It was a warm day, one of the first reaching sixty degrees this March. Locals can be seen outside biking, walking and talking. At the Union for Contemporary Art, it is wild with artists and people viewing artwork, conversing, attending workshops and reconnecting in the beginning of spring.
The Omaha Zine Fest has been a part of the community for the past few years and takes the spring by storm. It has always been hosted at the Union for Contemporary Art but with attendance rising it is likely a new space will be needed to hold all attendees and booths.
The fest features over 30 booths of local artists, organizations and designers displaying and selling their work. It was an incredible opportunity to personally connect with artists and analyze their work while viewing work ranging from photo accumulations of 20 pages to small poetry compilations of 5 pages.
There is a multitude of topics addressed in work ranging from social justice to mental health to activities such as skateboarding. A majority of the artists are local Nebraskans but many travel to attend or have a booth from all parts of the United States.
Zine Fest also featured fun educational lectures. They featured topics such as knowing ones rights, prison abolition, the history of spices, making low budget zines, and mapping ones assets.
2019 was well attended and featured sales of artwork, many booths selling out even. The warm and positive attitude in the space was welcoming and enlightening to see after the length of our rough winter. It is an incredible event that is highly recommended to put on your calendar for 2020!
For more information, please visit: https://www.omahazinefest.org
The Joslyn Art Museum was built in Omaha originally in 1931. It was funded by Sarah Joslyn in honor of her husband. The museum works to foster love and appreciation for the arts featuring artwork from the past in its permanent collection and contemporary work in its temporary exhibitions. The current exhibition is "30 Americans". It is an exhibition from the Rubell Family Collection. The show is on display from February 2 to May 5 of 2019. The museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10am- 4pm , Thursday from 10am-8pm and Sunday from 10am- 4pm. The museum is free of entry and the special exhibition does have a small cost.
The exhibition "30 Americans" is from the Rubell Family Collection that is Miami based. It is a traveling show that has graced Omaha with its presence. This show is phenomenal for its examination of social justice and political issues in the United States particularly that of race and sexuality as examined in the work. It examines discrimination and oppression through a lens of the 1970's to the current climate in the country and how privilege and power has allowed these issues to continue. The show features a mixture of mediums ranging from instillation, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and video.
The intentions and subject matter of the pieces is strong and at times may make the viewer uncomfortable but as mentioned by many of the artists, is necessary to initiate conversation about the status of these issues today. The subject matter ranges from discussion of lack of students of color in schools and historical paintings to stereotypes of race. Other pieces such as one from artist Wangechi Mutu showcase the difficult path to achieving citizenship and Nick Cave who created suits of found materials to hide bodies and provide unbiased interactions. The meaning of Cave's piece is to make the viewer consider that they may have personal bias' in their own interactions and initiate work to change this.
"30 Americans" is an extraordinary exhibit and one of the first showcases at Joslyn to survey contemporary work from all African American Artists. It is worth the visit and will leave one with profound feelings and concerns about the status of race and oppression in America currently in comparison with the past. If you get the chance, please stop by to experience and consider the issues these artists have faced and express in their work.
The show features the artists: Nina Abney, John Bankston, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Robert Colescott, Noah Davis, Leonardo Drew, Renee Green, David Hammons, Barkley Hendricks, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Kale Linzy, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Wangechi Mutu , Pope.L , Rozeal , Gary Simmons , Xaviera Simmons, Lorna Simpson , Shinique Smith , Henry Taylor , Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker , Carrie Mae Weems , Kehinde Wiley and Purvis Young.
For more information on "30 Americans", visit https://www.joslyn.org/collections-and-exhibitions/temporary-exhibitions/details.aspx?ID=1498. For more information about the Joslyn Art Museum, visit https://www.joslyn.org.
The stage is set, the lights are dim, a well-curated music playlist fills the room. It’s a Wednesday night at The B Side of Benson Theatre, and Riverside Chats is about to begin.
Riverside Chats is essentially a live podcast, recorded on a stage with an audience invited to participate in the conversation. A collaboration between Aksarben Creative and Benson Theatre, the show began in January, commencing with local comedian Cameron Logsdon as the featured guest.
The show takes the format of an hour-long conversation between the guest and host Tom Knoblauch, a local filmmaker. Knoblauch, who co-founded Aksarben Creative, strives to help people tell their stories.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to do a live talk show,” said Knoblauch. “I’m very excited to partner with Benson Theatre to make that happen.”
The B Side of Benson Theatre aims to raise funds for restoration of the historic Benson Theatre through community events such as Riverside Chats.
Knoblauch and Aksarben Creative have taken an interest in exploring Omaha culture. When pursuing a venue for the show, Knoblauch sought an opportunity to partner with a business or organization with strong community connections. The theatre restoration project in the heart of Benson caught his attention.
“The Benson Theatre renovation is a great local project. It will be a great venue for Benson upon completion with the support of the community.”
Future guests include Rachel Jacobson of Film Streams (March 6) and congressional candidate Kara Eastman (March 27). Knoblauch encourages anyone doing something interesting in Omaha to reach out about being a featured guest on the show.
For more information on Riverside Chats or to listen to previous episodes, please visit aksarbencreative.com/riverside-chats. More information on Benson Theatre can be found at bensontheatre.org.
Our Newsroom editors are current interns of BFF - most are students at UNO.