Youth engagement Header - Young artist at work, seated in front of a brick wall wearing an apron and mixing paints in a palette.

Youth Engagement

Inspiring young artists

Thank you to The Fred and Eve Simon Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Richard Brooke Foundation for their generous support, which helps make The Union's Youth Engagement programming possible!


Thank you to our community partners No More Empty Pots and The Big Garden for enriching our culinary and small-scale agriculture curriculum!

Logos Richard Brooke Foundation No More Empty Pots Big Garden

The Union’s Youth Engagement program was created in response to neighborhood children who literally knocked on our door curious about the activity in our first home on Burdette Street. Recognizing a desire among neighborhood youth for hands-on art activities, we launched Art Club, an arts and culture enrichment program dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for youth ages 7–14.

Today, we continue to offer free creative experiences for North Omaha youth, ranging from the visual and performing arts to urban agriculture and cooking. Since our founding in 2011, The Union has provided over 11,000 hours of creative and community-based programming for young people in North Omaha.

For questions regarding Youth Engagement, please contact Youth Studios Manager, Jacquline Smith, at jacquline@u-ca.org.

Youth Programs

Art Club

Saturdays 10am-12:30pm | August 27- November 12, 2022
Youth Ages 7-10yrs

FREE //
Applications NOW OPEN at the link below

Art Club is an arts and cultural enrichment program for youth ages 7-10yrs. Each session provides opportunities to view and discuss exhibitions, visit cultural institutions, meet working artists, collaborate with peers, and explore both culinary and studio arts. The studio arts track offers opportunities for the youth to explore studio mediums in 2D(spring) and 3D(fall) art disciplines. The culinary arts track offers opportunities to gain food knowledge and cooking skills by working with a local chef. Snacks and prepared meals are provided.

Created to serve families in North Omaha, youth living in or attending school in the 68110, 68111, 68112, and 68104 zip codes OR youth in Greater Omaha who qualify for free or reduced lunch OR who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds will be given priority admission.

Apply for Art Club
Union-insets-saturdayartclub
Action Brigade

Saturdays 2-4:30pm March 26-May 7 2022 | August 27-November 5 2022
Youth Ages 11-14yrs
FREE // Fall session is now full. Waitlist applications are open at the link below

Action Brigade is a socially-engaged art program that arms youth with tools and strategies to address topics and issues in their communities. Youth ages 11-14yrs meet with community members to learn how a topic that interests them is impacting people locally and globally, and work with chefs, artists, and peers to develop creative responses. Snacks and prepared meals are provided. Created to serve families in North Omaha, youth living in or attending school in the 68110, 68111, 68112, and 68104 zip codes OR youth in Greater Omaha who qualify for free or reduced lunch OR who are from historically underrepresented backgrounds will be given priority admission.

Waitlist for Fall Session
Action brigade
Mentoring Young Artists

Fall Session (July 28 - November 12) // Thursdays 5-7:30p, Fridays 4-8p, Saturdays 9:30a-5p |
Ages 15-18yrs
Honorariums Provided //
Applications for the fall session now closed

Mentoring Young Artists is a leadership and professional development program designed to provide aspiring artists ages 15-18yrs with hands-on experience facilitating creative engagements within a contemporary art space and mentorship participation in an informal learning environment during our Saturday youth programs. As part of their experiential learning, participants will gain exposure to the local artist community by attending art events, such as gallery openings, open mics, and artist talks. This program offers opportunities to build professional skills and relationships with experienced artists, educators, and staff members while supporting our goal to increase access to the arts for young people living in and around North Omaha.

Meet the Spring 2022 Mentors
Youth mentor stands at center of a table with young artists looking on

Art Education

Gallery Explorations

Gallery Explorations provide opportunities to engage in themes and practices inspired by the work of current exhibiting artists. Exhibition resource guides serve to provide educators, parents, and caregivers with accessible resources and engaging content to further explore topics and themes within past and present Union exhibitions.

In line with The Union's core values, these resource guides are intended to create uplifting and critical dialogue, build community pride, and empower students (of all ages) to become more civically engaged and active in social justice issues that are important to them.

For Teens – These single engagement workshops are designed to allow young artists (11-15yrs) an opportunity to explore creative practices while thinking critically about the work of contemporary artists.

For Families - Designed for youth ages 5+ and their adult loved ones, these single engagement workshops use artmaking to form connections with loved ones and the world around them.

For Educators and Alternative Learners - Exhibition resource + activity guides serve to provide educators, families, and alternative learners with accessible resources and engaging content to further explore topics and themes within past and present Union exhibitions. CLICK HERE to request a full 2022 exhibition lesson plans for educators.

See Current Gallery Explorations Events
Gallery explorations
Field Trips

Thursdays 1-3p | Fridays 10a-12p + 1-3p by request
Grades Pre-K - 12 + adult chaperones

Cost: Varies

(currently on pause due to COVID 19)

Offering both in-person and virtual tours of the Union’s current exhibitions as well as hands-on art making activities, these single engagement opportunities are aimed to increase accessibility for students, teachers, and alternative learners, while expanding the depth of inquiry to work by living contemporary BIPOC artists and artists exploring socially engaged practices.

Youth field trip a group stands in a circle listening to an instructor speak in the center at Joslyn Art Museum
Outdoor Art Adventures

June + July
Youth + Families
FREE

Outdoor Art Adventure workshops are designed to engage children and families in creative play by activating outdoor spaces in imaginative and immersive ways. Led by local artists, these drop in activities take place in parks, neighborhoods, and during summer events throughout North Omaha.

View Upcoming Workshops
Outdoor art activity a young artists wearing a mask uses glue for a collage sitting outside
A group of toddlers listens closely to a teaching artist instructing them on finger painting

A group of young people standing around a table getting instruction on making prints from flowers from a teaching artist

A teaching artist and young girl sit at a table outdoors full of finger paints

A teaching artist helps two young girls sautee onions in a pan

A young girl standing in a garden smiles wide holding up two purple beans

A teaching artist leans over the shoulder of a young girl helping her with a weaving project

A young boy leans over a large drawing at work with a pencil

A young girl makes handmade pasta Another young girl stand still while her grandmother positions an elaborate decorative crown of flowers on her head

Four young girls stand overlook a garden of kale in the Abundance Garden

Several young people gather around a pottery wheel where a teaching artsit sits

Three young girls play a game of Freeze in the Abundance Garden

Two young girls examine small sculptures in the gallery

Two young girls smile while one draws on paper another young girl stands in the Abundance Garden with arms full of cucumbers