Mission

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 their 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 expressionl
  • train our artists how to work with our partner audiences, some of whom face developmental and intellectual disabilities.

In 2021, WhyArts merged with Arts in Motion (formerly known as The ARTery), an Omaha nonprofit incorporated in 2005 that focused on all-inclusive dance-based programs with a strong social-emotional learning component. Its flagship program, Dancing Classrooms (and Saturday Academy, its extension), operates in more than 60 classrooms across Omaha, reaching more than 2,000 students annually. Golden Ballroom, a program created by Pamela Dutton that focuses on inclusive dance-based programs in senior living homes, was also added to the WhyArts repertoire in the merger.

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.

Staff

Mary Kingslan Gibilisco

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Executive Director

Stephanie Anderson

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Program Director

Kim Clark-Kaczmarek

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Program Director

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