Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Artist residency


Who is eligible to apply?
Residency opportunities are open to national and international artists 21+ years of age, showing a strong professional working history. A variety of disciplines are accepted including, but not limited to, visual arts, media/new genre, performance, architecture, film/video, literature, interdisciplinary arts, music composition, and choreography.  Bemis welcomes internationally based artists to apply. A working knowledge of English is helpful for international artists as an interpreter will not be provided.

Applications consisting of small collaboratives (2-3 total members) are eligible to apply. Each artist included in the collaborative must submit a resume.

Bemis Alumni are allowed to re-apply for residency after a three year hiatus from the program. Alumni seeking residency must submit a complete application including recent work samples and current resume. Preference may be given to applicants who have not previously attended.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability.

I’m currently enrolled in an academic program, can I still attend the residency during semesters off?
The residency program encourages a focused time to experiment, explore, and expand your practice and to be immersed with the other artists in residence. Being committed to other outside obligations often make for difficult distractions and time well-balanced. Artists applying to Bemis Center should not be enrolled in an academic program or currently teaching, adjunct or otherwise, during the residency timeline.

What is the stipend used for?
Artists in residence receive a monthly stipend award of $750 to use for their personal needs related to living expenses, materials and supplies. A $150 security deposit is withheld at the beginning for any incidentals that may occur during the residency.  Stipends are only provided to artists in the form of a check.

Is Bemis able to accommodate special medical needs?
Bemis offers barrier-free access in all main buildings and select studios.  Applicants with special needs should contact the Residency Program Manager prior to applying.  Bemis does not provide insurance for medical needs to artists in residence.

What sort of items are provided in my personal studio?
Each studio is equipped with its own private kitchen and bathroom.  Basic kitchen utensils, dishes, cutlery, stove/oven, microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, and toaster are provided. Extra furniture is available for artists to arrange and organize their studios by personal preference. A set of bath towels, kitchen linens, and bedding are also provided, as well as on-site laundry facilities. Studios also equipped with a paint sink, plywood-backed sheetrocked walls, accessible windows, concrete floors, and 12’ ceilings.  WiFi is available throughout the facility and there are two communal iMac computers and printers. There are several communal workspaces including a dark room and woodshop. Bemis currently does not have film/video editing equipment or software, soundbooth or recording labs on site.

Is smoking allowed in my personal studio?
Bemis Center is completely a non-smoking facility.

May I bring my pets?
Bemis Center does not allow pets living on-site.  Service dogs are permitted to stay with an artist with appropriate documentation.  

Can my family stay with me?
Visitors or family members may stay on-site for short term visits with an artist with prior approval from the Residency Program Manager. Bemis Center can not accommodate spouses, children, or guests for extended stay.

If I am selected for the residency invitation and am unable to attend, may I defer?
Bemis Center prefers selected artists to attend the residency in it’s entirety.  If an artist can not attend after they have been selected and scheduled, the artist has one calendar year to reschedule from the original residency dates, or choose to decline and reapply.

What recreational or extracurricular activities are available?
Omaha is a community that combines urban and rural lifestyles with a population of over 400,000. Bemis Center is located in the heart of the Downtown Old Market which offers shops, restaurants, pubs, bookstores, a public library, hardware store, and post office all within walking distance.  

Omaha Eppley Airport is located less than 5 miles from the Bemis Center.  If artists are arriving by car, Bemis provides on-site parking for the duration of the residency located directly across the street from Bemis.

There are several parks, trails, waterways and natural resources located in and around the city.  Bemis offers communal bikes to use to explore highlights such as the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses the Missouri River into neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa. Lauritzen Gardens, Fontenelle Forest, and the Henry Doorly Zoo are also national favorites. A vehicle for local use is available to resident artists.  As Bemis is a self-directed residency, it does not direct or structure social activities for artists.

Omaha is home to richly creative assets including KANEKO, Joslyn Art Museum, El Museo Latino, Opera Omaha, Omaha Symphony, and Filmstreams. Bemis Center has several local partnerships with many organizations that offer resources and benefits to artists in residence.

For more information, contact Holly Kranker, Residency Program Manager, at 402.341.7130 x 12 or

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