Voices AMPLIFIED! is a multidisciplinary arts and social justice initiative to amplify artists in diverse cultures.
Under the direction of Gennean Scott, 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 by local and national artists and community partners on food, health, #BlackVoicesMatter and more.
Voices AMPLIFIED! is led by a committee of ten community members comprised of educators, artists and O-pa employees: Deborah Bunting, Andy Cassano, Raydell Cordell III, Aaron Gregory, Bill Grennan, Dara Hogan, Matt Mason, Jade Rogers, Gennean Scott and Kathy Tyree.
“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,” said Gennean Scott, Vice President of Human Capital and Inclusion.
During the 2020/2021 season, Voices AMPLIFIED! will partner with performing artists who reflect on Black history and racial equity to amplify Black voices and Black stories and encourage dialogue in the community. While current events have directly shaped the direction of this year’s topic, the community approach to Voices AMPLIFIED! is an ongoing effort at O-pa.
Explore Upcoming Events
Worth a Thousand Words: The Photography of Rudy Smith
Sunday, December 13 at 4:00 PM
Dinner and Discussion on Food, Health and the Arts
Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 5:00 PM
Food is rooted in Black culture and history and is also at the heart of health issues that challenge our society. Inspired by noted author and cook, Michael Twitty, we’ll be preparing dinner for you. You'll be able to eat and join our discussion on Black culinary arts, culture and health with guests from the Nebraska School of Medicine.
More information coming soon.
Lunch and Learn | The Food and Music of the Gullah Culture
Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 12:00 PM
Ranky Tanky is a Grammy-Award winning musical ensemble based in Charleston, South Carolina that specializes in jazz-influenced arrangements of traditional Gullah music, a culture that originated among descendants of enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry region. We invite you to engage with Ranky Tanky over a lunch and learn about the Gullah Culture, music and history.
Location TBD. More information coming soon.
Ranky Tanky will perform live at the Holland Center on Friday, February 5 at 7:30 PM.
Live Discussion with Alicia Olatuja
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 5:30 PM
Jazz singer Alicia Olatuja will give an in-depth insight on her upcoming performance “Intuition: Songs From the Minds of Women,” a musical commentary for the times, as Black women reassert their rights, gain more political clout and speak out against harassment, abuse and exploitation in all walks of life.
Location TBD. More information for this event coming soon.
Live Discussion with PHILADANCO | The Black Voice in Dance
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 5:30 PM
"Let America be America Again"
Friday, June 25, 2021 at 7:30 PM
Virtual Panel Discussion of August Wilson's Fences | How the Themes Still Matter Today
Sunday, October 25 at 4:00 PM
Our groundbreaking Voices AMPLIFIED! series starts with rediscovering one of the greatest Black voices in theater – August Wilson. Wilson, an award-winning playwright and author, chronicled 20th century Black American life and won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his 1983 play “Fences.”
Join us for a free panel discussion of the movie adaptation of “Fences,” with Omaha thespians: Raydell Cordell III, Kathy Tyree, Tyrone Beasley and John Beasley. The panel will discuss the symbolism of Fences,
generational differences and explore the father and son relationship within Black families.
We invite you to watch the film on your own and then join us for this pre-recorded panel discussion streamed live.
You can rent the film for as little as $4 here.
Virtual Panel Discussion of Local Filmmakers Making Movies that Move
Sunday, November 22 at 4:00 PM
We turn our attention to amplify local filmmakers who are using their art to influence social justice issues such as racial, economic and systemic barriers in Omaha. In partnership with Film Streams, artist Sydney Shead will share her film series “The Unwavering Project." Shead is an Omaha entrepreneur, family advocate and consultant.
In her latest film project, she highlights the unwavering resilience and positive community impact from Black men. In the film, men share their childhood experiences from family trauma to violence and their triumphs as professionals, artists, business owners, and family men.
Join us for a panel discussion with Shead and two of the film participants Shannon Teamer and Kristopher Kuhn. Kuhn is a former NBA hopeful and the founder, owner, and director of Hoop Rank Early Education and Sports Academy. Teamer is the senior director of Inclusion Programs & Services and director of TRIO Project Achieve at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and author of “Start. Stay With It. Finish Strong.”
The panel will discuss what it means to be unwavering, the importance of using film to tell their stories and the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
This panel discussion will be streamed to O-pa's Facebook and YouTube channels. Links will be available one week prior to the event.