Omaha Performing Arts is adding a new venue downtown. A $103 million Center for Arts Engagement will be built on the east side of the Holland Performing Arts Center.
The facility will sit on the green lawn space between Dodge and Douglas Streets. Omaha Performing Arts said it will fill the need for additional rehearsal, workroom and classroom space.
Performing arts education and engagement programs that serve the community are a key part of its mission, OPA President Joan Squires said.
“These activities already reach over 100,000 students and participants annually from across Nebraska and beyond,” she said. “With our commitment to diversity and inclusion, we want to broaden these programs and launch new ones, and we simply do not have adequate space.”
The new venue will help spur other investments in downtown Omaha, including the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall, Squires said. Fundraising is under way to cover the costs of the $103 million facility.
People are also reading…
Project plans were developed after interviews with local organizations and community leaders, and research about similar venues around the country.
In addition to enhancing arts education options in the Omaha area, the Center for Arts Engagement will complete Omaha Performing Arts’ campus, which is centered on the Holland Performing Arts Center. This expansion includes Steelhouse Omaha, a live music facility that will open in mid-2023.
Steelhouse Omaha is being developed in a former parking lot between Dodge Street and Capitol Avenue, east of 12th Street, across from the Holland Center. The $104 million project is almost 100% donor-funded, according to Squires. The City of Omaha contributed $1.1 million to its creation.
The midrange concert venue is designed to accommodate shows too large for the Orpheum Theater and too small for the CHI Health Center. It will hold up to 3,000 people when it opens.
Omaha Performing Arts said more than 550,000 people attend events at the Holland Performing Arts Center and the Orpheum each year. The organization’s annual economic impact is $48 million, which is expected to increase to $61 million when Steelhouse Omaha opens.
The three venues are designed by Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership), original designers of the Holland Center, and Holland Basham Architects of Omaha.
OPA Board Chairman Jack Koraleski said the new facility will enable thousands more to participate in its programs.
“Our board and leadership teams are dedicated to providing vibrant arts and entertainment experiences in Omaha and the region,” he said. “This newest venue is about the future of our community — significantly contributing to Omaha’s quality of life.”
Marjie Ducey's favorite feature stories of 2021
OWH staff writer Marjie Ducey looks back at her favorite feature stories of 2021.
Omaha business A&R Salvage had many pieces of Omaha's history at it's site. When the owner announced the business would move, many of thos…
Dr. Fred Kader, a retired pediatric neurologist in Omaha and Holocaust survivor, put together what happened in the early years of his life thr…
A missing painting by a Nebraska artist and a family's quest to find it and get it into a museum. This story ultimately had a happy ending.
An honest look at the feelings of a daughter caring for a mother with Alzheimers. This story resonated with many readers who are in similar si…