Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Artist residency

About Our Residency Opportunities

At the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, we create transformative opportunities for our Artists-in-Residence to explore and realize their most important ideas by providing: access to a supportive and rigorous intellectual community, robust opportunities for studio and social practice, generous live/work space, an abundance of time, extensive technical assistance and financial support.

The Bemis Center currently supports artists with two inter-related residency programs: at our main campus in the Old Market, and at Carver Bank in North Omaha. Artists interested in applying to any of our residency opportunities should not be enrolled in an academic program during the timelines described by each cycle.

2015 | 2016 Opportunities

September 9 - December 9, 2015:  The Future of Food Production & Consumption

January 13 - March 2, 2016:  Contemporary Art (and Parenthood)

February 17 - August 17, 2015: Carver Bank Artist-in-Residence Program 

Deadline for each: December 31, 2014

September 9 - December 9, 2015: The Future of Food Production & Consumption

In Fall 2015, Bemis Center Old Market residencies will have a thematic focus for the first time: the future of food production and consumption. Contemporary artists from all backgrounds and all practice areas are encouraged to apply. Applicants for this cycle should demonstrate an interest in the research, development, or execution of work that explores the role of food broadly understood, including, but not limited to: farming, urban agriculture, the relationship of food to our bodies, food justice, food as culture, the nexus between food and environment, and bio-engineering and other technological interventions in the food cycle. Through this call, the Bemis Center hopes to construct a cohort of artists interested in exploring cultural, environmental, and scientific aspects of growing, cooking, eating and sharing food.

In addition to juried artists, the Bemis has invited leaders in the field to join the cohort in order to pursue their own practices and/or to lead workshops, seminars and other public programs that address this thematic. Visiting artists will include: Shu Lea Cheang (Paris) who constructs networked installations and multi-player performances in a collective mode, often involving food; Claire Pentacost (Chicago) whose projects often address the contested boundary between the natural and the artificial, focusing in recent years on food, agriculture and bio-engineering; Fallen Fruit (Los Angeles), a collective that develops public performances and site specific installations, using fruit as shared language through which to explore the margins of urban space, systems of community and narrative real-time experience; Mel Ziegler (Nashville), who currently is developing a model for addressing critical environmental issues in western Nebraska through dialogue between artists and the farmers and ranchers of the Sandhills region; and FoAM (Brussels), whose speculative research explores and prototypes possible futures of food while remaining firmly rooted in existing cultural traditions.

We are pleased to announce that one ceramic artist whose practice includes functional pottery will be selected for the Future of Food Production & Consumption residency cycle, and will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of Betty Woodman and the Woodman Family Foundation Prize. There is no additional application process or entry needed to be considered for this prize.

January 13 - March 2, 2016: Contemporary Art (and Parenthood)

The contemporary art world rarely acknowledges the impact that parenthood has on artistic work, or makes provision to support artists who also have obligations to meet as parents. For many parents, the logistical and financial demands of raising a family eclipse the artistic endeavor and make it all but impossible to attend a traditional residency program. For this cycle, the Bemis invites contemporary artists who are parents to apply, regardless of the specific focus or nature of their artistic practice.

During Contemporary Art (and Parenthood), the Bemis will alter its visitation policies so that children (and spouses or partners who share in parenting responsibilities) may stay with the resident artist in her or his studio for all, some, or none of the six week residency. Each resident artist will be provided with private living space for themselves and their families as well as separate workspace on the Bemis main campus.

The Bemis will provide on-site child care as mutually agreed during this residency cycle.

Feb. 17 - Aug 17, 2015: Carver Bank Residencies

Opened in late March 2013, Carver Bank is a partnership between the Bemis Center, Rebuild Foundation, and Theaster Gates, the Chicago-based artist, cultural planner and performer.

The Bemis Center supports Carver Bank residents by providing a critical boost to artists who have demonstrated a prior commitment to their professional careers. During the six-month residency, the Carver Bank Artist-in-Residence Program provides a dedicated studio space and a $500 monthly stipend, as well as an additional $250 monthly expense allowance that can be used to defray material and professional development expenses. The opportunity is specifically for artists who demonstrate a connection to Omaha’s Near North Side neighborhood, and is open to all types of artists or collaboratives—with an emphasis on artists of color, North Omaha residents, and those whose work critically engages issues of race and ethnicity.

Located on the site of Omaha’s first African-American owned bank, Carver Bank’s 2,600-square-foot facility is a space designated for public participation and cultural adventure, serving as a hub for the creative life of its neighborhood and community.

The Bemis Center provides Carver residents with mentoring and critique of their work during the residency. In addition, Carver residents will have access to technical fabrication support, artist assistants and interns, community partners for public programming, opportunities for exhibitions, presentations or performance, support for community outreach, and full access to workspace, and installation and production facilities at Bemis Center’s Old Market campus.

About the Bemis Center

For more than 30 years, the Bemis Center has supported artists through its Old Market residency program at its 110,000-square-foot main campus located in downtown Omaha’s historic Old Market neighborhood. These residencies provide artists from around the world with long-term opportunities to focus on their practice and to engage in critical dialogue with the Bemis Center community. The Bemis Center provides Artists-in-Residence with unmatched staff support, participation in a supportive intellectual community, best-in-class facilities, access to a network of regular community partners and a monthly stipend that will increase from $750 to $1,000 on Sept. 1, 2015.

Artists-in-Residence enjoy a generous live/work studio, complete with a private kitchen and bathroom. The Old Market campus offers 24-hour access to extensive installation spaces and production facilities, and can accommodate a broad range of artistic activity, including conceptual, material, performative and social practices.

The Bemis Center also supports the growth of its local artistic community by providing residencies to promising artists from the Omaha region.

The Bemis Center has been hailed as “one of the great treasures of its kind in the country” by Jane Alexander, former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was recently recognized as one of the "Top 10 residencies around the globe" by ArtInfo

Watch this video to learn more about the Bemis residency program from artists that we have supported.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
12th and Leavenworth
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130
Fax:: 402.341.9791