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Omaha 2025: Arts and Culture

Posted at 10:32 AM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-05 11:33:35-04

It's a Sunday night at O'Leavers off Saddle Creek and 50th in Midtown Omaha. Rebecca Lowry and her band "All young girls are machine guns" take the stage.

"If you want to make music in the city. There are so many, so many resources availible," Lowry said.  

The future of the arts in Omaha is as diverse as its components: music, theater, fine art, film.   Soon arts organizations will pay tribute to the past while moving toward the future.

Later this year, Filmstreams will reopen the renovated Dundee theater at 50th and Dodge. A 300 seat venue as well as a 25 seat microtheater are among the highlights.

"Cinema as we want to see it always, which is treating it as an art form and showing artistic new films, and wonderful films of the past is also now rooted in place with historical significance," Alexander Payne, Director and Film Streams Board of Directors said.

2025 will mark the 100th anniversary for the Dundee theater. Another 100 year birthday in 2025 takes us to the nations largest community theater, the Omaha Community Playhouse.

"We've already kind of started thinking about what is our 100th anniversary going to look like and how can we really honor the legacy and the history of the playhouse? While still really looking towards the future and being progressive in the arts," Katie Broman, Omaha Community Playhouse Executive Director said.

With an eye toward eight years from now, Broman notes that for the first time, the playhouse has female artistic and executive directors. Broman also suggests that some theaters might die off while new ones open.

"Thats going to be ever changing. I think there's a few in Omaha that are going to be staples. Of course with the playhouse being 92 years old, the symphony is in its 90's. The opera is in its 60th season last year, and of course Omaha Performing Arts is now 10 plus years old and the Blue Barn Theater with their beautiful new home," she said.

Above the Slowdown in north downtown, several taste makers are at work collaborating on the future of music. Hear Nebraska, Slowdown, Saddle Creek records, and the Maha music festival all work, collaborating on the latest new music homegrown in the husker state.

"We need to be looking at what do the kids want. They are our future music scene, our future comedy scene, art scene. You know? Middle school is really the music scene we're thinking about right now," Andrew Norman, Hear Nebraska executive director said.

Hear Nebraska, a non profit that supports Nebraska Musicians, expects diverse genres and tastes, something omaha is already strong in. From rap to latin to indie and jazz music, technology can also help artists of all kinds reach far beyond the husker state as we approach 2025. 

"Omaha-we are very fortunate. Any night of the week we could see a ton- a huge diversity of art and small towns in nebraska don't always have that opportunity. So I think through live streaming and probably other technologies that I haven't even considered, I think that playing field would be leveled to some degree," Norman said.

As for Lowry, she'd like to reach an audience beyond the entertainment hub of midtown and downtown. 

"More public transit would be nice. I'd like to get out there, but we're called 'starving artists' for a reason," she said.