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Students field art opportunities in Omaha

Kelli Knox
Students drawing at the Old Market Passageway


Artists’ success stories aren’t always talked about – local artists who have managed to make a career out of art aren’t often discussed with students, leading to the generalization that making a career out of art is next to impossible. Enter Papio South’s annual Fine Arts field trip, an event at which students can discover successful artists in the Omaha area, as well as celebrate their own artistic achievements at the Scholastic Art Awards Showcase. 

Scholastic Art Awards Showcase 

3215 Cuming St., Omaha, NE 68131 

The Scholastic Art Awards Showcase was held at the Omaha Public Schools Art Department. Students from schools across Nebraska had their artwork displayed from March 6 to April 19. Their artwork could receive an Honorable Mention, Silver Key or Gold Key award. 

Papio South had 12 students with  artwork displayed. Their art pieces ranged from sculptures to mixed-media drawings and portfolios. 

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“We pick pieces that display originality, craftsmanship, innovation, and good ideas,” art teacher Mary Todero said. 

Having artworks displayed outside of school  can help students know that their art and efforts are valued. 

“I think it lets our students know that they’re appreciated outside of their school, and outside of the art classroom,” Todero said.

I think it lets our students know that they’re appreciated… outside of the art classroom.

— Ms. Todero, art teacher

Students said having artwork displayed and recognized provided a sense of artistic motivation. 

Junior Ellie Wirth had five pieces displayed at Scholastics: three earning Silver Keys and two earning Honorable Mentions. 

“A lot of the time, most people only recognize realism,” said Wirth, who has a more imaginative style. “So, to be recognized for my ability to do something sort of special was really cool.” 

Not only were Papio South students’ artworks recognized at Scholastics, but the field trip  also introduced them to  artworks by students from across Nebraska. 

“I loved seeing all of the Scholastic works,” Wirth said, “because it’s what other kids my age are doing.”

Hot Shops Art Center

1301 Nicholas Street, Omaha, NE 68102
Seniors Briana Aaron and Klara Finke pose in front of the Hot Shops Art Center (Kelli Knox)

Hot Shops Art Center is a self-proclaimed “Home to all that is molten with art studios and galleries” in downtown Omaha. It houses three floors of studios where 79 local artists work, create and share. 

Students during the field trip had an hour to explore the different levels of the Hot Shops.

“I think it helps students realize that we don’t just create art in a vacuum,” Todero said. “It goes beyond our doors… It connects kids to art in the real world.” 

Many studios at the Hot Shops had artworks displayed for anyone to see. 

Sophomore Kayleigh Bagley said she liked seeing different styles. “It was fascinating to see all of the dark, disturbing art,” Bagley said. “I mean, there was an artwork of fish eating sushi… it was really funny.” 

It was fascinating to see all of the dark, disturbing art. I mean, there was an artwork of fish eating sushi… it was really funny.

— Kayleigh Bagley, 10th

Artists at Hot Shops create from a variety of different mediums – from metal works to quiltmaking. 

“I loved seeing how many different types of art there are,” Wirth said. “Someone was making 3D-printed glasses for kids, and I thought that was amazing.” 

Hot Shops is open to the public, so anyone can explore the studios of Omaha artists. They also have shops, where visitors  can support local artists by buying artworks. 

Old Market + Art Class on the Go 

After discovering art made by both students and professional artists in Omaha, students had the opportunity to express their own artistic creativity at the Old Market passageway.

They had an hour to draw whatever came to mind, being provided supplies by the art teachers chaperoning. 

Senior Klara Finke said the works  seen earlier in the day sparked inspiration for this “Art class on the Go.” 

“After seeing all the other stuff that local artists made,” Finke said, “I feel like it gave me an almost creative energy.”

After seeing all the other stuff that local artists made, I feel like it gave me an almost creative energy.

— Klara Finke

Art teachers prioritized students having  time to create for themselves as part of the Fine Arts field trip. 

“The Old Market is just full of galleries to talk to other people who are interested in art like they are,” Todero said.

The annual Fine Arts expedition-tradition helped students discover the value in their own art skills, as well as the fact that being a professional artist is possible. 

“This field trip has been going on for 13 years, and I don’t plan on stopping it any time soon,” Todero said. “Students have fun while they’re experiencing art in their own community.”

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About the Contributor
Hazel Rose
Hazel Rose, Staff Reporter
Heya folks! My name is Hazel Rose, and this is my first year on staff. I enjoy experimenting with my art, going to the movies, hanging out with family and talking to my pets. I'm excited to create cartoons for Titan Legacy!
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