Donnis Arens


Storytelling Teaching Artist

I love to watch people as they listen to a story. Their faces reveal so much. I see reflections of how meaningful the story is to them, whether they are engaged participants on this new journey, what emotions are evoked, and if they are discovering fresh insights and stories of their own.

Stories have great power, regardless of whether they spring from true life or imagination, whether they are kept close to the heart or shared with the world. Storytelling illuminates different ways of thinking and working together, enriching us all.

Storytelling has been essential to me since I could first express myself, and it is a joy to empower others to express themselves through storytelling and creative arts workshops. There is life, mystery and celebration in stories and storytelling. It is an honor to explore storytelling’s unlimited possibilities with people of all ages and backgrounds.

My roots in education and creative expression run deep. I graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. For thirty-some years, I taught for Millard Public Schools and enjoyed exploring learning with my students. As business owner of Party Kapers by Donnis, I have brought storytelling, creative movement, music, crafts and memories to countless birthday parties and other celebrations. And, for the last twelve years, I have been a stroke survivor with quite a few new stories to tell.

Important influences in my life include my most awesome family and many special people and organizations, including the Nebraska Human Resource and Research Foundation. Some of the groups I have been involved with as a consultant, board member or volunteer are the Omaha Children’s Museum, Rose Children’s Theater, American Heart Association, Methodist Hospital, Board of the Intergeneration Orchestra, Nebraska StoryArts (current president) and Omaha Stroke Club (current president).

Why Arts? and Carolyn Anderson’s leadership touches people in such positive ways, with a limitless exuberance and passion for living. That is why I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team.