If you think of cities with an established art scene, you think of New York or Los Angeles… but not Omaha. Yes, this big small town isn’t a sprawling concrete metropolis, but it’s a disservice to say there’s nothing happening here culturally! Omaha does have an emerging art scene, but you need to go to the right places to find it.

Here’s your handy-dandy guide to the top ten art galleries in Omaha.

sometimes.we.cannot. be.with.our.bodies.
sometimes.we.cannot. be.with.our.bodies. Photo courtesy Union for Contemporary Art

The Union for Contemporary Art

  • 2423 North 24th Street
  • Omaha, NE 68110
  • Hours: Tuesday 2pm–8pm, Wednesday & Thursday 12pm–8pm, Friday 11am–7pm, Saturday 10am–5pm
  • https://www.u-ca.org/

A center for the celebration of art and community, The Union for Contemporary Art welcomes everyone into their space as they are. Located in North Omaha, The Union’s exhibitions focus on social justice and how art can change culture for the better. Recent exhibition’s like that of Vanessa German, place the lived experiences of the most marginalized people at the forefront. Artists Delita Martin and Leslie DiuGuid have forthcoming in-person exhibitions this fall at The Union.

Marcela Díaz: Contemporary Textiles
Marcela Díaz: Contemporary Textiles. Photo courtesy Visit Omaha.

El Museo Latino

It should come as no surprise that a space in South Omaha, where the city’s Latino population is concentrated, would focus on Latino culture. El Museo Latino does just that, ranging from permanent installations of Ancient Latin American art to the most contemporary artmaking. One standout show at El Museo Latino was Marcela Díaz: Contemporary Textiles, in which the artist used traditional fiber arts methods from the Yucatán region in Mexico to weave soft sculptures.

Therman Statom in the Community exhibition.
Therman Statom in the Community exhibition. Photo courtesy KANEKO.

KANEKO

  • 1111 Jones Street
  • Omaha, NE 68102
  • Hours: Thursday & Friday 1-7pm, Saturday & Sunday 12-5pm, Saturday Family Time 10am – 11:45am
  • https://thekaneko.org/

One major debate in the art world is weather craft is art. KANEKO sidesteps this question and exhibits both together. Founded by world-renowned ceramicist Jun Kaneko, the space regularly showcases monumental artwork by canonical artists like Peter Voulkos, Therman Statom, and Kaneko himself. Read a review of their Influence exhibition here.

FRED OTNES: A Collage.
FRED OTNES: A Collage. Photo courtesy Gallery 1516.

Gallery 1516

If the art of Nebraska is your primary interest, Gallery 1516 is a must-see destination. This institution specializes in only exhibiting Nebraska and regional artists and draws upon its relationship with The Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearny for artistic direction and vision. Gallery 1516 regularly does historical archeology, like with Fred Otnes’s recent exhibition.

Claudia Alvarez at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery.
Claudia Alvarez at the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery. Photo courtesy the artist.

Garden of the Zodiac Gallery

Like Gallery 1516, the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery in the Old Market has recently taken a local approach to art, though, that doesn’t mean the work is any less serious. Recent shows have explored gun violence and mass surveillance, gay and queer culture in the 21st century, and the lived experiences of brown people in Claudia Alvarez’s solo exhibition.

Metronome by Casey Callahan.
Metronome by Casey Callahan. Photo courtesy the artist.

Project Project

If the white cube gallery scares you, Project Project’s DIY aesthetic might be a suitable refuge. With OSB walls and floors, this space is less intimidating for art newbies, and unlike most spaces, Project Project creates a social atmosphere with music playing in the background. Though sometimes artists take a subtle touch with noise, like Casey Callahan, who looped the sound of dripping water in her immersive show, Metronome.

Installation shot of OOOze, curated by Angie Seykora
Installation shot of OOOze, curated by Angie Seykora. Photo courtesy Amplify Arts.

Generator Space

The Generator Space is a gallery run by Amplify Arts, a local non-profit dedicated to building a strong and vibrant arts community in Omaha. Unlike the other galleries listed so far, artists organize exhibitions at the Generator after being awarded a Generator Grant by Amplify Arts. This allows the visual investigation of a diverse array of themes and topics. Curated by Jared Packard,  ditch seed, a show examining the effect of colonialism on the prairie, is on view until August 29th.

Fred Tomaselli at the Riley CAP gallery.
Fred Tomaselli at the Riley CAP gallery. Courtesy Joslyn Art Museum.

Riley CAP Gallery

Choosing a museum instead of an independent gallery may seem like a cop out, but the Riley CAP gallery continually shows the most culturally relevant artists and topical shows in Omaha. This small gallery is tucked away in the Joslyn’s contemporary wing, and only exhibits art made by living artists. Three wonderful exhibition highlights of this space’s history include Fred Tomaselli, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and Wendy Red Star. Fiber artist Diedrick Brackens has an exhibition on display until September 5th.

Bowman’s Capsule, an exhibition by John-Elio Reitman
Bowman’s Capsule, an exhibition by John-Elio Reitman. Photo courtesy Baader-Meinhof.

Baader-Meinhof

Likely the newest gallery in Omaha, Baader-Meinhof is a center for contemporary art located in Little Italy. Though new, Baader-Meinhof has exhibited truly cutting edge and experimental artwork by emerging national and international artists. Currently, Minor Rationalism, an exhibition curated by the Chicago-based Eric Schmid is on display until August 21st.

"precarious as obtained by entreaty or prayer" an exhibtion by Timo Fahler.
“precarious as obtained by entreaty or prayer” an exhibition by Timo Fahler. Photo courtesy Maple St. Construct.

Maple St. Construct

Maple St. Construct is both a gallery and a residency center with two locations in Omaha. Artists, primarily from Los Angeles, are invited to create art and display their works at their Benson space. This space is highly active, with monthly shows of both national and local artists. If you want to go to Los Angeles without going to Los Angeles, you need to visit Maple St. Construct.


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