Key Point

While our community has 285 arts and culture nonprofits, not all members of the community can access them due to affordability or location.

Let's Break It Down

While Douglas County has the highest representation of arts organizations in the region, we do not have an understanding of how accessible these organizations are to lower income residents.

In Douglas County, there are 57 arts nonprofits per every 100,000  significantly more than in neighboring Pottawattamie (34 per capita) and Sarpy (27 per capita) Counties. However, the arts organizations are predominantly located in central and downtown Omaha and, not surprisingly, clustered in some of the more high-income pockets of the city; comparatively very few arts and culture organizations are found in North and South Omaha.

While we can breakdown the number of arts nonprofits by county — we currently do not have data that gives a clear understanding of how well individuals and families in our region are able to access the arts. We heard through The Landscape Listening Report that many local arts and cultural organizations are inaccessible to some residents due to high admission and/or program costs.

Access can come through many points — through schools and educational institutions, through low-cost or free programming, and both formally and informally. While geographic location can give us some sense of how well communities are accessing arts and culture, we need more data to tell us whether the arts in Omaha-Council Bluffs are truly accessible to all.

Why Does It Matter

Access to the arts can improve educational outcomes, foster engagement and connection, and increase a community's vibrancy and livability.

Access goes far beyond the number of arts and cultural organizations our community has, but rather where these organizations are located and/or holding programming, the cost to participate, and engagement with communities who may not typically be exposed to formal or informal arts and culture (low-income residents, people with disabilities, older adults, etc.)

Low- or no-cost admission can be one important way to help all people have access to arts institutions. Similarly, arts organizations being located or present in specific communities to meet people where they are can help expand access and opportunities.

Ensuring that institutions include exhibits and programming that showcase or represent a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and experiences is an important way of making more people feel welcome within arts organizations. In addition, public art in particular can help create accessible spaces to experience art.

How Do We Compare?

The Omaha-Council Bluffs region significantly lags in the number of existing arts and culture organizations when compared to other cities.

The Omaha-Council Bluffs metro has 48 arts nonprofits per capita, which is much lower than similar sized or aspirational cities. Minneapolis, Austin, and Lincoln all have higher per capita rates of nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

Data Source: National Center on Charitable Statistics

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The Landscape | A data-driven reflection of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.
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