Those seeking to get a taste of Omaha’s art underground and meet local artists must check out Benson First Fridays. The monthly event, set on the first Friday of each month, celebrates and explores local arts in the Benson neighborhood.
The Benson area is already known for being home to galleries, studios and musical venues. First Fridays capitalize on the thriving district by organizing different businesses, galleries and organizations to collaborate once a month.
Benson First Fridays started back in 2012. Founders Jamie Hardy and Alex Jochim planned on hosting an art walk in coordination with some local businesses.
“It was originally going to be a one-time thing,” Jochim said.
After the initial success of the Benson First Friday in June of 2012, the duo continued planning and organizing the event for the following months until it became a Benson tradition. As time went on more dedicated community members volunteered their time and skills to help improve and expand First Fridays.
“It’s been a lot of work but a lot of good things come out of it,” Jochim said.
In 2015 Benson First Friday became established as non profit organization and has continued to grow, now striving to provide for the community in more ways than before. They have pursued these goals by offering workshops and hosting artistic events.
“We wanted a reason to grow and be there for the community outside of our once a month thing,” Jochim said.
This upcoming Benson First Friday on Sept. 1 is particularly special, as it’s the third annual Benson First Friday Femme Fest. This event bleeds into Saturday and aims to celebrate women in music and art.
The event is bringing a massive amount of local talent out to the Benson neighborhood. A total of 75 bands will have performances across 6 different venues. The venues include the Waiting Room Lounge, Reverb Lounge, Barley Street Tavern, Pets hop Gallery, Burke’s Pub and The Sydney.
Tickets for one day are $10 and tickets for both Sept. 1 and 2 are $20. The full schedule of performing groups and times is available on the BFF Femme Fest website and on their Facebook page.
Music won’t be the only art throughout the course of BFF Femme Fest. Galleries and businesses will be displaying a variety of artists throughout the evening.
A major theme of Benson First Fridays is community, which is why so many individuals volunteer their time. There are a variety of different roles available for people who are interested in volunteering—especially for artists who are searching for a space and opportunity to display their work.
In addition to volunteers, Benson First Fridays also has an internship program that is offers credit through UNO. Interns are given of variety of different tasks from which they can choose to work on.
Those who are interested in getting involved with Benson First Fridays, either as a volunteer or intern, are encouraged to reach out to the organizers on their Facebook page or website.