Radical hearts logo: A monochromatic fist holding a gardening spade and artist's brush next to the bold words RADICAL HEARTS (landing page)

RADICAL HEARTS

A New Community Initiative in a Time of Illness

Recognizing that moments of crisis demand radical action, The Union for Contemporary Art is fully reimagining our programming and public offerings while our community weathers the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 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.

During this moment of illness, our building will remain closed to the public until it's once again safe to gather in space together. However, The Union remains dedicated to serving our community and stakeholders now more than ever through this time of need. In the weeks and months ahead, we are redirecting our organizational efforts toward new direct and meaningful actions that will help alleviate the ongoing effects of this crisis in our North Omaha community and beyond.

As our response to the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, our Radical HeARTS initiative has concentrated into two main areas of focus: Connected Minds and Dedicated Hands.

Together, these two wings of our efforts represent both direct physical action and virtual support in service of community and the arts.

Quick guide chart w ue

Dedicated Hands

Understanding that there is no need more essential than nutrition: growing, preparing, and sharing food with our North Omaha community is central to our Dedicated Hands response to this moment.

These efforts include our work growing fresh produce in our Abundance Garden, and regularly sharing creative activities and healthy snacks with our Art Club families and North Omaha seniors. We're also teaming up with our community partners No More Empty Pots and contributing Union team member hours every week to their Feeding Our Neighbors Emergency Food Relief Service.

Connected Minds

Connected Minds means virtual programming driven to rise to the occasion of this moment. Holding space for critical conversations on justice and community care; sharing artist resources for thriving under limited circumstances; encouraging moments of quiet, reflection, and peace.

However long this crisis lasts, we’re 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.

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Our 2020 growing season in the Abundance Garden has already begun with a renewed sense of passion and purpose. 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 pursuing innovative ways to bring the Undesign the Redline exhibit into new digital settings as the coronavirus makes inequities of class and color even more painfully obvious.

We’re diving deep into achieving greater accessibility across all our programs and platforms. This effort will serve our community now, as people engage with our work in new ways, and in the future when we're able to return to space together.

As a staff, each and every one of us have tasked ourselves with developing both individual and collective ways that we can reach out directly to our community with hands of support. These efforts are ongoing, continually in development, and quickly adaptable to this ever-changing circumstance.

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.

We are forever thankful for the support of those who've entrusted us to do this work. While this experience is traumatic for all of us, we are truly excited for the ways in which this challenge will encourage us to grow as individuals and as an organization. If you are able to continue supporting us in these efforts, you can learn more here. THANK YOU!

  • Follow the link below to explore North Omaha community support resources including: food pantries, healthcare providers, substance and domestics abuse support, suicide prevention, and more.

  • If you would like to contribute to our Art + Life Kit project, providing nutritious food and creative activities to students and families in our Saturday Art Club, reach out to Youth Engagement Coordinator Jacquline at the link below.