University Place Arts District under consideration in Lincoln

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:37 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Four Lincoln organizations are coming together to help create a creative arts district on North 48th Street.

A letter of intent has been submitted by the organizations after the state legislature set aside $1 million to help fund art projects.

The Lux Center for the Arts, Nebraska Wesleyan University, First United Methodist Church and the City of Lincoln submitted a letter with the Nebraska Arts Council to establish the University Place Arts District in the University Place neighborhood. According to the Lux, it’s the first letter submitted to create an arts district in Lincoln.

The Lux, along with the three partners, are working to provide a destination with economic opportunities for artists and residents. They believe creating an arts district will help revitalize the neighborhood.

“Our businesses have some challenges here,” said Joe Shaw, executive director of Lux Center for the Arts. “We’ve lost a few businesses along 48th Street and on the side streets, and we could use a little revitalization.”

If the letter is approved, Shaw said there is a lot of work to be done in the coming months.

“We have to find out what kind of economic development we can do here, and what are the boundaries,” Shaw said.

One of the businesses, Gaga’s Greenery & Flowers, has been in the area for 30 years. The owner is eager for a possible arts district.

“That would be exciting,” said owner Sandy Simpson. “University Place has come a long ways in the time that we’ve been here.”

Right now, the neighborhood is known as an art area, but could officially become an art district. If approved, the five-year designation allows them to apply for grants of up to $250,000.

“Once in a lifetime do you get an opportunity to do something that could last for awhile and could have a meaningful impact,” Shaw said.

This is still the beginning stages. If the plan is approved, grant money could be used for things like marketing, events, infrastructure improvements, and projects that would support the artistic development of University Place.

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