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Photo by Megan Alexander/ The Gateway

Will Patterson

Incoming students that are seeking to connect with the local arts scene should be certain to make the KANEKO art gallery one of their first stops. The KANEKO,which operates closely with the University of Nebraska at Omaha on several fronts, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging and exploring creativity.

Until Oct. 14, the KANEKO gallery will be hosting the KINETIC exhibit. The art collection focuses on movement in art and features a variety of different artists expressing this through different mediums.
John Buck, the exhibit’s featured artist, brings his wooden sculptures to life with moving parts.These animated sculptures set the tone for the entire gallery.

Buck’s work is very intricate with small, detailed etchings being hidden on nearly all his sculptures. While his art leaves open much room for interpretation,it does clearly address certain issues—particularly social and economic injustice. Depictions of wealth, corruption and exploitation are all common among Buck’s moving statues.
“He says it doesn’t mean any-thing to him, but could definitely mean something to an onlooker,”said Hannah Randolph, a gallery attendant of the KANEKO, about Buck’s earlier, less complex woodart pieces.
While the first floor of the KANEKO is primarily occupied by Buck’s art pieces, the upper floors are currently housing projects by other artists and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Biomechanics.
One of most attention-grabbing projects on the upper floor is the large flowers with stems made of PVC pipe. The flowers that are tall enough to loom over guests are also motion-activated, causing them to open and “bloom” in an audience’s presence. Lights twinkle within them creating fantasy and a magical appearance.
“They were originally made for Burning Man,” Randolph said.“So, they can pretty much withstand any environment.”
The UNO Department of Biomechanics provides the KINETIC exhibit’s hands-on section. With several different projects set up within their section, the department of biomechanics aims to educate and entertain gallery guests.
One such technology available at the department of biomechanics exhibit is virtual reality. With a couple headsets free for the public to use, the exhibit gives insight into the relation between art, science and innovation.
“People seem to really like art when they can get their hands on it,” Randolph said.
The KANEKO gallery is always changing with new and exciting exhibits rolling into the Omaha area. For students trying to navigate the expansive world of art this is a great first stop.
Admission into the KANEKO art gallery is free to the public with an option to join a paid membership for exclusive first looks at new exhibits. The hours of operation are from noon to 8p.m. on Tuesday through Friday,11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and the gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday.

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Photo by Maha Music Festival

Will Patterson

The ninth annual Maha Music Festival will once again be taking place in Aksarben Village on Aug. 19. The grassy bowl of Stinson Park will serve as the amphitheater for the festival, while local nonprofits will have stands providing alternative entertainment and activities.

General admission tickets are $55 if purchased in advance. Tickets on the day of the festival will have an increased price of$65 which will give access to the entirety of the festival’s performance and Community Village activities. The $185 VIP package was sold out at the time of publishing.

This year’s lineup for Maha Music Festival will be giving the audience a healthy mix of local emerging artists and nationally known acts.

The headlining performance will be Run the Jewels, the rap duo composed of Killer Mike and El-P. Their show will be featuring new music from their latest release,“Run the Jewels 3,” which is available for free download on their website.

Another notable act and local favorite that will be returning to their home city is The Faint. Maha will be a stop on their tour for their latest album, “Capsule: 1996-2016,”which will be looking into The Faint’s Omaha origins in addition to their future plans.

The full list of groups that will be performing can be found at the Maha Music Festival website.

A unique aspect of the festival is its non-profit nature. The event is made possible by a long list of local sponsors, one of which is the University of Nebraska at Omaha.Many of the sponsors are nonprofits that are active in the community and help bring awareness to a variety of causes. Group swill include Planned Parenthood, KANEKO, Sienna/Francis House and many others.

Given the community theme of Maha Music Festival, volunteers are a big part of what makes it all possible. Volunteers receive a general admission ticket in addition to a T-shirt to commemorate the festival.Those who are interested in volunteering can sign up on the festival’s website.

Maha Music Festival’s Community Village gives a platform to the festival sponsors.The village will have stands for local non-profits spreading awareness for various issues while also providing fun activities.

theme that will be prevalent at this year’s Maha Music Festival is suicide awareness and prevention.

More information about Maha Music Festival’s efforts to bring awareness to mental health can be found on their website and blog. Going beyond the Saturday festival,Maha keeps active in the community year-round with updates on their social media aimed at keeping the conversation going.

Those who are interested in biking to Maha Music Festival are encouraged to do so. The festival is taking place along Keystone Trail for easy access to cyclists. A valet service with bike racks will be available at the festival.

Photo by Omaha Community Playhouse

Will Patterson

An important part of starting or returning to college is finding activities to get involved with, and something to do during free time. The Omaha Community Playhouse fills both of those.

Located less than a block away  from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Dodge Campus is the Omaha Community Playhouse.It’s worth noting that Omaha is home to the largest community playhouse in the entire country, and it certainly lives up to that title.

One of the greatest benefits that the Omaha Community Playhouse brings to the community is the options for volunteering and involvement. Kimberly Faith Hickman, the artistic director ofthe playhouse, stresses the fact that there are plenty of choices for students that require little to no experience.

“There are opportunities in pretty much every area of our building,” Hickman said.

A lot of different roles go into making a production come to life—and all of them are essential to each play’s success. Aside from acting, the playhouse needs people to help with backstage tasks, costuming, lights, ushering guests and more.

In the past, UNO students have played key parts in productions.Last year, two UNO students performed the lead roles in the playhouse’s rendition of “Sister Act.” Additionally, “Sister Act featured several performers who had never set foot on stage before.

“This is community members that want to learn a new skill and volunteer their time to work with us,” Hickman said.

Those who are interested in becoming a part of the Omaha Community Playhouse can find more information on their web-site under the tab labeled “Get Involved.”

This year’s lineup of shows is exploring a wide range of genres.
Hickman said that she is particularly excited for the productions of “Parade” and “The Mountaintop.”
“Parade” is a musical about the trial of a Jewish man who is wrongfully accused of murder in the town of Marietta, Georgia in 1913. The performance illustrates the racism and religious intolerance that engulfed southern towns in the early 20th century.“Parade” is based on a true story of Leo Frank’s trial.
Also focusing on the theme of intolerance, “The Mountaintop” is a historical fiction play imagining Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night alive. The play is about King’s encounter with a mysterious stranger following his final speech.
“I think we have a really good year of offering something for everyone in terms of our shows,” Hickman said.
The first show to premiere during the school year will be “Eminent Domain.” This contemporary story takes place in Nebraska and follows a family that is impacted by the plans to construct an oil pipeline. The play was written by an Omaha author and will be performed for the first time by the Omaha Community Playhouse.
Students that are interested in catching a show can purchase discounted tickets for $7 during the opening weekend of each performance. The discount isvalid for any student from kindergarten through full-time undergraduate students.

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Will Patterson

University of Nebraska at Omaha’s competitive speech team, MavForensics, earned their spot in the country’s top 10 forensics programs for the seventh consecutive year.

Following the team’s success at the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament, they earned the rank of sixth best team in the country—a feat made more impressive given the smaller size of UNO’s team compared to other top 10 schools. With many top 10 teams bringing around 20 to 30 members, MavForensics secured their rank with 13 students.

“To take such a young team and be ranked sixth in the nation is insanity,” said Abbie Syrek, the director of MavForensics and a professor at UNO.

Syrek has been the director of MavForensics since fall of 2006.

“MavForensics, nationally, has become really well known for being a small but particularly mighty school for speech,” said Cameron Logsdon, the assistant director of MavForensics. “We’re getting recruits on our team who came specifically to UNO from Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and California.”

Logsdon compared the scoring system of speech tournaments to that of a track tournament. While students are competing in their individual events, they are contributing points to the overall team’s score.

The journey to the top 10 is a taxing, time consuming process. Students on the team spend many hours each week, starting in July, preparing speeches and eventually traveling to tournaments later in the season. Tournament weekends typically involve team members leaving Friday afternoon and returning late on Sunday night after a full weekend of competing.

“It’s a rare opportunity that someone my age or someone at my level in education is able to travel the country for an entire school year,” said Sarah Maul, a sophomore in MavForensics. “We meet people from all around the country and build relationships.”

Maul was one of the 13 students who competed in the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament.