FFP Omaha: Abortion Impact, Housing Lawsuit, Bart’s Arts

FFP Omaha newsletter

Hey Omaha,

I hope you’re preparing for a brain scrubbing, info detox of a Fourth of July weekend. Tomorrow I’m driving to Humboldt to celebrate and learn the 150-year history of my girlfriend’s family farm. As someone who grew up in an anywhere-USA suburb outside Cincinnati, the sense of place and pride so many Nebraskans have is one of the things I love most about living here.

One thing I WON’T be doing is watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which cut ties with champion meat-and-bun inhaler Joey Chestnut. Justice for Joey!

Before the holiday, we have some stories you’ll want to read.

Abortion Law Impact

Nebraska abortions are down 24% since a state law made the procedure illegal after 12-weeks. Anti-abortion advocates say the new law is saving lives. Others say it’s burdening people already facing an extremely difficult decision. That was the experience of an Omaha mom Yanqi Xu talked to. The mom found out her pregnancy had severe complications 12 weeks in and had to leave the state, as well as spend a lot of money, to get an abortion.

Taking Public Housing to Court
Jeremy got the scoop on a class-action lawsuit filed against the Omaha Housing Authority alleging the organization violated tenants’ rights for years. Since arriving in Omaha last year, Jeremy has written a lot about OHA and the allegations that they overcharged people, denied them a right to contest rent hikes and evicted them when they couldn’t pay. Stay tuned, we’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Hello everyone! Bart here. Back again with some fantastic ways you can connect with the metro’s thriving visual arts scene in July, including graffiti artists embracing tech, an international print show so big it takes two venues to fit and so much more.

July Benson First Friday
For 14 years, Benson First Friday has dominated the monthly event in Omaha. This Friday, explore the Benson Creative District’s outdoor art markets, art gallery openings, concerts, open studios and countless other cultural events! I’ll see you there!
When: Friday, July 5, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Where: Benson Creative District, 6109 Military Ave.

Point of View: Gregory D. Brown and Annie Troe
Since 1975, the Artists’ Cooperative has been the Old Market’s art gallery. My interest was piqued by their upcoming exhibition of two internationally recognized artists, one in photography and the other through vibrant, representational paintings.
When: Opening Reception July 5, 6-9 p.m., Tuesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday- Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St.

Immateriality and Digital Art: Stephen Kavanaugh & Evan Major
Project Project delivers again with this thought-provoking experimental exhibit. I know Omaha-based Kavanaugh and Brooklyn-based Major for their graffiti style murals, paintings and sculptures. This time around, organizers will use the gallery space to challenge our conventions on what is art in an age where we consume most images digitally.
When: Opening Reception Friday, July 12, 6-10 p.m.; Thursday-Friday 1-5 p.m. (ish) or by appointment.
Where: Project Project, 1818 Vinton St.

Dances With Colors: Darlys VandeVoort & Michelle Daisley Moffitt
These two painters are speaking my language with a curated selection of representational and abstract works that play off each other through color, texture, pattern and form!
When: Opening Reception Friday, July 12, 5-7:30 p.m.; Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St.

That Art Boy: Jahmai Brown
As a newcomer to Brown’s works, I am excited to discover how this multi-disciplinary artist uses non-traditional materials to create artworks exploring personal themes.
When: Opening Reception Saturday, July 13, 1-7 p.m.; Gallery Hours Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St.

Solo: Susan Puelz & Earth Sense: Patty Scarborough
Anderson O’Brien has been exhibiting modern and contemporary works from regional and national artists since 1980. Their current exhibits explore the traditions of landscape painting by two different painters. Compare and contrast how Puelz and Scarborough explore this genre through their own distinct styles!
When: Until July 27, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. or by appointment.
Where: Anderson O’Brien Fine Art, 3220 Farnam St., Suite 2101

Surface Impressions at Constellation Studios and Lux Center
Though this international exhibit isn’t in the Omaha metro proper, I feel it is worthy of mention. The exhibit is produced by two Nebraska art organizations I love and have had the pleasure of working with. Constellation Studios and the LUX Center for the Arts bring us the third biennial edition of “Surface Impression.” This exhibit is so big, it runs simultaneously at both venues, showing 75 contemporary relief prints from around the world in the heart of Nebraska.
When: Until Aug. 31, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Constellation Studios, 2055 O St., Lincoln; and the LUX Center for the Arts, 2601 N. 48th St., Lincoln

In the Regional Metropolitan Transit Authority’s June 27 board meeting, key resolutions were passed to expand public transit, including the unanimous approval of a contract for 26 new buses and strategic workforce expansions. Discover the full scope of these initiatives and how they aim to transform Metro’s public transportation landscape by reading our summary. You can also read the full notes from the meeting

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What I'm Into

On the Fourth of July, my family and I will be proud attendants of the J.E. George parade. This is the 74th year of the parade — the longest running in Omaha — and is filled with candy, elaborate costumes and parade floats. I’m personally looking forward to the dog costume contest. Unless it’s too hot, my parents’ mini bernedoodle Wally will likely be one of the participants and sport some red, white and blue. 

Read This Next

Flooding continues to afflict Omahans and Council Bluffians living along the Missouri River, WOWT reported. In related news that you probably don’t want to think about, Omaha released millions of gallons of wastewater into the river because city employees couldn’t access a lift station, according to The World-Herald. Swimmers and boaters should stay off the riv’ for a while, officials warned.

One of Omaha’s finest college athletes will be wearing green and white next season. The reigning champion Boston Celtics drafted Creighton basketball star Baylor Scheierman in the first round of the NBA draft last week. Bostonians are thrilled to have landed the sharpshooter from Aurora, per Bleacher Report.

The rematch between U.S. Rep. Don Bacon and State Sen. Tony Vargas for the Omaha area’s 2nd Congressional District is shaping up to be very expensive. Campaign finance arms of the national Democratic and Republican parties have each dedicated more than $1 million to ad buys, the Nebraska Examiner’s Aaron Sanderford reported. 

Omaha police say two men shot dead by officers in South Omaha earlier this year had cocaine in a hidden compartment of their car, KETV reported. OPD said it has made multiple arrests and seized significant amounts of narcotics and cash as part of the ongoing investigation. 

Several Tennessee baseball fans went from strangers to fast friends after flight delays spurred them to make the 13-hour drive to Omaha for the College World Series. The improvised trip allowed the Knoxvillians to watch the Vols win their first ever national title, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams wrote.