I mouth the word “community” in reference to Omaha a lot. But yesterday, I was reminded of the fun that comes with that word. As one of a large group of folks, I volunteered for the Community Clean Up Day at the Union for Contemporary Art. From 9:30 am until late in the day, at least 50 people cleaned, primed, and painted an existing building to ready it for its new life as an arts center.
The Union is “committed to strengthening the creative culture of the greater Omaha area by providing direct support to artists and advancing the understanding of contemporary art forms through education.”
The building was full of artists, arts supporters, community activists, designers, teachers, architects, etc. As volunteers lunched on food donated by Dante’s Pizza and La Charlotte, it appeared I was in the midst of an art opening where everyone was donning do-rags and paint splattered clothes; it was refreshing. Meg and I brought a couple batches of cookies, which were gone by lunchtime - proof that cookies are good for breakfast!
I was lucky to spend my Saturday working alongside some amazing folks: Peter Cales, Anne Meysenburg, Tom Miller, Thom Sibbit, Wanda Ewing, Amy Chittenden, Bart Vargas, Tim Guthrie*, Kristin Pluhacek, and Anne Trumble. This crew of creative and generous people barely scratches the surface of everyone who came out to volunteer yesterday. It is this spirit of enthusiasm that puts these birds at ease about starting a business in such a supportive community. * Linking to Creighton's website seems impossible this weekend, so find out about Tim from a new blurb instead!
Volunteering with people I usually see at art openings or parties proved a good reminder about the multidimensional nature of people. We are more than just our art or our jobs; we are our actions.
Thanks to Brigitte McQueen for starting the Union and bringing the community together.