Bemis Center Greets the New Year with Receipt of Three Prestigious Grants!
Posted on 01/02/2005
As 2004 comes to a close, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is pleased and proud to announce that it has been awarded three prestigious grants, which will all contribute to supporting and fostering the Center’s programs and public art initiatives. The Peter Kiewit Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and Omaha Steaks have awarded grants that reflect an exciting time for the Bemis Center. Founded over twenty years ago, the Center has always attracted the best contemporary artists in the world to Omaha through its Artist-in-Residency program. But the Bemis Center is also beginning the next phase of its development by increasing its focus on engaging the public in a wide variety of projects and programs.
The Peter Kiewit Foundation announced in December its decision to award the Bemis Center $25,000 as a means for initiating public art within local communities as well as for stimulating audience development. Through this generous support, the Bemis Center has been able to create a new facilities brochure, which details the organization’s mission, Artist-in-Residency program, exhibition programs and educational lectures. Additionally, the Bemis Center will now be able to continue its implementation of public arts within the community. Mark Masuoka, the Center’s Executive Director, noted: “We want local communities to realize that the Bemis Center is their contemporary arts center. Through programs like the Bemis Window Project in 2003 and the Art for Omaha Projects, which will be implemented at the Qwest Center Omaha in 2005, we are working to get people to contribute to the creation of public art. The Peter Kiewit Foundation is playing a significant role in helping us to realize this goal.”
Impressed with the Bemis Center’s ongoing commitment to support exceptional talent, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awarded an $80,000 grant to the organization in early December. In addition to helping fund the Center’s internationally-recognized Artist-in-Residency program, the Andy Warhol Foundation grant will go toward enhancing the exhibition program as well as toward the bemisUNDERGROUND, a newly inaugurated component of the Bemis Center’s programming designed to give local artists the opportunity to present visual, audio and performance art in an interactive environment dedicated to experimentation. Projects are selected by a jury and run for five weeks each, and Omaha artist Scott Blake will curate the first show Bring Your Barcodes, which opens January 28 and runs through March 6, 2005. Jeremy Stern, the Bemis Center’s Assistant Director, remarked: “The bemisUNDERGROUND represents a significant component in developing community ties to the Bemis Center. The Andy Warhol Foundation was really impressed with this program, because it is unique not just to Omaha, but to the entire country.”
Omaha Steaks, a company with an established tradition of support for the contemporary arts in Omaha, has awarded the Bemis Center a $255,000 grant designed to help develop exhibitions and fund audience development over the next three years. Todd Simon, Senior Vice President of Omaha Steaks and President of the Board of Directors for the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts commented, “Our decision to take a leadership role in the visual arts funding of the Bemis Center was based on our firm belief that it will ultimately provide an outstanding cultural benefit to our entire community. We commend the Bemis Center for its artistic vision and involvement in projects like “Art for Omaha” at Qwest Center Omaha, which help bring a public awareness to value of the contemporary art experience.”
The Bemis Center, of course, is also pleased with the public support. Mark Masuoka noted: “These grants are critical for sustaining our operations. We cannot offer programs that get the community involved without the generous support of organizations like the Kiewit Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation and Omaha Steaks. We are grateful to them, and we hope they will inspire others to support contemporary art in our community.”