Omaha Performing Arts announces plan for campus expansion


Megan Fabry

An image of a band performing at a concert
The venue is expected to cost $109 million and be completed by early 2023. Photo courtesy of Omaha Performing Arts.

Omaha Performing Arts recently revealed their ongoing plans to create a new music venue in downtown Omaha.

Omaha Performing Arts is well known for their high performance standards and community engagement programs that reach all over the community. The idea of a new venue came when members of the state’s largest art organization came together to discuss how to benefit the company and the community.

“About two years ago, Omaha Performing Arts wanted to evaluate the needs of the community and our future and how we might use our properties,” Omaha Performing Arts President Joan Squires said. “We really spent a lot of time analyzing the community, talking to other arts groups, looking at what might be missing here and what else we could provide to serve the community, and undertook a pretty extensive process and developed an entire campus expansion plan—including the first phase of a live music venue, and eventually we will do a second phase of an education center.”

Although Omaha has seen its fair share of popular artists such as Lady Gaga, the Jonas Brothers and Elton John, many performers choose to pass over Omaha due to the lack of an adequate venue. The new venue is being created with the hope that Omaha will no longer be a flyover state for artists.

“The need for the live music venue is particularly because bands and touring artists were skipping Omaha. So, we think this is another perfect venue that compliments what already exists and allows these bands to appear in Omaha and provides a place for the arts groups to create,” Squires said. “We think it’s really the next piece of the puzzle to attract young people, help work force development and really continue to grow Omaha and the quality of life activities that we help present.”

The expansion and addition of this new building will integrate all OPA buildings into one campus with the Holland Performing Arts Center at the center. Pending successful funding, they plan to break ground in a year and finish the project in early 2023.

“The live music venue will strengthen Omaha’s image as a premier artist and entertainment center and make us even more attractive to young adults,” Mayor Jean Stothert said in a press release. “This is an exciting project that has the potential to generate significant economic activity and bring many thousands of music fans to downtown Omaha.”