The Hot Shops has been proud to partner with The Ollie Webb Center, Inc., The Art of Imagination Program. We sat down for a Q&A with managing director, Carrie Nath, to share more about this partnership and the impact the program has for their participants.
Tell us a little about Ollie Webb Center, Inc.
The Ollie Webb Center, Inc. (OWCI), is an organization serving adults with a wide range of abilities. We provide services, support and opportunities for individuals to live their best life – to recognize their dreams.
We offer independent living support, job placement and coaching and a full array of education classes. Within the education department lives The Art of Imagination Program. We provide comprehensive arts opportunities including a full-length theater production each Fall at the Scottish Rite in downtown Omaha.
In addition, we partner with multiple arts organizations in town, including the fabulous Hot Shops Art Center!
How has the partnership with the Hot Shops benefitted your participants?
When we returned to in-person services in July, we were welcomed into Hot Shops with open arms. Another extremely important goal is to make sure our individuals are out in the community, making connections and living their best lives. Hot Shops is the perfect venue for artists to thrive.
We are currently in production for the Fall performance, Dionysia: Three Greek Myths, which opens to the public Nov. 5th and runs through the 7th at The Scottish Rite. In addition to acting in the play, we offer the opportunity for individuals to learn about and participate in technical design, build and production crews. Currently, our classes are building the props, assisting in the design and build of costumes and preparing for run and tech crews.
It is extremely important each individual has the opportunity to pursue a career in the arts and through our partnerships and training opportunities we have been able to build connections for the people we serve.
Being at Hot Shops is a dream. On the first day, Tim gave an opening welcome to our classes. He said, “Hot Shops is a place where artists come to create. You are here because you are all professional artists.” I seriously got choked up. The pride and sense of importance in the art and in themselves makes its way into every single piece of art our individuals have created during their time here.
In addition, Hot Shops provided us with the perfect space to grow two of our highly valued partnerships during our summer session. WhyArts Inc. Artist, Lisa Kalantjakos, and Executive Director, Kim Jubenville, put together 8 weeks of movement, theater and dance. Opera Omaha saw it as a perfect place to interactively interview a potential Opera Fellow for their two-year program. The space at Hot Shops is so versatile and accommodating we can do anything and go wherever we want to go in our imaginations while providing the necessary support to grow already existing partnerships.
How does participating in the arts help the people you serve?
Arts Educators and more of the public are learning the importance of the arts to address multiple learning styles and hone 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, communication, creative problem solving and critical thinking. In addition, learning how to advocate for an idea, listen constructively and celebrate the sheer joy of being alive and thriving through story and artistic expression are a necessary part of a life well lived.
The impact of being at the Hot Shops has been deep and profound. About two weeks into classes, one of the individuals pulled me aside. I thought maybe there was something wrong or she was not feeling well. She is a very reserved, shy person and often gets anxious in new places and when meeting new people. She pulled me aside and whispered to me: “You know what – that guy said we are all professional artists, and I know that now. I really feel like an artist when I come in here.” I am not sure it gets any better than that.
Hot Shops is a place where all ideas and creative imaginations are truly safe and welcome to explore – which in turn inspires the previously unimaginable. The artists who have studio space here have been so welcoming and willing to share with our individuals. Every idea is filled with possibility and that shows up in our individual’s work and in their faces. We are not just creating, we are thriving here. Hot Shops feels like home.
“Dionysia: Three Greek Myths: tales of Love, Laughter and Terrifying Adventure” runs Nov. 5-7 at The Scottish Rite Theater at 20th and Douglas. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. Visit the The Ollie Webb Center, Inc. to purchase tickets, or tickets may also be purchased at the door.