Kearney Area Arts Council
The mission of the Kearney Area Arts Council is to expand the arts in the community, to increase diversity in the arts, to promote artists & their work & to develop activities that encourage the community to practice and appreciate the arts.
For more than 40 years, KAAC has promoted the arts in our community through free summer concerts in the park, scholarships for art students, art related activities for families, art opportunities for all children & funding for local arts events.
P.O. Box 842
Kearney, NE 68848
The formation of the Kearney Area Arts Council (KAAC) in 1976 began a long-standing tradition of promotion and encouragement of the arts in Kearney. Through their inclusive nature, KAAC's programs have strengthened and improved the social culture for the city and region. Concrete proof of this lies in the growing attendance and participation in KAAC's events. As momentum has built they have become a source of pride for the city. KAAC, through cooperation with other arts programs, has helped unify the arts community and the people in the area through service year round.
KAAC's flagship program is the Summer Concert series at Harmon Park's historic sonotorium. There, during a typical eight concert season (nine this year, due to demand), the people of Kearney and the surrounding area attend free concerts on Sunday evenings. Local food trucks provide a meal or snack for the 300-400 concert attendees. Some concerts feature local artists exhibiting their work and face painting for kids. The Boy Scouts offer water and popcorn, a long-standing tradition whose proceeds help fund camps for the boys. Through it all this positive, wholesome, family activity provides a way for musicians to reach potential fans and fans to hear new and interesting music in an alcohol free venue. The safe, relaxed setting builds the musical and visual artists' community and perpetuates Kearney's reputation as an art and family-friendly place.
Art, especially music here in the Midwest, is an inclusive and accessible common ground in our agriculture-based community. KAAC continues to foster a variety of events bringing people, groups and families together. With artists from around the state and some neighboring states, the concert series draws people from all walks of life to town. The Kearney Artists Guild promotes the concert series to its artists just as KAAC supports Kearney Cultural Partners (KCP) and its Family Arts Festival. Seeing children and their parents complete the giant color-by-number sidewalk chalk mural KAAC created in cooperation with the festival at the Museum of Nebraska Art was a highlight but KAAC partners with other groups. Together with the Kearney Symphony and Kearney Jazz Society, KAAC has been privileged to bring regional and national artists to Kearney. KAAC has sponsored the debut of soloists and groups through "Kearney Live Music" as well as the performances of established entertainers such as Paul Siebert. His educational musical program "Echoes of an Era" was presented in conjunction with the Nebraska Arts Council. KAAC's range is statewide and then some benefiting the young, the old and the area's families; the future of the community. Infusing a sense of place and belonging in children improves the likelihood they will remain in Kearney to work and raise a family.
KAAC supports the positive social currency of a thriving art community and acts to bring Kearney's people together around the arts. They sponsor two $500 scholarships each year for students pursuing study in the visual arts in college. Just as the artist contributes to the society at large, KAAC exhibits a serving spirit toward the community. The eight person board of directors and executive director involve the community through partnerships with local businesses. In addition to concessions at the Summer Concert series, the annual fundraiser with Corky Creations offers participants the opportunity to create art while enjoying the company of their fellow "artists" and a local vineyard's wine. Finally, through its Facebook page (over 1,000 likes) and website kearneyarts.org, KAAC serves as a conduit for all the arts to a national audience providing a positive image of the Kearney community.
Kearney Area Arts Council continues to serve and grow the community through all its programs. Reciprocal partnership with other arts groups exponentially increases promotion of all forms of art in both reach and impact. This brings the people of Kearney and the surrounding area together around the arts for fun and relaxation as it strengthens the place KAAC calls home. It shouldn't be a surprise that the Kearney Area Arts Council believes the future is bright.
They continue to work towards bringing more artistic and creative opportunities to the Kearney area. Future plans include free or low cost programs for family arts activities, writing and art camps, competitions, guest performances, concerts year-round and a gallery. The Kearney Area Arts Council is confident the partnerships and support built with local businesses will continue to grow and strengthen the arts community and Kearney's community for many years to come.
For any questions, please feel free to contact Diane, the Council's Executive Director: 308-224-3385
"Kearney! We're grateful the Kearney Area Arts Council - KAAC puts on such a sweet summer concert series." - The Talbott Brothers
"The KAAC and what they've done for local area musicians and the rest of the community is beyond measure. With everything going on the world these days, we need music and
entertainment now more than ever: providing a little escape from reality on a Sunday evening with family and friends. I've been proud to be a part of the concerts in the
park for over 10 years with my various bands, and I hope everyone can find it in their hearts and wallets to give generously to the KAAC. Let's keep the music playing!" - Mike Sciachitano (Bases Loaded)
"The OK Sisters, Kate Fly and Karen Ussery, have been playing professionally for close to 30 years around the Kearney, Omaha and North Platte area. We were approached over fifteen years ago by the Kearney Arts Council to perform in a new concert program they put together called Concerts in the Park. At that time we were only a duo and being offered the chance to play for our family, friends, neighbors of the community not only validated our efforts but created a wonderful platform for all local artist to share their talent. The OK Sisters couldn't be more thankful and supportive of all the Arts Council does for the community. Because the Council pays the entertainers it needs the community's help to continue this tradition. Your donation is an investment to our community. Your monetary gift helps to support their mission to inspire participation and passion for the arts of all kinds with year round programs, exhibits and events for all ages. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to ensure the Kearney Arts Council continues their mission to provide entertainment and art to all in the Kearney community!" - Karen Ussery & Kate Fly of the OK Sisters