A warm welcome to spring

The trees surrounding our home in the beautiful Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha are blooming, and our artist team is ready for a busy season of programming. Here’s a look at two of our current projects:

  • This spring and fall, WhyArts? will bring a free theatre production focused on pretend play, social interaction and nonverbal communication to early childhood and special needs audiences across the city. The play, “A Palette of Possibility,” was created by University of Northern Iowa Professor Gretta Berghammer and presented at Omaha’s Rose Theater last fall. It was originally designed with preschoolers and children on the autism spectrum in mind. This winter, a group of our actors adapted the play for presentation to early childhood and special needs audiences. Now titled “A Palette of Possibilities, too,” it focuses on three primary colors – red, blue and yellow. We want our audiences to become part of the performance. We’ll be asking them to use their sight, hearing, touch and smell. It’s low language, highly visual and uses the body to communicate what’s going on.
  • This spring, WhyArts? is partnering with Circle Theatre to create a series of theater and art experiences for local students based on Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.” The children’s book, first published in 1964, explores the relationship between a young person and an apple tree. There are consequences to the choices we make as human beings when we interact with the world around us, and this project encouraged students to interpret this message in creative ways. Using interactive theatre techniques, six of our theatre artists worked with students at four Omaha high schools (Bryan, North, Northwest and South) and six middle schools (Buffett, Davis, Lewis and Clark, Marrs, Morton and King Science Center) to develop scenes based on the book and brainstorm ways to be kind to the environment and one another. Following the theatre experience, WhyArts? visual artist Richard Chung worked with each participating school to create a 3D sculpture of a giving tree that reflects their interpretation of the story. The 10 giving tree sculptures, now completed, will be on public display April 19-21 in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. From there, the exhibition moves to the little gallery at 5917 Maple Street in Benson, where it will be on display from April 25 through May 8. An opening reception is set for Friday, May 5, from 5:00 to 6:00pm. Join us!
Want to learn more about what we do? Attend a WhyArts? event, apply to become a WhyArts? artist, sponsor a WhyArts? project or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

– Carolyn

About Why Arts

WhyArts? is dedicated to providing Omaha’s underserved populations with access to inclusive quality arts programming. Our participatory workshops in dance and movement, music and composition, the spoken word, storytelling, theatre, visual arts and the written word educate, entertain and inspire our audiences. We contract with professional artists to conduct our workshops and activities. 

WhyArts? Inc. does not discriminate on race, ethnicity, religious preference, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, military service or gender in any of the arts activities we provide to the community. Additionally, we no not discriminate in contracting with artists or individuals providing services to WhyArts?.

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