Project Project works to expand growing arts scene in Omaha

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Photo Courtesy of Facebook.com
Photo Courtesy of Facebook.com

Will Patterson
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Those at UNO looking for art that challenges the norms need look no further than just a few blocks away from campus. Project Project art gallery is no stranger to strange things. This establishment located in the heart of Vinton Street’s thriving art scene is a must for individuals looking to catch a glimpse of Omaha’s art ‘underground.’

Project Project was founded and is curated by Joel Damon and Josh Powell in an attempt to bring some of Omaha’s hidden talent into the spot light.

“It’s not a business of any sort,” Powell said. “The whole idea is really giving emerging regional artists a place to display their work.”

The gallery doesn’t have any paid staff and is instead operated solely by the founders and the artists contributing their work.

As Project Project’s website states, it is one big experiment in sharing. The idea being that giving artists resources and time to bring their work to the community ultimately results in uplifting upcoming creators while also allowing the community to engage them.

What really sets this art gallery aside is the wide variety and eccentric nature of the shows invited to set up shop in the gallery for weeks at a time. Past shows have included everything from visual artists displaying sponges dripping over a small pool to sound artists making art through their mastery of noise.

Powell described the shows as frequently “weird and raw.” A fact that Powell stressed was not a negative attribute but rather the embodiment of what Project Project is trying to provide the public – something new.

One exhibit in the past, created by Charley Friedman, displayed letter shaped sponges spelling out the words “I like moist things” above a pool into which the damp sponges slowly dripped their contents into. This show titled “Wet & Shiny” is a taste of some of the more unique artistic experiences one may see at Project Project.

Another show, brought to the patrons of the gallery by anonymous artists earlier this year, gave visitors a new way to fuse their senses. “Sonoboreal” was the sonic, video and sculptural instillation that explored the space between natural and synthetic noise. In addition to two performances, visitors were given the opportunity to interact with instruments, recorded noises and video.

Opening nights for shows typically occur every second Friday of the month. This date coincides with several other venues and galleries on Vinton Street making an excellent opportunity for one to spend a night exploring another side of Omaha’s art community.

Powell, a UNO graduate himself, suggests students interested in exploring the arts or perhaps even eager to display their work visit Project Project.

Shows are always free, sometimes with ‘pay what you can’ donations being excepted at the door. As a result, show times are fairly limited past opening night and those interested in seeing an exhibit past its debut should contact the curators, Damon and Powell, to see possible dates to have a private visit. Contact information is available through Project Projects website and their Facebook page.

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