Lux Center for the Arts’ Date Night art-making classes unite couples for creative collaboration in a laid-back atmosphere. After signing up for a two-hour workshop, held at least one Friday each month, each participating couple will combine brainpower with up to four additional twosomes and an experienced artisan to channel their collective subconscious into nifty collaborative pieces. Monthly meetings highlight different mediums; guests may spin a custom-made swear jar on pottery night to collect FCC donations, paint themselves into historical events, or forge a backup ring to rule them all in the glass fusing class. Feel free to pair up with a blind date, a new friend, or a well-behaved barista in the Date Night art-making classes, which are open to right-brained couples of all skill levels.
Winery owners Randy, Kelly, and Nate Meyer are so passionate about winemaking that they've designed their entire vineyard to symbolize it—each phase of the buildings' architecture reflects a different step in the winemaking process. A planter crafted from locally harvested limestone marks the entrance to the winery and supports arbors symbolizing trellised grape bushes in the vineyards. The arbors extend through the earth-toned Chancellor Hall, where a towering cathedral ceiling laced with heavy beams can shelter more than 200 guests at once. Inside, light streams in through towering windows overlooking the vineyard, as well as through heavy double doors leading out to a patio and courtyard, where the same arbor continues to form a roof and shield wines from straw-wielding helicopter pilots. Outside, 16 acres of vineyards house rows of Midwest varietals such as Vignoles, St. Vincent, Frontenac, and Catawba. Staffers pluck vines entwined on trellised rows and carry their bushels into a processing building, where they unload pounds of fruit into imported presses and custom-made fermentation tanks. These grapes age into wines in a room designed in the shape of a barrel, which represents the winemaking and fermentation process as well as the winemakers' fear of being trapped inside a barrel. The Meyers also use the wines in these barrels to reflect their love for the region; they've named many of the dry and semidry wines for weather phenomena associated with Tornado Alley.
Ten different types of grapes sprawl across 12 acres that sit along banks of Spring Creek, soaking up the ample Nebraskan sunlight. Mac's Creek Winery & Vineyards—a joint venture of the McFarland family, whose roots run deep in central Nebraska—handpick these grapes to produce a collection of red and white artisanal wines, including their award-winning 2009 Mac's Lantern.
Guests can savor the cherry flavor of the Frontenac grapes found in the above-mentioned Mac's Lantern or sip on other varieties—such as the light-bodied 2010 Spring Mist—in the spacious tasting room or on the sun-drenched lawn. On weekends, they can enjoy a prairie bistro lunch from 12-4p.m., and on Friday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., they can toast to live entertainment or dramatic readings of the wine list.
Angie Lewis never considered herself an artist. When she first began dabbling with paint, she found herself overwhelmed by choices. After fretting over what paintbrush to use and what brand of paint to buy, she eventually gave up and stuffed her art supplies—and her creativity—in the back of her closet.
They remained there until one day, while visiting friends in Denver, Angie attended an "entertainment-style" art class. It had music, wine, and a casual "it's OK to mess up" vibe, and Angie knew she just had to bring the concept home with her to Nebraska. And thus The Corky Canvas was born, a place where friends and artists of all skill levels gather with paintbrushes in one hand, and wine glasses in the other. At two Corky Canvas locations, Angie and her team of instructors lead groups through nightly featured painting, private parties, team buildings, and more. Painters are always welcome to change the colors of their class's suggested design, or to even paint something new entirely, following the whims of their creative spirits.
Abendmusik brings carefully curated musical programs to the elegant confines of the First-Plymouth Church, constructed to echo the styles of early basilica churches and the architectural traditions of Nebraska. A 16-sided carillon tower rises 171 feet above the prairie, welcoming visitors with the chiming of its 48 bells and the soft glow of its custom brick face. Installed in 1998, the monumental Lied Chancel organ's 6,000 pipes can resound with contrapuntal opulence or delicately accompany quiet choral pieces, muffling sounds with finely calibrated expression boxes and the shushing of specially appointed librarians.
The Ross plays host to critically acclaimed foreign and independent films, comfortable and acoustically impressive facilities, and naturally polite audiences that almost never need to be shushed. It features two cozy theaters that can collectively seat nearly 350 people, which is a large enough audience that well-timed unison gasps and "don't go in there!"s can actually impact a character’s future decisions. Today’s Groupon is good for any combination of admission and concessions, and you can use it over one or two visits. Upcoming attractions include Cairo Time, a romantic drama chronicling a brief, unexpected love affair between a traveling fashion magazine editor and a security officer in Egypt, and Last Train Home, Chinese filmmaker Lixin Fan's celebrated documentary that explores the epic Chinese New Year migration on an intimate scale. The theater welcomes guests for both evening showings ($9 adults; $6.50 students and children; $7 seniors and military; $6 members) and matinees ($7 adults; $6 students, children, and military; $6.50 seniors; $5.50 members). After purchasing your ticket, use what remains of your $10 toward brain-expanding movie candy, or save it for next time’s admission.