Like Benson First Friday (BFF), Second Saturday has bloomed in the Blackstone District to promote the art and culture.
Landlock Gallery, owned by UNO alumna Molly Hobson-Vaida, was amongst the small businesses to be invited by Little Gallery Blackstone, Link Gallery and the Blackstone Business Association to join the Second Saturday. Other businesses involved are Coolgreens, Osteria Segreto, Rathskeller Bier Haus, Red Lion Lounge, Scriptown Brewery and The Switch.
“Our idea was to create an artistic identity for the Blackstone District and invite creative opportunities into the area,” Hobson-Vaida said. “We would like Blackstone to be known as an arts and culture district as well as a great place to grab a drink or a snack!”
Hobson-Vaida said Second Saturday provides an opportunity for well-known locals in town to connect as well as new and emerging artists to gain exposure and sell work at no cost, of which artists are often not given the chance to do.
The pandemic has offered Hobson-Vaida chances of her own after being furloughed from her job in March of 2020 and struggling to find work through the following spring and summer months.
“Landlock really wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the pandemic,” Hobson-Vaida said. “No one was hiring, particularly in the arts, and I finally decided if I couldn’t get someone to give me a job, I would make one for myself!”
Hobson-Vaida said she always had the dream to open her own space, and when the opportunity arrived to start a gallery in the Blackstone District, she knew she had to go for it.
Hobson-Vaida said: “The pandemic taught me that life is too short to not at least try doing what you want. You never know what can happen. I’m very privileged that my husband was able to retain his position and support us while I was unemployed and starting my business. I knew I wanted to help artists particularly and give them something to look forward to because they have been so uniquely affected by the pandemic. The pandemic sort of opened the space for me to take a chance on my dream.”
Being an artist herself, Hobson-Vaida opened Landlock Gallery in October of 2020 to further open the space for first time artists struggling to earn their first gallery spot.
“Landlock is intended to be a jumping off point for artists, helping them make connections, collaborate and engage in a welcoming and fun atmosphere,” Hobson-Vaida said. “A lot of people can feel intimidated going into art spaces, so the goal is to introduce visitors to the wide range of artists, mediums and views of artists in Omaha.”
Landlock offers an artist co-op membership to provide artists with firsthand information on upcoming art opportunities as well as the ability to use the gallery space for classes, pop-ups or events. The artwork is included in four seasonal shows in a visible part of town to offer high exposure.
“There are no exclusivity clauses, and our membership fee is kept low to be accessible to artists at all stages of their practice,” Hobson-Vaida said. “We also do not require artists to watch the space to be more accommodating to those who have full-time work or families.”
The co-op is currently at full capacity with 30 members due to limited space in the gallery. However, Landlock is still accepting applications for potential openings. To submit an application, send a bio, artist statement and photographs of work to email@example.com.