This mural will be created to depict the history, personal experiences, and vision for the future of the Black community in South Omaha. The story of this community is often overlooked in the understanding of Black History in Omaha and in the history of South Omaha. Many influential leaders came from this area, like Roweena Moore who was instrumental in improving workers rights in the meat packing plants and who founded the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. The neighborhood we will be focusing on is the Highland South/Indian Hills area. Research is currently being done by the Southside Redevelopment Corporation to understand the needs of the community for new housing. We want to ensure that the stories of the neighborhood are seen and heard amidst a time of great change for the area. Our mural will lift up voices of the past and present to celebrate the culture and contributions of this essential community of South Omaha.
Check out our informational poster and feel free to download, print, and share. Help us reach more neighbors!
Amplify Black voices and talent in Omaha
Create a public space for this story to be seen and represented
Create a beautiful and deeply meaningful work of art
Have public discourse about the history and experiences of the community
Imagine what the future of the neighborhood looks like, with redevelopment on the horizon
Be invitational to what is needed and wanted by the community
Use experimental mural creation techniques
Maintain safe Covid-19 practices
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
In order for this project to be successful, we will need to have strong community partners. We have already met and worked with over 50 neighbors living in and near Highland South/Indian Hills neighborhoods. If you live in this area and have stories to share about the Black American Community living there, we would love to hear from you. We have artists ready to have a conversation on the phone, invite you to a small gathering, or host a zoom call.
Your voice is necessary!
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.
We have re imagined our previous mural making models. Instead of meeting indoors at public gathering places in large numbers, we will be doing targeted small outdoor workshops in order to keep particpants and artists safe. We will be able to accomplish this by using our TELAporter, a van equipped with mural workspaces that can be set up quickly in a parking lot or driveway. We will paint on Polytab, a versatile mural fabric, that can be painted offsite and then installed onto a wall at a later date. These workshops will be led by the lead designer and contributing artists. The workshops will target a small block radius with less than 10 neighbors participating at each event. We will have gloves and masks available to all participants and our activities will be coordinated so as to keep us 6 feet apart at all times. We want to ensure the safety of our community and our artists.
South Omaha Historical Fund
South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance
Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund