2017 Director’s Outlook

Carolyn Owen Anderson
Photo © Laurie and Charles

Happy New Year from WhyArts! We’re excited about what we have planned for 2017 and how it will impact the lives of the audiences we serve. Here’s a quick look:

  • In January, we launched a new partnership with the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a federally designated University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service. MMI specializes in providing services and support for people with intellectual, developmental and/or genetic disorders. Our WhyArts artists are helping the MMI team create new visual and performing arts programming that enriches the lives of the individuals it serves. First up was helping MMI host its first ever winter arts camp Jan. 4-6. MMI Director Dr. Karoly Mirnics has noted that many atypically developing individuals are amazing artists, and we look forward to growing our partnership in the coming months.
  • We’re in the process of developing a new partnership with KANEKO, a local nonprofit dedicated to exploring and encouraging the process of creativity and how it impacts our lives. We’ll be sharing more information as things develop.
  • Our WhyArts artists have planned a full schedule of arts programming with Heartland Family Service (HFS) for 2017, including Family Nights, Art Mondays, residencies, exhibits and workshops. HFS is dedicated to strengthening individuals and families in our community through education, counseling and support services. We are doubling the amount of programming we provided for HFS in 2016 – growth is great!
  • Thanks to a grant from the Kennedy Center, a WhyArts artist team is developing “Over the River,” a three-day interactive experience that will be offered to OPS special education elementary classes.
  • We will continue to provide after-school programming at seven OPS middle schools and eight elementary schools, the NorthStar Foundation, Nelson Mandela Elementary, Completely Kids and other organizations serving youth.
  • Our artists will be conducting residencies and a full slate of arts programming with the OPS Transitions Program, VODEC, MOSAIC, Educare of Omaha, J.P. Lord School and Quality Living Inc.
  • Organizationally, we’re embarking on an 18-month strategic planning process to help chart a course for the future of WhyArts. There will be multiple opportunities to participate, so we hope you do! In the mean time, follow us on Facebook or join us at a WhyArts activity. Thanks so much for your support!

– Carolyn Anderson, director