News Go behind the scenes with Omaha Performing Arts

Announcing the naming of the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement

Posted On Sep 13, 2023, 15:06 PM by Sarah Kosch
Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement connects to the Holland Center

Rendering - Dodge Street facing southwest

The newest addition to O-pa's campus will be named the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement in recognition of a principal gift from Tenaska, a leading U.S. company with business operations across the energy value chain.

“We are thrilled to name the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement after an Omaha-founded and based leading company — one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S.,” stated Joan Squires, President of O-pa. “This generous commitment, together with gifts from other donors, will support our newest venue, serving O-pa’s mission and broadening our ability to reach thousands of students and participants through performing arts education and engagement programs for the community.” 

A modern building with a ton of windows
Rendering - Dodge Street facing west

The Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement will offer additional rehearsal, workshop and classroom spaces to accommodate O-pa's expanding education and community engagement programs, which already serve more than 100,000 students, teachers and community members each year. A large event venue will also be part of this new center. Project plans were developed when O-pa determined it was out of space for these activities and after interviews with local organizations and community leaders, as well as research about similar venues around the country.

Site preparation has begun for the new $108 million facility east of the Holland Center at 12th Street between Dodge and Douglas Streets. The official groundbreaking is set for Oct. 11, 2023, with an estimated opening in the Spring of 2026.

“Tenaska’s roots will always run deep in Omaha,” said Howard Hawks, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Tenaska. “We specifically searched for a project that would be enjoyed by anyone and everyone; would draw people together; and would tangibly demonstrate Tenaska’s pride and loyalty to our larger Omaha community. We are thrilled to partner with O-pa on this project, and we firmly believe O-pa’s goal of increasing space to expand quality arts, education and engagement programs is a perfect fit. Tenaska’s executive team, Rhonda and I cannot adequately express our thanks — or the pride we feel — for Tenaska employees who have proven to be generous in their contributions of time, talent and treasure to worthy causes in Omaha and across the country. The partnership with O-pa will be a visible reminder of Tenaska’s dedication to the community.”

Modern building in the sunlight
Rendering - Douglas Street facing north 

In addition to enhancing arts education options in the region, the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement will complete the O-pa campus that is centered around the Holland Performing Arts Center and includes Steelhouse Omaha (opened in May 2023). The three venues are designed by Ennead Architects, original designers of the Holland Center, along with Holland Basham Architects of Omaha (Steelhouse Omaha and the Tenaska Center for Arts Education). Additional project partners include Fisher Dachs, Threshold Acoustics, Kiewit Building Group and TRI Project Solutions.

“On behalf of the O-pa Board of Directors, we are honored to recognize Tenaska’s generous commitment to performing arts education and the young people of our community,” said Jack Koraleski, Chair of the O-pa Board of Directors. "Tenaska understands the impact of these programs and recognizes the value this serves in further activating other philanthropic investments in downtown Omaha and enhancing the Heartland’s quality of life.”