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How you can

Support

Your generous donation will help to strengthen and grow the Hot Shops as a crucial arts, culture and educational pillar of the Omaha community!

About the

Hot Shops Art Foundation

We are a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under IRC section 501(c)(3). Your contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

We provide educational opportunities and the space to explore creativity through a variety of artistic and creative processes. We encourage you to explore a different way of looking at things and provide a pool of creatives and educators that you can connect with to help develop and communicate ideas.

We provide opportunities for growth to over 80 publicly accessible working- artists in more than 50 studios. The public can meet resident artists, watch them work, learn about their tools and techniques and ask them questions.

Mission

To be a place where ideas, dreams and what ifs are explored, created and shared.

Values

Celebrate the individual through education, inspiration and creation, providing a place to share and develop ideas and creative expressions.

Foundation
Purpose

From the very beginning, Hot Shops Art Center has been the place where ideas, dreams and ‘what ifs’ are explored, created and shared. The Foundation was launched to support that mission, expand programming, and sustain the purpose of the organization into the future.

At our heart, we provide makers and artists a place and opportunity to be creative. The greatest gift you can give an artist is space to create. We want Hot Shops to be that place they can come to see how good they can be. For the public, Hot Shops lets everyone see and experience how the art is made. You can see the tools, ideas on sketchpads, scale models, mistakes and do-overs. You can feel the heat from the glass furnace, watch potters bring a lump of clay to life or the sculptor pour the molten bronze.

Our greatest pride comes from putting sparks in minds of people young and old. The looks on their faces when the glass blower pulls the 2000-degree glass out of the furnace are priceless.

Looking Back and

Planning the Future

In 1999 a group of creative risk-takers were looking for a spot to co-locate. They found a building and formed the highly collaborative, supportive community of artists that is now at the Hot Shops Art Center. North Downtown looked much different. At that time, there was no CHI Convention Center and Arena and riverfront development hadn’t happened yet. Film Streams, Slowdown, TD Ameritrade Park, Tip-Top, the Mastercraft Building and the four hotels were not here. The growth has been amazing, and we are proud to be thought of as an anchor to the neighborhood. Our influence there and the impact we’ve made on the broader community are apparent.

Creativity fuels us and it falters without opportunity. As north downtown continues to expand, it is also time to expand our programming and sustain the Hot Shops into the future. Our current reality is, with the incredible development around us, that we cannot continue to operate without becoming a nonprofit organization.

We are excited to lay to groundwork for our next 20 years of creative impact that elevates individuals and community.

20 years and counting

Our Greatest Successes

We are a living museum. There is no question of the importance of historical museums where you can bring a third grade class to see the finished art and read the plaque describing the piece. But imagine what happens when you bring that same third grade class in to see the artist-at-work, to hear directly from them about their ideas, processes and tools and to have a hands-on experience. That child’s imagination expands, and they begin to think about the possibilities and opportunities for them to create new things and solve new problems.

Our greatest successes lie in the lives we’ve touched:

  • Providing healing arts classes to patients experiencing serious illness during some of the most stressful times in their life
  • Teaching painting to a group of handicapped individuals where one participant was so moved by seeing his finished painting, he spoke his first word in over 10 years
  • Watching a child create his own clay creation and suddenly understand that this act of making involved math, science and communication skills.
  • Helping the business leaders understand that the creative process is just as important to the growth, stability and success of their business as the rest of their operations
  • Helping kids in poverty understand that every problem has a creative solution
  • Watching countless artists grow and thrive in their craft

Education and Programming

With your support of our organization and our ability to support arts-focused education – our planned activities are:

Strengthen and Sustain

We will build the foundation, structure and funding mechanisms for the Hot Shops.

Education

We will offer a variety of education opportunities. Throughout the year, both adult and children’s workshops and classes will be offered in an array of mediums including glass, clay, painting, drawing and more. Monthly educational opportunities will be provided through CreativeMornings/Omaha. Special programming will be held for members of the public with health, physical and mental health disabilities.Tours and demonstrations will be held daily and by scheduled appointment.

Partnerships and Resources

We will serve as a resource for other nonprofit organizations, helping with economic development and attraction efforts. We will also partner with other arts organizations on a variety of activities and educational needs and be a resource for artists in those organizations needing access to kilns and other tools.

Exhibitions

We have over 4,000 square feet of exhibition space in three areas to host a variety of exhibitions, performances and rehearsals. The entire building is filled with art. We have plans to add educational information about tools, processes and finished work as well as video installations of techniques throughout the building.

CreativeMornings and Community Studio

Space and access to materials/equipment will be provided to the 900+ members of CreativeMornings/Omaha and visitors from the 200+ CreativeMornings communities from around the world to work while they are visiting Omaha. We will also be adding a Community Studio, open to members of the public, adults and children, to create with some of the same tools as the resident artists!

Hot Shops Art Foundation

Board of Directors

  • Doug Bisson President
    Community Planning and Urban Design Lead, HDR
  • Bill Kenedy – Treasurer
    Forensic Accountant, Lutz
  • Christina Kahler – Secretary
    Director of Wholesale Marketing, First National Bank
  • Tim Barry
    Manager, Hot Shops Art Center and Owner, Hot Shops Pottery
  • Les Bruning 
    Owner/Artist, Bruning Sculpture
  • Ed Fennell
    Owner/Artist, Crystal Forge
  • Jason Fischer
    Owner, Creative Leader, Surreal Media Lab
  • Kim Sellmeyer 
    Executive Director, Hot Shops Art Foundation
  • Frederick M. (Ted) Stilwill
    Retired educator and education administrator, former CEO of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties