Highland South and Indian Hill Neighborhoods, The Simple Foundation,
Barber, Jennifer Young, Zaleski, Benter Mock, Rebecca Harrison, Jeremiah Neal, Pamela Conyers-Hinson, Joelle Sandfort, Aaryon Williams, Ang Bennet
3003 Q St
Omaha, NE 68107
"Often, discussion of African Americans in Nebraska defaults to North Omaha. After all, for generations, it’s where the vast majority of this demographic has resided. But a sizable contingent, a fraction of North Omaha’s, has called South Omaha home for more than a century.
African Americans are among the diverse heritages making up that mosaic of a working-class community, contributing their own archive of achievement and distinction, protest and progress, labor and culture.
This population whose collective and individual stories often get lost in historical accounts of South “O” and of the metro’s minority experience will now be represented in a Black American mural on the former LaFern Williams South Omaha YMCA. The building’s now home to the Simple Foundation, a new generation nonprofit serving families. The lead artist, Barber, is an Omaha transplant whose mural design is informed by community listening sessions and research. The project, Barber said, fulfills his artist’s mission “to bring light or give voice to a conversation that’s not often heard.”"
Leo Adam Biga
Exerpt from his article in NOISE
Mural Dedication Ceremony
October 19th, Tuesday
3003 Q St, Simple Foundation
Refreshments will be available. This is a public event, please bring your friends and family.
Our Artist Team
Joelle Wellansa Sandfort
Aaryon "Bird" Williams
Pamela Conyers Hinson
Daniel "Sedra" Castaneda
Born and raised in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, he joined the United States Air Force started his journey away from his hometown. Jeremiah eventually found himself making a home in Omaha, Nebraska. In Omaha, Jeremiah has painted murals, personal commissions, and led the Artists in Recovery program at the Sienna Francis House.
Joelle Wellansa Sandfort
Joelle Wellansa Sandfort is a biracial, interdisciplinary artist currently living in Omaha, Nebraska. She makes assemblages and installations that explore themes of alienation and connection. Her practice begins with walking, noticing, and sometimes collecting found things like trash or natural debris that are often overlooked. She aims to reveal the value of these overlooked things by uniting them through assemblage. This practice of walking and art-making allows for a deeper connection with the places she occupies and the encounters she finds in those spaces. As a naturalist, she believes that paying attention to the natural world is essential for learning how to better care for living beings, non-living things, and the Earth. Through her work, she hopes to address the isolation that she often feels in both natural and social worlds in order to develop a sense of belonging to them.
Ang Bennett is an Omaha based artist, curator, and advocate. They are a member of the Nasty Artist Collective (NAC) - a community of local artists seeking to use the arts to bring about social change. Ang serves as the Co-Chair of GLSEN Omaha and Visual Arts Co-Chair of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.
Ang is a 2020 Young, Black, and Influential award recipient for Creativity. Their art practice focuses on past and present themes of racial inequality, class privilege, and LGBTQ identities. Ang’s curatorial experience includes Unapologetic Me: A Celebration of Black, Queer, Art, and several NAC group shows.
Ang’s work has appeared in Split Gallery, Hot Shops Art Center, Apollon Art Space, Petshop Gallery, RBR G, and Michael Phipps Gallery.
Aaryon "Bird" Williams
Williams is founder and director of FLIYE Arts Company, a group providing resources and support to talented young artists. “It's an acronym that stands for ‘Focused, Liberated, Intelligent, Youthful, Extraordinary.’ It's a combination I used while transitioning from Gary to inspire and encourage myself.”
Williams is also founder and director of the FLIYE Arts Youth Development (FAYD) after school mentoring program at Omaha North High where kids have lined up to learn from metro area experts.
“FAYD specializes in building better artists and intellectuals through mentoring. We want kids at North—and eventually at other Omaha high schools—to have the chance to meet and learn from people who can help them achieve their goals. Kids need a community support system to be successful, and that's what we give them.”
Pamela is a sculptor working in bronze, marble, alabaster, clay and sawdust. She's worked with at risk youth in the community, and in residential treatment facilities and traveled with statewide exhibitions from the Sheldon Museum teaching art in small communities. Pamela has also taught art for Joslyn Art Museum, The Union for Contemporary Arts, and to death row inmates. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art, a Masters in Organizational Leadership, and a Masters of Arts in Teaching. She's on the Education Committee for Joslyn Kent Bellows Mentor Program and on the Omaha Summer Arts Festival Board of Directors. She is a member of The National Association of Women Arts New York Chapter and an 8th grade Language Arts/Honors Language Arts Teacher at Monroe Middle School.
Her passion for the natural physical beauty of women and her continuous exploration of herself as an African American woman in the arts, has taken her on some amazing artistic journeys. She's used a variety of mediums to create artwork, but the themes of celebrating the female form and the African American culture remain consistent.
South Omaha Historical Fund
South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance
Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund
Bryant-Fisher Family Foundation