During its annual art auction, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts fills its underground gallery and first-floor gala space with 444 creative projects from more than 250 local, national, and international artists. On both days, guests can bid live, silently, or telepathically for artwork, which includes everything from stark landscape photos taken by Omaha-based Robert N. Gilmer to bead-adorned Third Eye Dolls from Oakland, California native Flo Oy Wong to frenetic oil paintings from German-born Wolfgang Faller. All funds raised during the auction will go to the Bemis Center, supporting the organization's artist-in-residence, exhibitions and community arts programs.
When the Joslyn Art Museum opened in 1931, more than 25,000 people lined up to see the exhibits. It had taken three years of construction and $3 million to create the splendid art-deco building, which was inlaid with more than 38 types of marble imported from around the world. The force behind this enormous effort was philanthropist Sarah Joslyn, who had the building built in honor of her late husband. But instead of standing front and center, Sarah quietly mixed in with the crowd. "I am just one of the public," she said to people who recognized her.
Sarah truly viewed the museum as a gift to the people of Omaha. And for more than 80 years, they've cared for it like one. With the 58,000-square-foot addition addition of the Walter & Suzanne Scott Pavilion, a sculpture garden, and other enhancements, the museum has grown with time. Visitors today find more than 11,000 works of art inside, with collections and exhibitions that include pieces of ancient Greek pottery, Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Titian and El Greco, and Impressionist works by Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Claude Monet.
After admiring the peasant portraiture of 19th-century French realist Jules Breton, guests can cartwheel over to a collection of 18th- and 19th-century American artwork, which includes portraits by James Peale and landscape images by Thomas Cole. Pieces from the 20th century from artists such as Grant Wood transition visitors into viewings of more contemporary works or attempts to find a 3-D Magic Eye picture in Jackson Pollock's Galaxy.
Give Advanced Air Incorporated an hour of your time, and their instructors can give you the power of flight. Their light training aircraft climbs high above Council Bluffs, where the airport's 656 acres start to look like the world's most realistic Lego set. The instructor hands over the controls, and novices take charge of a plane for the very fist time. The experience is known as a Discovery Flight, and it's a fitting name. That short time in the air can plant the seeds for a lifelong hobby, or perhaps even a career.
The journey to private or commercial licenses begins in ground school, but skills solidify once on Council Bluffs Airport's runways. CBA offers new pilots an ideal location. The airport lies close to Class C airspace, so new fliers begin communicating with air traffic controllers right away. Here, Advanced Air Incorporated's instructors have led many pupils to success; their website's home page brims with words of congratulations for new fliers or pilots who have gained instrument ratings and advanced certifications.
These students don't set their autopilot to fly off into the sunset. Advanced Air Incorporated keeps pilots around with a rental fleet of 10 light aircraft, including Cessna and Piper models. The maintenance team also works on privately owned planes.
When a major flood hit the Missouri River in 2011, it drastically changed the riverfront, creating new sights across its banks. With this fresh face, the river serves as a scenic stage for tours on the River City Star, a riverboat featured in USA Today's August 2009 article “10 Great Places to Stream Through Cities”.
At the wheel of a classic, double-decker riverboat is one of River City Star's two captains, Captain Ken and Captain Steve. Accompanied by an expert crew, the captains ferry passengers over the serene waters that make up Omaha's riverfront. They pass by antique structures such as the historic Old Iowa-Nebraska Swing Bridge, and newer fixtures including the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, described in USA Today as “a one-of-a-kind design that looks like an art installation across the river.”
On dinner cruises, cooks prepare a lineup of cuisine that changes monthly, as passengers dance to the sounds of live jazz or island music. Back on land, weddings unfold beneath a 40'x80' tent set up at Miller's Landing.
When it was originally built as the Riviera in 1927, The Rose Theater played host to vaudeville skits, stage acts, and feature films in opulent surroundings of murals, oriental rugs, and a ceiling decorated with electric stars and clouds. However, the stock-market crash of 1929 forced the theater’s sale, bouncing it from owner to owner until Rose Blumkin and her family saved it from a giant wielding a wrecking ball as a mace. Renovated to its former glory, the theater is now a place where professional stage productions and drama courses give children the chance to enjoy and participate in the arts of the stage.
Nestled inside a two-story Victorian farmhouse, Garden Grove Eatery satiates stomachs with an ever-changing menu of seasonal eats, assembled often from family recipes and employing locally sourced produce, cheeses, and baked goods when possible. Diners can find mates for reluctant bachelor stomachs on the sandwich menu, which boasts the Turkey Bryan's roasted turkey, provolone, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado spread housed in a 6-inch focaccia hoagie ($4.49–$6.49). The Salinger blankets sourdough in hummus, pickles, and vegan mayo ($3.99–$5.99), and the signature philly cheesesteak celebrates moving away from home by topping its shredded roast beef with mushrooms and cream-cheese sauce ($8.29). Chefs also woo stomachs with sides of pepper-and-cheese-infused pasta salad ($1.99), and tap natural underground soup currents for chicken tortilla, creamy potato, and carrot ginger ($3.49–$4.99). The counter-display case showcases a variety of desserts such as cupcakes, pies, and tarts. Some restaurant produce traces its roots to the house's 2-acre garden, where staff practice traditional gardening methods without using harsh chemicals or non-union garden gnomes.