The arts contribute greatly to the quality of life in the Omaha area, and Omaha Performing Arts, now in its 14th year, has been a mainstay in arts management and support.
The nonprofit’s management of the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Orpheum Theater and Ticket Omaha requires tremendous organizational coordination and efficiency. Those organizations and facilities operate with impressive professionalism and enable our area to enjoy local performers as well as artists of international renown.
The blockbuster musical “Hamilton” provides a good example. Omaha Performing Arts successfully secured Omaha’s inclusion on the musical’s national tour. Performances last month generated tremendous enthusiasm from the audience.
In addition, ticket sales were well-managed. When an enormous crowd turned out at the Holland Center box office for sales of the first tickets in July, the situation could have been chaotic, with needless delays and customer frustration. Instead, Omaha Performing Arts had planned well, and patrons expressed pleasant surprise at the relaxed, positive atmosphere and efficiency.
To create a uniform method of identification for its efforts at the Holland, Orpheum and Ticket Omaha, Omaha Performing Arts now has a logo and a new name — O-pa.
“We’ve never taken a comprehensive approach to our identity, and it is now time to ensure our many programs share the same image” so they are more easily recognized, Joan Squires, O-pa president, told The World-Herald.
Squires, the nonprofit’s longtime administrative leader, has shown exceptional managerial talent and vision. Her leadership has proved vital in helping the Holland Center, for example, live up to its potential since its 2005 launch.
Jack Eldon, vice president of domestic touring and regional engagements for Disney Theatrical Productions, told The World-Herald last year: “Joan has that rare combination of strategic vision, fiscal responsibility, incredible people skills and the desire to push boundaries and take advantage of opportunities. … She has made Omaha an important stop on any touring route.”
The Omaha Symphony and Opera Omaha are among the local institutions providing a strong artistic foundation for quality performances at the Holland and the Orpheum.
A possible expansion could well be in the works for O-pa, since it has purchased two slivers of adjacent property this year to complete its ownership of the block immediately east of the Holland. The O-pa board is considering options for the site, which could involve a new arts-focused building.
If that project does materialize, our community will be well served if it lives up to the notable standard set over the years by O-pa and its successful arts facilities.