Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Established 1981
Type Art museum
Artist cooperative

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is located in the Old Market Historic District of downtown Omaha, Nebraska, at the corner of 12th Street and Leavenworth Street. In addition to art gallery spaces that feature ongoing exhibitions, the Bemis offers an Artist-in-Residence program and runs a Community Arts program.[1]


The Bemis was founded by artists Jun Kaneko, Tony Hepburn, Lorne Falke and Ree Schonlau in 1981.[2] In 1984, Ree Schonlau established a consortium consisting of the City of Omaha, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, private and corporate foundations and the Mercer family, who owned the vacant 170,000-square-foot (16,000 m2) Bemis Bag Building. The structure had originally been built as a branch of the Nave & McCord Mercantile Company.

The Bemis Center presents over 20 exhibitions annually in the Bemis Center's main galleries.

The Bemis also holds an annual art auction. [3]


The Bemis was formerly located at the Omaha Bemis Bag Company building, 614 South 11th Street, which was severely damaged in a fire in 1999.[4]

Today, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is located in the old McCord, Brady, & Co. building on 12th and Leavenworth.

The Bemis also operated a space called Bemis Underground, an experimental art space.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Krainak, Michael J. (2 July 2014). "Bemis Reboot". The Reader. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Mission and History", Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Retrieved 20 December 2007
  3. ^ Logan, Casey. "Bemis Center will host annual art auction this fall". 
  4. ^ Omaha Magazine Staff (3 October 2014). "Historic Buildings of the Old Market". Omaha Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Krainak, Michael J. (28 May 2014). "Underground, History". The Reader. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 

External links[edit]