WhyArts, founded in 1990, is dedicated to providing Omaha’s underserved populations with access to inclusive quality arts programming. We believe each individual, no matter their circumstance, has unlimited creative potential. We also believe the arts are an incredibly powerful means of communication for the nonstandard learner. That’s why we meet each individual at his or her level and work from there.

We contract with professional teaching artists to conduct workshops, residencies and activities for our partners in the visual arts, theatre, dance/movement, music, the spoken word, literature, storytelling and animation. We build original arts programming for nonprofits, schools, social service agencies and others that enriches their missions and curriculums, and advocate for the arts by sharing best practices at local, regional and national trainings and conferences.

We also:

  • Advocate for the value of the arts for everyone
  • Collaborate with community partners on mission-relevant public art projects
  • Develop safe learning environments that encourage self expression
  • Train our artists how to work with our partner audiences, some of whom face physical and intellectual challenges.

It’s arts our way.

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.

Governing Board of Directors

Jon Flower, President
First National Bank Omaha

Lucia Milone Williams, Vice President/President Elect
Veterans Administration, Ret.

Mary McHale, Secretary
Community Volunteer

Liz Akert, Treasurer
Union Pacific

Matt Bross

Tiffiny C. Clifton
Gotta Be Me

Leigh Campbell Joyce
Baird Holm

Jim Stevens
NorthStar Foundation

Kristine Swain, Ph.D.
UNO College of Education

Sue Weidner
Community volunteer

Debora Basier Wisneski, Ph.D.
UNO College of Education



Executive Director


Community Program Director


Communications Director

Mad Swanson


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