You may not know it, but Omaha has a thriving arts scene. Not only are we home to one of the best performing arts programs outside of New York City, but we also happen to have several amazing art museums, galleries and art-related events for you to enjoy all year long.
But when we’re stuck at home, it can be hard to support the arts as much as we’d like to. Luckily, there are several ways we can help. Below, we’ve rounded up a few ideas of things you can do to support the Omaha arts community from the safety of your own home.
While we know that measures are loosening in the Omaha area, and soon we’ll (hopefully) be able to support these organizations and artists in person, it may still be a while before the arts are fully on their feet again. Join us in lending a helping hand, however you can.
Participate in a Community Art Project
One of our favorite art institutions in the area, KANEKO, has crafted a new art project and is asking for your help! The Tessellation Project is a community-focused effort that is compiling artwork from individuals all over the area and putting them together in one, amazing work of art. KANEKO is asking contributions to create art at home and then email in a photo, in the hope that art can help get us through this difficult time. You can learn more about the project here.
Buy artwork from an artist online
Although you can’t go to galleries in person or attend art openings, you can still view work online. In fact, we’re willing to bet you’re probably spending a lot more time online now! Buying and renting art online is becoming more common and connecting to artists directly has never been easier. Unsure about where to go to buy art? Head to our list of 14 Local Omaha Artists You Can Support Online. And if your favorite local artist doesn’t have an online store, we encourage you to reach out to them directly to see how you can support them.
Consider not asking for a refund for past purchases
If you’ve recently purchased tickets to a play, show, gallery opening, museum visit or another arts destination in Omaha that has now been canceled, consider not requesting a refund. The funds that are generated from ticket sales are invaluable to arts institutions, and as they won’t be putting on many shows during the pandemic, that money can help them continue to pay their bills and employees.
Photo courtesy of Omaha Performing Arts
If you are financially able, consider donating the money that you would have spent on tickets to live performances or exhibition tickets to art organizations, arts nonprofits and artists instead. Many arts institutions in the area—from Omaha Performing Arts and Omaha Community Playhouse to The Hot Shops Art Center, The Bemis Center and The Joslyn Art Museum—accept donations. There are also quite a few arts organizations in Omaha that could use your help, like Amplify Arts, Arts for All, Film Streams, The Nebraska Arts Council and more.
As for smaller artists, many GoFundMe accounts have popped up across the city to offer local support to artists and freelance communities. Omaha Creative COVID-19 Support Fundraiser, created by the Omaha Creative Directory, is currently looking for support as they raise money for local artists financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Consider donating if you can. You can click here to get started.
Participate in an online art class
Selling art isn’t the only way that local artists support themselves. Many artists teach at universities or after-school programs, or teach workshops. Due to the virus, many conferences, workshops, classes and more are being canceled or postponed. But there are still some artists who are now offering online courses to help teach you how to paint, weave, sing, knit, carve, play an instrument and more—all from the comfort of your own home.
The 402 Arts Collective is now offering music and visual art lessons virtually, giving you the chance to meet face-to-face with a local art instructor without even having to get in your car! All you have to do is choose what type of instrument or art form you want to learn and choose “Online Lesson” during registration.
Buy a ticket to a future show
Photo courtesy of Christian Robertson via the Omaha Community Playhouse
A lot of performing art venues in Omaha are still selling tickets online for late 2020/early 2021 performances. We encourage you to take advantage of early-bird pricing and pick up a ticket for a show later this year. Not only will it give you the chance to see some fantastic productions, but you’ll also help ensure that those performing arts venues can stay open for many years to come. If you want to help out further, several venues are also selling season subscriptions right now—including The Omaha Community Playhouse—which will get you access to all of their shows next season.
Attend exhibitions and openings online
Just because in-person gatherings are not happening doesn’t mean you can’t view art and keep up on openings. In response to event closures, institutions and individuals are getting creative with how their work is shared with the world. Embrace the accessibility of online exhibits and openings and “attend” virtually.
Joslyn Art Museum is now offering a free, weekly art series to help you and your family learn more about their collection and to make a bit of art while you’re at it. They are also hosting free, virtual tours of the museum you can explore from the comfort of your own home.
Amplify Arts will be hosting virtual installations and performances each week beginning May 8th and ending June 19th. Click here to stay updated.
How are you helping?
Let us know how you’ve been supporting Omaha’s thriving arts community during this difficult time, in the comments below!