After three decades of growth, festival is state of the art - Omaha.com
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Paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more will be offered by the 135 artists showing their wares this year at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival.(MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD)
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Art, food and entertainment await visitors to the Omaha Summer Arts Festival on Farnam Street downtown.
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There are plenty of art-centric activities for kids who attend the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. Provided image from organizers. 2012
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An art lover looks at prints in an artist's booth at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival. Provided image from organizers. 2012


ARTS

After three decades of growth, festival is state of the art
By Cara Pesek
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


Omaha Summer Arts Festival

THE FOOD
THE MUSIC
THE EVENTS
THE STREET CLOSINGS

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The Omaha Summer Arts Festival has been around for more than three decades.

It's been a fixture downtown since the days when downtown was hardly a destination.

It's become an Omaha summer tradition, one that draws artists and musicians from across the country, as well as families from throughout the city and surrounding area.

“I think that one of the things that I like the most is the fact that it brings people from all over our community together downtown,” said festival director Elizabeth Balazs.

Festival organizers do their best to offer something for everyone, she said.

The 135 artists participating in the juried artists' market on Farnam Street between 10th and 15th Streets this year were selected to reflect a wide range of media. The group includes painters, metal workers, jewelry makers, sculptors, mixed media artists and others.

This year's musical lineup includes jazz bands, folk rockers and a Cuban dance group. A wide selection of food vendors, children's activities, live artist demonstrations and a used book sale benefitting the Omaha Public Library round out the list of things to do.

The festival started as a comparatively small event in 1975, said spokeswoman Stacy Maddux. Its founder, Vic Gutman, had started an art festival in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he went to college, she said. When he moved to Omaha to attend the Creighton University School of Law, he decided to start another festival here.

Over the years, it has grown to include music, food, children's activities and higher quality artists, she said. In fact, more than 400 artists applied for the 135 spots in this year's festival.

“It's just grown and grown and grown,” Maddux said.

But the festival has also stayed true to its roots — the mix of carefully selected art from across the country, eclectic world music, kids' activities and food that give Omaha's arts festival a feel of its own.

“You might go to festivals in other cities,” Maddux said. “But you know what? It's not going to be the summer arts festival.”

Contact the writer:

402-444-1052, cara.pesek@owh.com

402-444-1052, cara.pesek@owh.com

Contact the writer: Cara Pesek

cara.pesek@owh.com    |   402-444-4052    |  

Cara writes about nightlife -- bars, clubs, karaoke, and other places people go to have a good time -- as well as fashion, pop culture and trends.


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