Founded in 1981, by artists for artists, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts supports today’s artists through an international artist-in-residence program, temporary exhibitions and commissions, and innovative public programs. Located in the historic Old Market district, the Bemis Center serves a critical role in the presentation and understanding of contemporary art, bridging the community of Omaha to a global discourse surrounding cultural production today.
For more than three decades, the Bemis Center’s core mission has been to provide artists from around the world dedicated time, space, and resources to conduct research and to create new work. Frequently cited as one of the top international residency programs, the Bemis Center offers artists private live/work studios, financial support, technical/administrative assistance, and opportunities for intellectual discourse about contemporary art through free public programs, such as panel discussions, lectures, and knowledge-sharing workshops. To date, nearly 900 artists have participated in the residency program.
The Bemis Center’s exhibition program features solo and group exhibitions of artwork in all media by local, national, and international artists. Exhibitions are always free, open to the public, and frequently introduce the community of Omaha to the most experimental and provocative art forms today.
Community Engagement Program
Over the organization’s 35-year history, the Bemis Center has offered artist-driven, community-responsive programs that bolster civic engagement in the creation and understanding of art. Ranging from public murals and artist-led classes and workshops, to the creative-placemaking project Carver Bank, by artist Theaster Gates, community engagement programs provide regular opportunities for the public to learn about and be inspired by the visual arts. Through ARTalks, workshops, Open Studio events, panel discussions, film screenings, and performances, the public has direct access to artists and to their diverse approaches to art making and interpreting the world around us.