As we power up the Reader in its new monthly format, the visual arts department is ready to re-commit its coverage of the Metro scene both online and in print. As its contributing editor I am confident that our readers will continue to receive the best reportage and review of the area contemporary arts vibe media can offer. And we will do this with both new and familiar faces and voices.

But before we introduce our arts writing staff, let me list briefly what you can expect each month in print and at each week. The Reader will print the first Thursday of the month allowing us to include three or four previews of the top shows opening the next few weekends. A calendar of arts events will include all others.

Each print issue will also publish a feature or in-depth review that highlights key figures, exhibits and events, venues and issues that continue the dialogue with regard to contemporary art in the Metro. As times goes on, additional editorial material will be added such as interviews and capsule reviews. This is a work in progress.

Because of that, we hope to include our readers more in the online version, which will add new content daily including 8-Day Picks, the Mixed Media column and weekly reviews. We want your feedback. We look forward to your comments and ideas. There is no conversation without your contribution.

That said, here is our staff, who along with myself, are imbedded firmly in the Metro art scene as artists, curators, patrons and writers. Get to know them and what they offer on behalf of visual arts venues and artists of all kinds, emerging and established. They enjoy what they bring to the table and they do it well. As the year progresses I hope to add to their numbers, but for now, they are:

Eddith Buis, a 39-year veteran of teaching with Omaha Public Schools as well as Metropolitan Community College, holds a B.S, M.A. and Curriculum Specialist Degree in Art Education. Best known for directing public art projects for the Omaha Metro area (J. Doe, Benchmarks,  the Riverfront Icons) ,  Buis is now focusing on making art, writing and helping to plan a Pocket Neighborhood concept in the Midtown area.

Janet Farber is the director of the Phillip Schrager Collection of Contemporary Art in Omaha.  A curator whose experience includes more than 15 years overseeing modern and contemporary art at Joslyn Art Museum, Farber continues to write and consult on behalf of museums, galleries and publications in the region.

Joel Damon is the founder and curator of Project Project, an independent DIY contemporary arts space in South Omaha focused on providing new opportunities including exhibitions, concerts and lectures for makers and doers in the region.  He is also the curator and project manager of Art in the Parks, an ongoing six-piece public art project for the City of Council Bluffs and an Omaha entertainment and arts awards board member. Previously, he was the curator of the Bemis Underground at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. 

David M. Thompson returned to Omaha in March 2013 after spending 25 years in Chicago engaged in activities including practicing law, non-profit fundraising and working as a teacher and  administrator.  After completing his bachelor’s degree at the UNL and his master’s degree at Oxford University, England, David completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1997.  In 2000, he completed his J.D. at Northwestern University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Northwestern University Law Review.  David is on the board of Restoration Exchange Omaha and was a participant in the Citizens’ Academy for Omaha’s Future in Fall 2014.

Alex Priest is a curator, spatial thinker and designer holding a degree in Landscape Architecture and Design Studies from Iowa State University. He has curated exhibitions at Concordia University, Seward NE, Gallery 72 and the Michael Phipps Gallery in Omaha. Priest has been volunteer curator for the Omaha Public Library’s Michael Phipps Gallery since November 2013. He works as the exhibition assistant at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. His current research includes spatial anxiety and Dutch design.

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