WhyArts, founded in 1990, is dedicated to providing Omaha’s underserved populations with access to inclusive quality arts programming. The organization contracts with professional teaching artists to conduct workshops, residencies and activities in the visual arts, theatre, dance/movement, music, the spoken word, literature, storytelling and animation. It also builds original arts programming for nonprofits, schools, social service agencies and others that enriches their missions and curriculums, and advocates for the arts by sharing best practices at local, regional and national trainings and conferences.

WhyArts does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, political affiliation or economic status in any of its programs, activities and employment. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our partner organizations, artists, volunteers and staff.


Carolyn Owen Anderson

Carolyn Owen Anderson
Photo © Laurie and Charles

Carolyn Owen Anderson has served as the director of WhyArts since 2000.

Prior to her tenure at WhyArts, she served as project director of the Partnership in Aging Network, development associate and event coordinator at Lauritzen Gardens, marketing and event director at the Strategic Air & Space Museum, development director/public relations coordinator for Boys and Girls Clubs of Omaha, Inc., and project director at Nebraska Good Beginnings.

Anderson received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, her master’s degree in agency counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, and her Ed.S. in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Anderson is a member of the board of directors of No More Empty Pots and the Nebraska Writers Collective. She has 5 children and 11+ grandchildren.

CEC Partner

WhyArts offices in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

WhyArts is supported by the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.