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Omaha Performing Arts eyes expansion ideas

Posted at 5:13 AM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 06:13:47-05

Omaha Performing Arts wants to expand, but exactly how or when? That’s still up in the air.

This as city council looks at buying three historic buildings on 11th and Douglas, then give them to OPA

The non-profit held a briefing Tuesday.

There were a lot of ideas tossed around, like the fact the Big Apple’s Alvin Ailey Dance Center or Carnegie Hall, are inspirations for how OPA would want to expand.

One thing not discussed, however, is whether the buildings on 11th and Douglas will be demolished and right now, OPA doesn't know, yet.

President Joan Squires said there've been more than 10-million visitors to the sites in a decade. 

$10-million dollars is also how much the city would pay for 19,000 square feet of space next to the Holland Center. OPA feels like that space is untapped.

On its wish list? A new performing arts venue, expanded community engagement and multi-use spaces.

But with an area, filled with arts centered venues, the question many want to know, why is this needed?

“We are bursting at the seams. Which includes our rehearsal spaces and our studio spaces, that are at full-capacity,” said OPA Programming and Education VP Kendra Whitlock Ingram.

The expansion would be a two phase project, with the second part starting in 2019.

The kick-off of the expansion depends on a how the council votes, which won’t happen until next year.