* A block party is usually associated with a grill, some burgers and the hot summer sun, but downtown Omaha’s KANEKO reinvented the concept with the KANEKO Block Party — parts auction, concert and holiday celebration — slated for Friday, Dec. 10. More than 50 artists were asked to create work inspired by the alphabet, alphabet blocks or Fletcher Benton’s Alphabet Sculpture, currently on display at KANEKO. The Benton exhibit, To A T , includes the artist’s pivotal work Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals. His metal folding technique transforms flat, two-dimensional materials into three-dimensional sculpture. His alphabet series, which he started working on in the 1970s, includes colorful metal shapes bent every which way, creating airy openings in between solid pieces. The party will feature live music from the Prairie Cats and Extra Space Jazz, food from Upstream and the silent auction, which includes work from Catherine Ferguson, Gary Day, Carlos Guerrero, Susan McGilvrey, Larry Sosso and Mary Zicafoose, among many others. It’s certainly intriguing to think of another live auction event in Omaha that could have the potential to someday rival the auction events at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. The event runs 6–9:30 p.m. and bidding on the auction items ends at 8:15 p.m. Art is picked up the same night, at 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 ADV/$20 at the door; available at thekaneko.org. I’ll see you there. * In 2011 Bemis will officially kick off the Building Bemis campaign. Bemis marks 30 years of its artist-in-residency program in 2011 and the campaign will support building five additional studios for residents and visiting artists and expand the residency program from 24 to 36 artists per year; add a new loading dock and new windows throughout the building; and renovate the Okada Sculpture building to include formalized work spaces and kilns. Patrons can make a donation to the campaign at bemiscenter.org. * Joslyn’s Holiday Under Glass concert series continues through the end of December: Dec. 10, River City Ringers and The Christmas Story in Art guided tour; Dec. 15, Omaha Conservatory of Music and Religion in Art guided tour; Dec. 17, Central High School Singers and Bel Canto, and a tour of Seasons of Joy: Currier and Ives Holiday Prints. Concerts begin at noon; tours follow at 1 p.m. The concerts and tours are free with museum admission. Visit joslynartmuseum.org. Mixed Media is a column about art. Get local art updates at weekfiftytwo.com. Send ideas to mixedmedia@thereader.com.

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