Tag Archives: Hot Shops

Alpaca Lunch

September 26, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, Sept. 29: Banned Books Week (Sept. 23-29) is an annual celebration of our freedom to read what we like. Celebrate that freedom by attending the Banned Books Week Party at Brothers Lounge from 6-9 p.m. this Saturday evening. Play some trivia and win some things. Grab a drink and engage in a conversation about free speech. Find the banned book for you, with help from Dundee Book Company and Solid Jackson Books. Do it because you can. Learn more here.

Thursday, Sept. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 30: Cirque Italia is back for another thrilling show. This traveling circus is a creative mix of both entertainment and technology. You’ll see tricks done in midair, the human body twisted in unexpected ways, and the Wheel of Death. And maybe dinosaurs? There are seven showings available so no excuses will be accepted. Swing over here for tickets to this Vegas-style extravaganza.

Saturday, Sept. 29: Tired of the same old brunch places? Skip the patios and take favorite meal to the great outdoors. Pancakes in the Park is just the place for some quality nature time before it gets too cold to venture out. There will also be raffles and proceeds will go toward recreation equipment for the City of Omaha Parks Department. Get that sweet-tooth craving out of the way while supporting the city’s parks and saying goodbye to the old rock-climbing wall at Hanscom Park. Catch up on this and other upcoming Omaha Parks Foundation events here.

Saturday, Sept. 29: Be sure to check out the inaugural African Fashion Week Omaha main event at Hot Shops this Saturday. This occasion is an opportunity for local African designers to showcase their talents and experience. They will use rich, vibrant Ankara fabric to create both traditional and modern pieces. There will be a pre-show gathering and cocktail hour from 5-7 p.m. Show starts at 7.  Music from special performing artists Manny Joe and Joeezy will be the soundtrack to this phenomenal addition to the Omaha fashion scene. Get your tickets here.

Saturday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Sept. 30: Did you know about National Alpaca Farm Days? If you said yes, well why didn’t you tell us sooner?! If you didn’t, we’re telling you now. Fortunately, there’s an alpaca farm just a short drive from Omaha—and they’re having a free open house event for the occasion. Alpacas of the Heartland in Ft. Calhoun is inviting you to come out and roam the hills with these charming, quirky creatures. You can even get alpaca swag. Find out more here.




September 1, 2015 by

This article appears in B2B Fall 2015.

It is an unassuming space, but if you have made your way to TD Ameritrade Park, Filmstreams, or Hot Shops, chances are you’ve passed one of the most vibrant offices in Omaha.

CoLab3The fact that Co-Lab (short for Creative Collaborators) is not a traditional work space is certainly one of its best features. Located inside the Tip Top building at 15th and Cumming streets is a project dreamed up by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, who happens to share the main floor of the building. Based in the heart of a once-isolated section of the city, Co-Lab’s funky, creative vibe is making waves. In fact, that vibe seeps into Omaha’s everyday, bringing about small changes pushing our city toward a more innovative future.

Home to 18 businesses plus Alley Poyner Macchietto, Co-Lab is free of walls and signage. It is also free from traditional office norms. For instance, you don’t just walk over to your neighbor’s space for a brainstorming session—you skateboard. At least you do if you’re Dave Nelson of SecretPenguin, a leading experiential branding agency. The best part is that the businesses surrounding SecretPenguin appreciate the break from tradition. “That’s the beautiful part about being around like-minded, good people and businesses,” Nelson says.


In addition to having pathways large enough to skateboard or bike through, the space also provides Co-Labbers with a kitchen, various conference rooms, bike storage, bathrooms, and a battleground (otherwise known as the ping-pong table). Walking in the main doors, clients and employees alike are greeted from the front desk while catching a view of the five-story open atrium basking in the glow of sunshine from the skylight. Workers can also access the fitness room and rooftop deck, sharing amenities with TipTop apartment residents, who use a separate entrance.


Businesses in Co-Lab, all creativity-related, range from entrepreneurs to start-ups to non-profits to small businesses. The art varies in form, but runs through the space like an electric current. At Zicafoose Textiles, Mary Zicafoose works steadily on her loom, creating gorgeous tapestries. 4Site Programming is where Joi Brown works as an independent consultant for performing arts centers across the nation. Heartland B-Cycle, a large-scale municipal bike sharing system, brings art in the form of economical convenience.

Holly Boyer, a founder of non-profit organization Mission Matters, explains that one of the best things about having an office at Co-Lab is feeling the innovative, positive energy from the moment you walk in the door. So while individuals may join Co-Lab with a business-minded focus or a more creative vibe, finding a yin to their yang is just a shout away.


“There is certainly a wonderful built-in support network that comes along with working in a collaborative environment,” quips Omaha Creative Institute Executive Director Emily Moody. “Everything from sharing ideas and finding ways to collaborate with an organization different than yours to sharing a stapler.”

At the heart of making it work, says Laura Alley of Alley Poyner, it’s simply playing well with others.

The skateboarding, ping-pong playing creatives do that well.



Play Me, I’m Yours

August 23, 2013 by
Photography by Omaha Creative Institute

Rogue pianos.

Those are not two words one typically finds sharing space together. It’s Susan Thomas’ fault, really.

As executive director of Omaha Creative Institute, Thomas is thrilled that local businesses and creatives around town are jumping on the bandwagon (pun fully intended) of Play Me, I’m Yours. The public art exhibit consists of 10 pianos decorated and placed around the metro. The Omaha take on the international project encourages locals to play anything from Chopsticks to Beethoven’s 5th between now and Sun., Sep. 8, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.



There are more than 10 instruments now.

“There are three rogue pianos that I know of,” Thomas says. “People heard about the project and told me, ‘we want one in our area too!’” Already faced with the logistical challenge of finding 10 pianos, artists willing to decorate them, and locations to stage them, Thomas welcomed interested parties to find and decorate their own pianos to sort of piggy back on Play Me, I’m Yours.


So if playing on an “authorized” piano at 2 a.m. in a public space isn’t rebellious enough for you, feel free to seek out one of the following:

  • The Sweatshop Gallery in Benson. This piano is the brainchild of Sweatshop Gallery founder Kim Reid Kuhn and artist Stephen Walsh.
  • Modern Arts Midtown at Midtown Crossing. Owner Larry Roots has selected a piano that will be painted in stages while it’s out in the spotlight.
  • Bruning Sculture at Hot Shops. Les Bruning has made a miniature grand piano out of metal. He’s put an electronic keyboard inside it, and it’s portable. “If someone’s having an event, he’s more than happy to take it there,” Thomas says.

“The great thing about this,” she adds, “is that it’s so multidisciplinary. People will say, oh, isn’t it about the art, isn’t it about the music, isn’t it about the people. Well, actually, it’s about all of that.”

For a complete list of the 10 locations planned by Omaha Creative Institute, visit streetpianos.com/omaha2013.