THE UNION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

Supporting the Arts, Strengthening Our Community

aka The Union for Contemporary Art   |   Omaha, NE   |  www.u-ca.org

Mission

The Union for Contemporary Art strengthens the cultural and social landscape of our community by using the arts as a vehicle to inspire positive social change. The Union uses the term “social change” as a broad umbrella to encompass a range of social and civic outcomes from increased awareness and understanding, to attitudinal change and increased civic participation. Recognizing that change on the individual level is directly linked to the building of public will and the development of policy that corrects injustice, The Union embraces the opportunity to foster social change every day through our programs, partnerships, and commitment to North Omaha.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

Brigitte McQueen

Deputy Director

Paige Serra Reitz

Main address

2423 North 24th Street

Omaha, NE 68110 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

45-2274312

NTEE code info

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Inside/Outside Fellowhsip

The Inside/Outside Fellowship Program and overarching mission center on building relationships between artists and communities through creative expression. Where in traditional residencies artists often work on their own in seclusion, The Union encourages artists of all disciplines to be active participants in the civic life of North Omaha while recognizing the potential of art and artists to spark social change.

The Inside/Outside Fellowship is an opportunity for deep immersion in both studio practice and community engagement: Fellows explore materials and ideas to advance their creative careers and participate in activities to connect with neighbors and contribute positively to this place we call home.

The Inside/Outside Fellowship serves as an introductory training ground for community-engaged art, an evolving field of practice that we define as artistic activity in community settings that involves neighbors or neighborhood groups in collaborative creative processes. The Fellowship curriculum consists of a series of experiences, including monthly dinner workshops where Fellows break bread with and learn from visiting artists and arts leaders. Typically held on the second Wednesday or Thursday of each month, the workshops provide Fellows with avenues for thinking critically about how community can nourish creative practice and how neighborhood contexts inform an artist’s work inside traditional gallery settings or outside in public space. All

Fellows are required to complete 60 hours of community service over the course of the program, getting out of their studios to build relationships, gain understanding of the challenges and celebrations of our community partners and the people they serve, and give back to the community. Twice quarterly critique sessions, one-on-one studio visits, open studio events, and a final project are designed to further support Fellows’ creative growth.

Overall, the program aspires to ready artists to create imaginative, thoughtful, and responsible work in, for, and with communities.

In the winter and spring, Fellows generally focus on the creation of new work, get to know their cohort, and begin their community service. In the summer, Fellows take a field trip to explore community-engaged art in the region, seeing and hearing about a variety of projects. In the fall, each Fellow presents a final project, either new work for a group exhibition or a public program such as a performance or workshop series. At the end of the program, Fellows wishing to lead a significant community-engaged art project are invited to submit a formal proposal to The Union.

Four spaces in the Inside/Outside Fellowship program are reserved for artists living in the Omaha–Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The one remaining space is available to a fifth locally-based applicant or an artist currently living outside of Omaha who is willing to relocate for this opportunity. National artists participate by invitation only.

All Fellows receive:

+ An $1,800 stipend
+ A private studio
+ Free access to The Co-Op studios and workshops (materials not included), technical assistance
+ Professional development opportunities.

Ideal applicants have a practice that allows them to take full advantage of the private studio, as well as genuine interest in engaging people and social issues through their work.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Activists

The Union's Exhibition program is dedicated to providing a venue for emerging, underrepresented, and socially-conscious artists to engage directly with the public.

The Wanda D. Ewing Gallery is dedicated to the Omaha artist and educator who passed away in 2013. Ewing’s work ranged from traditional print media to painting, sculpture, and fiber arts, and was influenced by folk-art aesthetics and the depiction—and lack thereof—of African-American women in popular culture and the canon of art history. Throughout her career, she represented the connections between autobiography, community, and history, often with a biting, comical edge.

Born and raised in Omaha and educated around the United States, both the artist and her work traveled around the globe: she felt strongly about the fact that where one has been in the past—literally and figuratively—affects how one proceeds in the future. This often led her to historical representations of women in popular and folk expressions, such as pin-ups, beauty advertisements, “Mammy” dolls, and “exotic” figurines, all of which promote sometimes powerful, sometimes problematic ideals of womanhood into which she often projected herself. In sometimes-humorous, sometimes-serious appropriations of works by white, male artists from Western art history she similarly, meaningfully recast the figures in ethnic and gendered configurations that require viewers to rethink the originals. In so doing, Ewing encouraged dialogue around questions of who is allowed to make, see, and be seen in visual culture, and whether the arts look like the communities we live in, challenging her audiences to believe in the transformative power of art to conjure images where people might be themselves wherever they can see themselves.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Activists

The Union Co-Op is comprised of communal studios outfitted with equipment which the majority of our city’s artists previously had no access to. Artists in the greater Omaha area can now access this equipment by becoming Co-Op members. The funds raised through membership fees are put right back into the studios, helping us maintain the equipment and purchase supplies. Artists wishing to learn how to expand their creative practice have an opportunity to attend regularly scheduled artist-led workshops that will provide an overview of how to use the equipment in the studios.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

Art is a pathway to finding individual voice, which in turn can empower youth to be agents for change in their personal lives and communities. The Union provides North Omaha youth with access to creative experiences—ranging from visual and performing arts to urban agriculture and cooking—that instills them with valuable life skills. Our youth programs help lay the foundation for self-directed discovery and lifelong learning.

In our programs, we:

+ Engage youth in multidisciplinary, hands-on, and project-based curricula
+ Utilize teaching methodologies that privilege youth voices in the making of meaning and knowledge
+ Assist youth in establishing short- and long-term relationships with artists, educators, or mentors
+ Offer holistic learning experiences that simultaneously address a child’s creative, physical, emotional, relational, and intellectual well-being
+ Encourage active civic engagement and community leadership
+ Create a safe environment for youth to engage the arts and each other

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

The Union's Performing Arts program is dedicated to the development and continued support of professional theater artists, and professional thought provoking productions that reflect authentic and diverse narratives about African American experiences.

Central to the program is the Performing Arts Collective (PAC), a theatre ensemble dedicated to exploring the diversity of Blacks experiences in contemporary theater. Invested in the creative growth of local artists, The Union provides a home for the ensemble to work on their craft and tell their story.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
People of African descent

As part of The Union’s commitment to assist with the revitalization of the North Omaha community, we launched our Abundance Garden project in 2013, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighbors. Our facility is located within the boundaries of one of Nebraska’s most populous food deserts. Simply put, a food desert is a low-income census tract where a substantial number of residents lack easy access to a grocery store. Furthermore, according to data from the Omaha Community Foundation’s Landscape Omaha project, 35% of Northeast Omaha residents worry that their food may run out before they can afford to purchase more.
Lacking access to nutrient-rich foods, our neighbors are more likely to become overweight or obese and have a greater risk of developing chronic illness.

In May of 2018, The Union broke ground on the next phase of the Abundance Garden project, located in a 6,300 square foot lot adjacent to the Blue Lion.

Designed by The Union’s Garden Fellow, Andrew Tatreau, and funded by The Peter Kiewit Foundation, the new Abundance Garden will contain 960 square feet of raised garden beds, a geodesic dome greenhouse for seedlings and off-season growing, composting facilities, a performance space, and an outdoor classroom used for community events and The Union’s youth engagement programs.

The garden will include a wide variety of crops, from okra and ground cherries to several varieties of heirloom tomatoes, beans, peppers and melons. We will also be collaborating with the community’s refugee populations to start a dye garden where yields can be used to create natural dyes for fabric and weaving. The new garden also allows for space to plant a small orchard.

Produce grown in The Abundance Garden will be made available free of charge, to North Omaha residents and distributed with the help of local food banks, helping individuals and families meet this vital basic need.The Union previously implemented a CSA program for residents living in the Fair Deal Village Senior Apartments, providing them with fresh produce delivered to their door each week, and plans to re-launch this program as produce becomes available.

Beyond providing a much-needed source of fresh produce, the Garden will provide a beautiful, outdoor community space, as well as food growing resources (seed library, tools & workshops) for individuals who want to plant their own gardens.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Families

Where we work

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The community of North Omaha where The Union is located and artists living and working in the Greater Omaha area.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

THE UNION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

THE UNION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

Board of directors
as of 3/31/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Erin Cihal

Legal Aid of Nebraska

Term: 2021 - 2024


Board co-chair

Shaun Ilahi

Seventy Five North Revitalization Corp

Term: 2021 - 2024

Karen Borchert

Adrian Duran

Amy Nelson

Wendy Townley

Alison Maloy

Jessica McKay

Jeff Beck

Alexis Bromley

Monica Green

Ashley Kuhn

Jen Pavkov

Carol Russell

Susan Stroesser

Shavonne Washington-Krauth

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/31/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data