Over 100 artists will enliven Aksarben Village streets with booths displaying their masterpieces during Omaha Summer Arts Festival June 9-11, 2023. The outdoor festival features an artists’ market, music, food, youth arts, and more. Locally considered an unofficial kickoff to summer, Omaha’s beloved fine arts celebration turns 49 this year.
Leading up to the event, ten 8-foot mural cubes dot the city beginning in mid-May.
To give you a taste of the artists you’ll meet and the art you’ll see and shop at the event, which draws anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 people annually, we spoke with three artists who will travel to Omaha to sell their creations at this year’s festival.
Stephanie Swift of PrettyLittlePixel will travel from Salt Lake City. “I love old signs and the memories you get from looking at them,” she says of her inspiration for the colorful graphics infused with nostalgia that she makes. Her current work features places past and present in Omaha, Denver, Dallas, and various locations in Utah, but she is open to ideas and customizations. In attending the event, she said she loves “being able to go and talk about all the places I grew up around with people who know how awesome Bohemian Cafe was.” To her, art has a narrative. “I love the stories my work brings out.”
Tony Winchester operates Winchester Pottery from Persia, Iowa. Daily life inspires his creations. “Art is everything if you allow it to be.” He notes that his most significant artistic accomplishment has been “raising three children by earning a living making art.” So what does the Omaha Summer Arts Festival mean to him? “Hometown. Family and friends, followers and fans. Good times!”
Ashley Corbello is a painter who will travel from Independence, Missouri. She paints realistic portraits of pets and animals with bright colors and graphic shapes. What has inspired her creations? “I have always felt a deep connection to animals. They are where I’ve always felt most at home, where I can be myself. My work reflects the parts of myself that I see in their expressions or body language.” Corbello is a repeat participant in the Summer Arts Festival. “Omaha is my favorite! The people are wonderful, and the city is very dog friendly. I look forward to it every year.”
Artists love to speak about their work and inspiration, so strike up a conversation and walk away with a piece that now has personal meaning – or a story, as Swift puts it. Throngs of Omaha volunteers will also help direct visitors to exciting activities and demonstrations.
For more great ideas of what to do on your arty weekend in Omaha, check out VisitOmaha.com.