A Letter from Our Founder

Portrait photo of Brigitte Mc Queen sitting in the lobby of The Union in front of a wall of books

Dear Union friends and family – hello!

– January 11, 2024

Thirteen years ago this month, I embarked on a journey to create an organization that would support the creative practices of Omaha’s artists, add to the vibrancy of our cultural sector by increasing access to the arts, and shine a light on the beauty and resilience of our North Omaha community. Through the love, support and generosity of countless individuals, The Union for Contemporary Art grew from a spark of a dream held by one – to a creative campus serving thousands, nestled in the heart of the Near North Side.

As its founder, the analogy of The Union being like a child I pushed into the world was never lost on me. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of watching it grow from humble beginnings to become a vibrant, strong, brilliantly beautiful addition to our city’s cultural landscape. Together we’ve stumbled through challenges and celebrated wins … and much like a parent, I have become deeply proud of all that this dream has become. I can’t quite explain how incredible it's been to watch The Union come into itself – to grow and begin to effect the change I always hoped it would.

In 13 short years, we’ve come together to build a thriving, inclusive campus where the arts are celebrated, where artists have found access to the funding and resources they need to thrive. A space that feeds our community’s hearts and minds, as well as their bodies… where children can come to dream and create. A space where folks can come to share their talents and stories and learn from others. Along the way, I’ve stood with awe and pride as I’ve watched a village embrace and raise The Union up.

I’ve been aware from the very beginning that there would come a day when The Union would be ready to embark on a new journey – and it’s now time to write a new chapter in our shared history. Last June, I informed my board of directors and staff that I felt the time was coming for me to transition from my role as the Executive Director of The Union. Over the past six months, I’ve been grateful to have an opportunity to launch a thoughtful and intentional succession plan with my board of directors – one focused on supporting our *incredible* staff and stakeholders through my transition, while ensuring that the great work of The Union continues.

Just as it took many hands to help me begin my journey with The Union, it is through the knowledge and mentorship of many others that we are working to ensure support for our leadership transition. We are honored to be working with Arts Consulting Group in the search for a new Executive Director – we have also created an opportunity for our staff to receive one-on-one coaching with the wonderful team at Community Resource Exchange and have been working with Naomi Hattaway of Leaving Well Consulting to help guide our board and staff through this pivotal moment in our organizational history.

It is my intention to continue to serve The Union’s staff and stakeholders during this period of transition, ensuring that our incoming Executive Director feels supported and prepared to lead our organization forward. We anticipate the search process to be concluded and a new leader onboarded in Q2 of 2024.

Founding The Union and serving as its leader since 2011 has, without a doubt, been one of the greatest honors of my life. And while I spend each day immersed in gratitude for all that The Union has afforded me, I am most grateful for the opportunity to do this work with the most amazing team of people who work with me to tirelessly move The Union and its mission forward. The Union’s staff is like no other, and it has been such an honor to serve them through my leadership. As I leave The Union in their extremely capable hands, I am excited to begin the search for a new leader to serve them, to empower them so that they can continue to do the good work of supporting the arts while strengthening our collective community.

Together, we have built something amazing in The Union… None of what we’ve created over the past 13 years would have been possible without the love and support of our extended Union family – thank you for taking this journey with us and I hope that each of you will continue to stand with us as we grow, thrive, and embark on new adventures… together.

As we move through this transition, if you have any questions, concerns, or advice, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at brigitte@u-ca.org. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for our Executive Director position, please follow the link below to learn more and submit an application.

Thank you – with love + gratitude,

Brigitte Mc Queens signature

Brigitte McQueen
Union for Contemporary Art Founder + Executive Director

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