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Call for Artists:

A Midsummer’s Mural, and The South Omaha Business Association, is pleased to announce a call for a lead artist and one or more apprentice artists for the creation of a community mural about the Mexican heritage of South Omaha. The deadline is February 24th.

Applications for lead artists and apprentices will consist of five portfolio samples (jpeg files preferred,) a resume, and a short essay about their artistic experience and interest in the project. We are seeking artists of Mexican descent to lead the team.  The chosen artists will be paired up with South Omaha Mural Project artists, such as Richard Harrison, Mike Giron, Rebecca Harrison, or Hugo Zamorano.  Stipend for lead artist will be at $4,000 and $1,000 for apprentice artists.

Artists must commit to the schedule and list of goals outlined on the project website : southomahamuralproject.com .  Click on The Plaza de La Raza Mural Project for a link to our schedule.  Email artist submissions to midsummer@cox.net. For questions call Richard Harrison at 402-490-7026.

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The Plaza De La Raza Mural Project is a proposed series of four murals sharing the stories of people of Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran heritage living in South Omaha.  The murals will be located on walls that border the Plaza de la Raza, at the heart of South Omaha’s Cinco De Mayo celebration.  Our 2016 phase of the project will be on the “El Mercado” building at 4913 South 25th Street.  It will be about Mexican Immigrants and their role in South Omaha’s unique culture!  

We would like to thank the Nebraska Arts Council and the City of Omaha Historical Fund for supporting us in this adventure!   The murals we do about the Hispanic heritage of South Omaha will be part of The South Omaha Mural Project, an ongoing  plan to paint  ten or more community-based murals depicting the culture, history, and ethnic heritage of groups which settled in South Omaha neighborhoods.   Already completed murals include the “Magic City” at 24th & N streets and the Lithuanian-themed,”Sieninis Paveikslas,” on the Lithuanain Bakery at 5217 S 33rd Ave.  Talks have begun with the Polish and Irish communities of South Omaha to paint their community murals soon! 

The Mexican Mural will share the stories of people of Mexican heritage living in South Omaha. It will have a team of four  artists. The lead artist position will be filled by an open call to South Omaha artists of Mexican descent .Two South Omaha Mural Project team members will assist the lead artist with valuable experience of process, materials, and community engagement within the context of the larger mural project. An apprentice artist will also be chosen, so as to pass on the skills of this work to a new generation of artists, provide an employment opportunity and new avenues of self expression for at-risk youth.  More apprentices may be employed, depending on funding.

The mural will be designed through a process of four community meetings and four focus meetings, which will include discussion and artistic exercises concerning the identity, culture, and heritage of the Hispanic community of South Omaha. Once the design is completed, it will be reviewed by a board of representatives from SOBA. After design approvals, the artists will prepare the walls for community paint days, to take place during the Cinco de Mayo festival. Thousands of visitors to the festival will get to witness and participate in the creation of public art through artist-lead organized painting. In the next five weeks, the four artist teams will work full time to complete their mural before the dedication ceremony, a large celebration in Mid-June with live music and food will commemorate the work of the artists and community members.

The Mexican Mural will impact the community through public engagement in the arts, empowering residents to share their voice. This group expression will translate into vibrant public art pieces that will educate visitors about people of Mexican heritage living in South Omaha. These works will build bridges of cultural understanding between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic residents and promote tolerance and appreciation. They will also provide a beautiful backdrop to the Plaza de la Raza, a gathering place for many South Omaha events, including Cinco de Mayo This artwork will bring vitality to  the heart of the economic district.

The South Omaha Medical Association (SOMA) initiated the idea of murals in the Plaza de la Raza by reaching out to artists Richard Harrison and Michael Giron. SOMA made connections with local building owners and is finding local funding sources. South Omaha Business Association (SOBA) is the project’s fiscal agent.  A panel of SOBA members, who have invested time and money into South Omaha, will be part of the jury to select the lead artists, apprentices, and approve final designs. Applications for lead artists and apprentices will consist of five portfolio samples, resume, and short essay questions concerning their experience and interest in the project. The chosen artists will be paired up with South Omaha Mural Project team members.

A detailed schedule of community meetings will be developed with the Kroc Center.  Bilingual flyers will be distributed amongst collaborating organizations, local businesses, residences, and online. Artists will also make presentations at South High and Spring Lake Elementary, and invite  students to participate in community meetings. We will also collaborate with Arts for All and the South Omaha Library to incorporate The Mexican Mural into their “Where Books and Art Meet” workshop series.  This will provide a setting for children from the area to feel welcome and engaged in the project.