Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preventative Measures at The Union

In consideration of growing public health concerns following the spread of COVID-19, The Union has decided to CLOSE TO THE PUBLIC beginning Friday, March 13.

This decision is rooted in the fact that the health and wellbeing of our community is absolutely fundamental to our work and mission.

Although, there has been no known exposure to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 either in The Union building or among members of our staff, as a public space, hosting hundreds of individuals each month, we’re exercising an abundance of caution, particularly for those in our community who are most at risk or have limited access to healthcare.

For now, our doors will remain closed. But WE are still here. Our work has always been about so much more than our building, and over the last two weeks we’ve been feverishly at work imagining ways that we can continue to come together and move with intention to serve our mission and best support our neighbors, our community… our extended Union family.

What does this mean? The Union for Contemporary Art is organizing a community-wide initiative. This effort is rooted in the knowledge that when times get hard, the communities who feel it first and feel it the hardest are those that have already been marginalized, overlooked, and underserved for generations.

Long before COVID-19 arrived in this country, the reality that America’s healthcare system was grossly unprepared to serve ALL its citizens was already painfully obvious to communities of color, people living with disabilities, and those unable to afford adequate health insurance.

While we are excited about a series of fun and stimulating virtual programs we’ve got coming your way in the next few weeks – we are also deeply committed to taking concrete action to alleviate the social, economic, and public health burden that this crisis will lay on the shoulders of our North Omaha community.

We’re calling this initiative Radical HeARTS – understanding that in these unusual times, in order to truly achieve our mission of “strengthen[ing] the cultural and social landscape of our community,” nothing less than an effort of radical transformation and unflinching compassion is required.

We’re planting seeds. Literally. Although our building may be dark, in just a few weeks our Abundance Garden will be full of life. This summer we’re going to draw every bit of energy and nutrient we can from our 960 sq feet of growing space and yield the absolute maximum amount of fresh greens, fruits, and veggies to share, for free, with our neighbors.

We’re also extending a hand to ALL our community partners. How can we help you? In what ways are you innovating your services to meet the demands of this moment? How can we help you achieve that? On our end we’re re-imagining our art-making classes planned to begin this spring for the elders in our community. We’re diving deep into achieving greater accessibility across all our programs and platforms. We’re remaining hyper-aware of all the ways our Undesign the Redline conversations are especially relevant now as the wellbeing of working class people is put on the front lines in the name of “crisis response.”

Of course, through all this, we are holding close to the certainty that there is no greater unifier, no better light through the darkness, than creative expression. The day will come when this crisis has passed. Whether the lessons of this moment are to be remembered depends on the ability of artists to tell the story of what it was like to be alive in this time when anything seemed possible.

Please stay tuned. More information on our Radical HeARTS initiative is on its way. Until then, we sincerely hope that all is well with you and yours, that you’re holding tight, and taking care of the things that matter most.

With love + resilience,
Your friends at The Union

Click HERE to see a list of North Omaha Community Resources we've assembled for this time of illness.

We plan to update this page regularly with any changes. Please reach out to us with any questions: patrick@u-ca.org.

Keep yourself informed on best practices for maintaining community health and virus developments at the following resources:

CDC Coronavirus
CDC COVID-19 FAQ
Douglas County Health Department
University of Nebraska Medical Center
World Health Organization