and that he integrated Dana College, where some of his athletic marks still stand 60 years later.

More recently, there’s the story of the priest who shook off his small town Neb. roots in one sense but never lost his homespun quality in another sense while ministering to diverse peoples in underserved communities and developing nations. Father Ken worked for Mother Teresa serving lepers in Yemen. He ran Catholic Relief Services humaniatian aid programs in India and Liberia. He learned many lessons in crossing all those cultural bridges and borders and he shares those lessons in a new book I collaborated with him on that comes out this fall. Then there’s Bud, a young man who has risen out of harsh conditions in northeast Omaha to become a world boxing champion. I recently traveled with him to Uganda and Rwanda, Africa, a pair of countries he’s visited twice in the last year. I went to chronicle his ever expanding exploration of the world and how the self-sufficiency and empowerment programs he witnessed in those East African nations relate to what he’s trying to do at his B & B Boxing Academy in North Omaha.

It is my privilege to tell these stories. Because I am a storyteller by trade, I also see it as my duty. With all the ready means for communication available today, I think it’s incumbent on us all to tell our stories and to tell the stories of those around us. That means talking to people and capturing their stories in words and images and putting those stories out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or an amateur, a staff reporter or a stringer or a freelancer or a citizen journalist or a blogger. It doesn’t have to be journalism either. It can be stories told through still or moving images, through music, through poetry, through fiction, you name it. Off-line, on-line, hard cover, soft cover, CD, DVD, slide show, stage show, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good. It’s all about getting it down and putting it our there. It’s all raw material that can be the basis for dialogue, discussion, or study. Take my word, once you tell a story that distills the essence of someone, it will leave an impact on that person and their family. It will captivate an audience and it will start a conversation. And more stories will follow and reveal themselves as a result. It’s all about acknowledging lives and experiences. Preserving legacies and memories. To be passed on. To be discovered and rediscovered. Lest we forget, lest we never know, attention must be paid.

It’s why I’m a big proponent of oral history projects that collect the stories of rank and file citizens right alongside those of community, business, and elected leaders, celebrities and social mavens. I’m trying to put together one of these projects right now in North Omaha. We can never really know or appreciate each other until we tell our stories and share them.

Now that’s what I call connecting.

NOTE: You can sample the stories I tell about people, their passions and their magnificent obsessions on this blog-
leoadambiga.wordpress.com
Or on my Facebook timeline or FB page, My Inside Stories.

North Omaha Summer Arts presents: Art and Gardening


North Omaha Summer Arts continues its FREE community, family-friendly festival with an Art and Gardening event on July 18. More events through mid-August. Read more below and watch for weekly updates and announcements here.

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North Omaha Summer Arts (NOSA) celebrates 5 years. Come be a part of this FREE community festival for the whole family!!

Saturday, July 18th
Art and Gardening
10 am – 12 pm
Join NOSA, No More Empty Pots & WhyArts @ Florence Branch Library making art on clay pots and planting flowers that attract pollinators. Pots provided but bring your own pots if you like. Call 402-502-4669 to register but registration not required.

Mon. – Fri., July 20-24
Mural Making Community Project
9 am – 12 pm
Youth participants from Project Everlast, YouthLinks and Solomon Girls will collaborate with Heartland Family Service Senior Center residemts to create a mobile mural with the theme of Peace in North Omaha. Participants will work under the supervision of muralist and sculptor Pamela Hinson at the HFS Intergenerational Campus. The mural will have its first public showing at the NOSA Arts Crawl on August 14.

Weds. through July 29
Women’s Writing Workshops; An Adventure in Art Journaling
6 – 8 pm
Kim Whiteside leads workshops at Trinity Lutheran Church

Friday, August 14th
NOSA 5th annual Arts Crawl
6 – 9 pm
Featuring work by established and emerging artists.Take a stroll or a drive down North 30th Street from Metropolitan College Fort Omaha campus north to various churches to Heartland Family Service/Solomon Girls Center.

The Arts Crawl lineup:

Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campue, Mule Barn Building #21

Church of the Resurrection, 3004 Belvedere Blvd. (just northwest of 30th and Kansas Ave.)

Trinity Lutheran Church, 6340 North 30th St. (30th and Redick)

Parkside Baptist Church, 3008 Newport Ave. (30th and Newport Ave.)

Heartland Family Service/Solomon Girls Center, 6720 North 30th St. (30th and Titus Ave.)

NEW THIS YEAR: The Washington Branch Library, 2868 Ames Ave. is hosting an Arts Crawl reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Enjoy art and refreshments at the library.

Remember all NOSA activities are FREE and open to the public.

Please come participate in this important milestone of 5 years bringing art to North Omaha. Your support is appreciated.

For more info, email pamelajoh100@hotmail.com or call 402-502-4669/402-709-1359

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