by The Reader Writers


In 26 years of publication, this is a first; with no events to cover, The Reader’s cultural team thought long and hard how about how to keep you connected with local arts and culture as you while away your time at home. Shifting our crowd-sourcing skills into high gear, we compiled as many sanity-enhancing ideas as possible to help our readers ride the storm out without anyone coughing on them.

We’ve compiled a robust list, and we’ll be bringing it to you category by category. From Film Editor Ryan Syrek’s screen time promotion to Visual Arts Editor Mike Krainak’s Artful Dodgers to B.J. Huchtemann’s blues-tinged community support for artists, we’ve got a bit of something for everyone.

As the situation continues to shift and change and we all need a break, what can you do to stay sane and help others? Can you think of something we missed?  Share your tips!

Duh – Generally Good Ideas  

1. Go Outside and Take a Walk! There’s plenty of room to keep social distancing while enjoying the Spring weather.

2. Surprise Your Partner with a self-isolation gift of roses or sunflowers from Piccolo’s Florist. They’re offering free delivery at


3. Get Counted, Complete the Census. Every household in America should have received a Census Bureau mailing with instructions on how to complete this decade’s census, probably online. Filling out the census is critical for political representation and federal resources for our community. If you received a paper questionnaire, you are likely in an area projected to have low online participation, which means if you don’t send back the paper questionnaire, you’re also more likely to have a canvasser knock on your door this summer to get your information manually.


4. Get Your Mail-In Ballot for the Primary. 2020 is not the year to sit out of politics, so make sure you can vote easily from the comfort of your home. Just complete this form and email it to or, depending on your county. Even cooler, you can check online to see when your ballot is counted.


5. Support Your Favorite Local Businesses by Voting Them the Best! The Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O! is one of the oldest and most credible local business surveys. We set the standard for one person-one vote, banning vote buying and using an independent accounting firm to tally the results. Fill out every category and increase your chance of winning prizes and supporting more local business. You can also vote every day (what else do you have to do right now?) in the Omaha World Herald’s Omaha’s Choice Awards, through April 19.


6. Pro Bono Pro Video. Medical professionals or public officials who need help communicating in English or Spanish with video/multimedia can contact Miguel Cedillo of Make Believe Media. Help is 100% pro-bono and all done remotely. Email


7.  Are You Suddenly Gigless? Here are some good resources for artists, helpfully curated by the online Facebook Group “National Women in Blues:”, (to get patrons), (to sell jingles), (another option to livestream), (to teach). For gigs work:,, (vetts employers, charges fee), For free-lance writing:


8. Hope and Courage. Be kind to yourself and practice kindness and compassion to others. Give where you can, try to do things that give you joy. Use the phone or texting or social media to stay connected with friends (virtual happy hours are popping up) and do what you can to safely check on vulnerable friends and neighbors. We are in unprecedented times, our choices have never mattered more.


9. Earth Day Goes On!  Saturday, April 18th from 11 to 6 p.m., the Omaha Earth Day Coalition will hold a virtual gathering to talk about urgent environmental issues and your part in creating a cleaner, more conscious world. Local green organizations, demos, tutorials, and music performances to educate and inspire. Get the latest on Facebook and Instagram.

10. Leave At Least One Great Review per Day for the Local, Independent Businesses You Love. Yeah, we know, you were planning to write that review after that great experience you had with a local, independent business, but NOW YOU HAVE TIME! Be thoughtful, write a lengthy review that explains the product or service offered well and the exceptional service you received. The more informative the review, the more it helps the business. Try to name names to give special shout-outs to employees. Google reviews matter most, followed by Yelp and then a Facebook recommendation.

(Contributors: John Heaston, B.J. Huchtemann, Lynn Sanchez, Sam Crisler)

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