We believe in the magic that happens here and in our dreams of inviting all who want to participate and learn at this beloved art center.
There is a magic that happens at the Hot Shops that can be hard to describe, and it happens because of our service-driven artists. Hot Shops artists seek to be better artists. They display a humbleness and work ethic that invites you in. Many of them have what some would call “real jobs,” that help them achieve their creative dreams here.
There are quiet days when you can hear the creak of the floors and hammering in the forge, and you may only find about 20 artists working. There are also days when we host busloads of school children. They swirl through like a tornado through various studios for demonstrations. They get to see a lump of clay transformed into a functional piece of art; they can feel the heat of the glass blower’s furnace. In the violin studio, a visually impaired student gets to feel the original log that will soon be turned into smooth finished violin. His face lights up as his fingers pluck the strings and it makes a sound. The impact on the students often lingers – we get calls from teachers requesting photos of the finished glass pieces that had to be put in the annealer as they try to get the focus back on the regular lessons the next day.
There are also days that are about partnerships to make positive impacts for others. Music from a ‘Rock Opera’ might fill the halls, with sets created at the Hot Shops by a group of special needs individuals from The Ollie Webb Center, Inc., and musical training from Opera Omaha fellows. Follow that with a meeting with the Iowa School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, working on arts curriculum designed to help their students explore ways to express themselves and create independence. After that, a team-building pottery session and celebration with employees from Fat Brian Toys.
Hot Shops artists provide these immersive and experiential learning opportunities, forging a truly unique arts organization and significantly enhancing the vibrant arts community in Omaha. They teach in part for the passion of the craft and commitment to the community. They also teach understanding the value teaching the creative process adds to the economy, innovation and cultural growth of the community.
We know the impact this supportive creative community at the Hot Shops has on Omaha and we are ready to move our beloved art center into the future.
The number of artists in the building has grown from 70 to 90 that are squeezed into 54 studios. We have a wait list of 55 artists wanting to join this community.
We believe the magic that happens here shouldn’t be so hard to describe and our dreams of inviting all who want to participate and learn in are within reach.
We are working on plans for how to address the space shortage. We are working on plans that will allow us to provide better experiences and demonstrations when we receive requests to bring hundreds of visitors and school children at a time that our small studios cannot accommodate. We are exploring a creative arts school that will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.