Under the direction of Jillian Davis, Vice President of Human Capital and Inclusion and Andy Cassano, Vice President of Programming and Education, Voices AMPLIFIED! will elevate artists and their work in social justice through live music, dance, and spoken word. The new series will include panel discussions and workshops by local and national artists and community partners on food, health, #BlackVoicesMatter and more.
Inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility are core values at Omaha Performing Arts and are woven throughout our efforts. Voices AMPLIFIED! is an extension of that work and a long-term initiative to expand our artistic, community engagement and education programs.
This year's Voices AMPLIFIED! committee includes community members comprised
of educators, artists and O-pa employees: Alexis Arai, Andy Cassano, Raydell Cordell III, Jillian Davis, Aaron Gregory, Bill Grennan, Dara Hogan, Matt Mason, Marcos Mora, Victoria Ortega, Jade Rogers, Gennean Scott, Kathy Tyree and Hugo Zamorano.
During the 2020/2021 season, Voices AMPLIFIED! partnered with performing artists who reflected on Black history and racial equity. Watch the recap video.
Join us for the Voices AMPLIFIED! 2021/2022 season. We'll continue to amplify Black and Latinx voices and their work in social justice through the arts with local and national artists like Sankofa Danzafro, an Afro-Colombian dance group and Omaha native Ray Mercer.
Learn more about Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility at O-pa here.
Explore Upcoming Events
Step Up to the Mic
October 14, 2021 | 7:00 PM
A night of poetry at Step Up to the Mic, where spoken word and painting unite. Local poets Zedeka Poindexter, Paula Bell and Shukura Huggins will perform original poems, while visual artist Hugo Zamorano completes an art piece inspired by their performances. This event is free to the public — no registration is required.
Zedeka Poindexter is a two-time winner of the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards for best performance poet. She’s a teaching artist with the Nebraska Writers Collective.
Paula Bell joined and began performing with The Wordsmiths in 2012, a professional spoken word troop in the Great African American Oral Tradition. Bell is also a poetry coach under the Nebraska Writers Collective.
Shukura Huggins, creator of Just Ku Creative, is a visual artist and designer, writer and spoken word/performance poet. Huggins has competed poetically from the local slam stages at home in Omaha, to national stages in Ohio and Boston.
Hugo Zamorano was born in Los Angeles, California, where he discovered graffiti art and hip hop. Zamorano now resides in South Omaha, where he continues to grow as an artist.
Celebrating The Food of Navidad and Kwanzaa
December - time and location TBD
Learn about and sample foods from these holiday traditions with our partners No More Empty Pots. More details to come.
Hip Hop Panel Discussion
Date and time TBD | Culxr House
A panel discussion about the history of hip hop and its impact in Omaha. DJ Kethro, musician and rapper Marcey Yates and rapper Conny Franko will participate in the discussion. More details to come.
Amplifying Black Women in the Sciences with Dr. Rae Wynn Grant
February 16 | 5:30 PM | location TBD
Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant has dedicated her life to ecological research and conservation. As a scientist with National Geographic Society’s Last Wild Places Initiative, she works to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations, including North American black and grizzly bears.
Dr. Grant will host a panel discussion about advancing opportunities for Black women in the sciences. More details to come.
You can also join Dr. Grant for The Secret Life of Bears National Geographic at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30 PM for a presentation. Purchase tickets here.
The Story of Afro-Colombians Through Dance with Sankofa Danzafro
March 2-4 | time and location TBD
Sankofa Danzafro has sought to build a bridge between Afro-Colombian peoples and the African continent. The company uses Afro-Colombian’s ancestral roots in the creation of dance works. “Sankofa”, meaning, “to return to the root”, is an African philosophy that proposes that the past is a keyhole through which to view the present, and to be able to consider the future.
Sankofa Danzafro will host a series of dance workshops focused on Afro-Colombian dances from the North and South Pacific region in Colombia. They will also hold music workshops that will explore specific Afro-Colombian rhythms. More details to come.
Sankofa Danzafro will perform at the Orpheum Theater on Friday, March 4 at 7:30 PM. Purchase tickets here.
Fusing Music and Story with Las Cafeteras
March 29-31 | time and location TBD
Born and raised east of the Los Angeles River, Las Cafeteras is remixing roots music and telling modern day stories. Las Cafeteras create a vibrant musical fusion with Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms, and rhymes that deliver inspiring lyrics that document stories of a community seeking love and justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.
The band will host a series of music workshops. More details to come.
Las Cafeteras will perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 PM. Purchase tickets here.
The Unsung Stories of Black Women
20 Feet From Stardom viewing and discussion
May 26 | time and location TBD
“20 Feet From Stardom” is a 2013 Best Documentary Oscar-winning film about the contributions and challenges of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Lisa Fischer, who will perform at the Holland Center in May 2022. The film altered the course of Lisa's musical journey, telling her story, with clips of her legendary duets with Sting or with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter” and left audiences eager to see and hear more.
We will feature a film showing of "20 Feet from Stardom" and panel discussion. More details to come.
Lisa Fischer will perform at the Holland Center on Thursday, May 26 at 7:30 PM. Purchase tickets here.
Finale Event – Omaha’s Forgotten Century
Saturday, June 25 | Orpheum Theater | 7:30 PM
The Voices AMPLIFIED! season finale event will feature a 60-minute dramatic musical theater performance created by Broadway actor, choreographer and Omaha native Ray Mercer. It will feature New York and Omaha-based musicians, dancers and visual artists as well as community members. The commissioned work will be framed around oral and written history of Black and Latinx Omaha. More details to come.
Past Events in 21/22
Celebrating Mexican Independence Day
September 16, 2021 | 5:30 - 10:00 PM
Holland Center Outdoors
Join us at Holland Center Outdoors as we kick off the 21/22 Voices AMPLIFIED Season with a celebration of Mexican Independence Day. This FREE, public event will feature live music and dance, salsa lessons, food by O-pa Food Services, local restaurants and more!
This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.