UNO graduates establish creative nonprofit

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Photo by Hear Nebraska

Will Patterson
A&E EDITOR

Three University of Nebraska at Omaha graduates have come together to form Outrspaces, a unique nonprofit on the edge of downtown Omaha.

Hannah Mayer, Philip Kolbo and Grace Kolbo are all graduates of UNO’s music program. After graduating, they all discovered that finding quality studio space in which they could practice and perform was difficult. This discovery led the trio to eventually found Outrspaces—a creativity oriented space located at 528 S 24th Ave.

Outrspaces is set up in a renovated and repurposed car wash, which had previously been left unused for nearly a decade.

“We got into this space and we just started cleaning it and painting it,” Philip said. “It was full of junk.”

The founding trio worked for a month to prepare the space. At times, the air quality got so bad that they had to wear gas masks to continue working. During this renovation period, they repainted the entire interior, created two private music rooms and installed a dance floor.

The nonprofit first officially opened in March of this year.

Since opening, Outrspaces has hosted 39 events. Grace and Phillip attribute much of this success to their organization’s methods of event hosting.

A driving motive behind Outrspaces is to give back to the local arts community. This includes giving artists their fair share for their efforts. Artists of all mediums are invited to host their events free of charge. Outrspaces splits the generated revenue with the artist and invests their share back into the nonprofit.

“We share in the success of events and make sure that the artist leaves with something that is a profit,” Philip said.

One way that Outrspaces is bringing in extra money is through a membership program. This allows individuals and groups to pay for 24-hour access to the facility. Each member is given a unique code that they can use the buildings electronic locks. A membership costs $100 a month, but can be shared by a single group, such as a band that needs a practice space.

A few groups have made Outrspaces their primary place to rehearse and perform. Some of these include Omaha Poetry Slam and Queerniverse.

“It’s a really unique model that we haven’t been able to find elsewhere,” Grace said. Eight memberships are currently subscribed. Grace and Philip said that their goal is to have at least 10 members by the end of the month.“We are pretty committed. We’re not even a year in, but it’s been one of the biggest learning experiences ever for all of us,” Grace said.

The plan of Outrspaces include the establishment of a board of directors, which is required for a nonprofit to have official staff. This group of individuals would be composed of invested community members that serve as “bosses” of the nonprofit, according to Grace.

Those who are interested in more information about Outrspaces can check out their website, outrspaces.org.

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