Husker students, collaborators working on Omaha Mobile Stage | Nebraska today
Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture, along with a multidisciplinary collaboration of Omaha and Lincoln-based leaders in design, performance, education, and place creation, began planning for a moving stage. aiming to revive neighborhoods, schools and public spaces after the pandemic.
Over the next three months, architecture students will transform the old knife-sharpening truck into a state-of-the-art wheeled stage called the Omaha Mobile Stage. Once completed, the stage will be mobilized to provide secure access to the performing arts in the neighborhoods and schools of the Omaha metro.
âThe Omaha mobile scene was designed as an antidote to the cultural and social stagnation that local neighborhoods and schools have felt throughout the pandemic,â said Jessica Scheuerman, executive director of Partners for Livable Omaha, the association nonprofit overseeing the project. âAs human beings, we need access to beauty. As neighbors, we need to have access to each other. Achieving these goals in a safe and healthy environment is essential to the civic revitalization we all need at this time. As the Delta variant threatens another series of mind-numbing shutdowns, this project is more relevant than ever. “
Partners for Livable Omaha purchased the used 18ft truck, which was then gutted and repaired at Twins Auto in Omaha for conversion to the stage. In August, the truck moved to the Nebraska Innovation Studio in Lincoln.
âAccess to the performing arts and to cultural events in general is essential for a vibrant social and intellectual life,â said Jeffrey L. Day, professor of architecture and landscape architecture in Nebraska. âIt becomes even more urgent for a community suffering from long-term pandemic closures and the social isolation that results from these conditions. The MADE The design-build-collaboration studio and the College of Architecture are excited to be a part of this important project, and we’re excited to kick off work on the Omaha mobile stage.
Throughout the fall semester, architecture students will design and build the truck conversion. The work will take place within the framework of the MADE (Fabrication And Construction Team), under the direction of Day.
âThe choice to partner with Jeffrey Day and MADE guarantees that the stage will be a local cultural fixture, âsaid Scheuerman.
A team of fourth-year architecture and interior design students will set the scene inside the Nebraska Innovation Studio, one of the nation’s top makerspaces.
The design-build phase is led by Day and Omaha-based theater designer and technical director Scheuerman, Brendan Greene-Walsh.
In Spring 2022, Omaha’s mobile scene will visit neighborhoods in a series of free, live performances that respond to the heritage, culture and local tastes of Omaha’s unique communities.
The performances will be produced in partnership with a wide range of public space managers, educators, artists and non-profit arts organizations. The programming of Omaha Mobile Stage makes available to its partners:
â¢ The stage in an outdoor public space or in a school environment â¢ Remuneration for artists, event managers and technicians â¢ Sound and lighting equipment â¢ Promotion
âThe Omaha Public Schools Foundation is thrilled to bring the Omaha mobile stage to students in our district, as well as the wider community,â said Toba Cohen-Dunning, Executive Director of the Foundation. public schools in Omaha. âIt’s a remarkable resource, especially in light of the pandemic. The arts are essential in the life of a child. As Omaha Public Schools strive to educate, enrich and improve the lives of students, this artistic endeavor could not have been better.
Restrictions on access to the performing arts are expected to continue for SPO students. Thus, the Omaha Mobile Stage, in collaboration with local artistic groups and the SPO Foundation, will provide performing arts experiences in schools through its Artists Return to Schools program.
âIt’s an aspect of a child’s life that is often missed due to the economic strain on families,â Cohen-Dunning said. âWith a 77% free / reduced District lunch subscription, we know that investing in the arts to come to students (instead of the other way around) opens up their worldview, providing opportunities that often aren’t. offered only to our suburban counterparts. “
The performing arts are integral to the social, civic and economic well-being and vitality of Omaha. Restrictions on gatherings and severe unemployment have been devastating.
Today, artists remain among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
According to a recent report by Americans for the Arts, artists and creatives remain among the most severely affected segment of the nation’s workforce. Ninety-five percent lost creative income. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 63% experienced unemployment. In July 2021, 39% of we non-profit arts organizations offering in-person programs have remained closed to the public.
Arts organizations, schools and artists have adapted, changing the physical environment for safer in-person engagements and securing outdoor spaces. These costs are contributing to the economic bottom line at a time when nonprofits and sites are losing revenue and experiencing declining donations.
Lack of access to the arts has a disproportionate impact on underserved communities, where students depend on schools for artistic enrichment.
Before the pandemic, black and Hispanic students had less than half the access to arts education than their white peers. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Americans for the Arts, low socioeconomic status students who are engaged in learning the arts have increases in: academic performance in high school; college rates and grades; and hold the jobs of the future.
The Omaha Mobile Stage is made possible by the support of an anonymous donor, Kevin M. McCarthy, the Omaha Public Schools Foundation, Paul Scheuerman, Bluestone Development, Infinity CPA Group, Baird Holm, and Sharon and Jim Kresha.
This is a collaboration between: Partners for Livable Omaha, Actual Architecture Company, Brendan Greene-Walsh, the College of Architecture, Culxr House, the fabrication and construction team, the Gifford Park Neighborhood Association, Holy Family Community Center, Joslyn Castle, Nebraska Innovation Studio, Nebraska Writers Collective, Omaha Conservatory of Music, Omaha Public Schools Foundation, Project Project, The RiverFront and TBD. dance collective.