Lincoln is a remarkable art city. The Lied Center for the Performing Arts offers the best of touring music, dance, theatre, symphony, comedy and world-renowned artists of every discipline. The Lied is also home to our own Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and Lincoln Midwest Ballet productions.
The Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) provides a versatile performance and teaching space. One of our “best kept secrets” is the Sheldon Museum of Art, featuring works by American artists in the striking Philip Johnson-designed gallery at 12th and R Streets. UNL’s campus also has numerous outdoor sculptures.
Lincoln’s penchant for performance continues at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Haymarket Theatre Company, TADA Productions and Angels Theatre Company. Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln, Nebraska Girls Shakespeare Co. and Nebraska Youth Theatre provide excellent opportunities for budding young thespians. UNL’s Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center specializes in screening independent films. Pinewood Bowl Amphitheatre provides a wooded outdoor venue in Pioneers Park.
Art galleries abound! Lincoln’s more than 50 galleries range from non-profit collectives to exclusive private collections. There is a convenient concentration of galleries located in the Historic Haymarket District, throughout downtown and in University Place (48th to 56th Streets between Adams St. and Leighton Ave.). Take the First Friday Artwalk (firstfridaylincoln.org) to experience special monthly openings. UNL’s East Campus is home to the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery and the International Quilt Study Center housing the largest known public collection in the world of this utilitarian art form.
Lincoln is rated one of the Top 10 Most Welcoming Cities in America. Our new neighbors bring the best of their national dishes, customs and celebrations. The Cultural Centers Coalition of Lincoln consists of four agencies: Indian Center (Native American), Asian Center, Malone Center (African American), and El Centro de las Américas; each working to make our community safer, healthier and culturally richer.
Free music flourishes in summer. Jazz in June on the lawn at Sheldon Museum on Tuesday nights; Stransky Park concerts by KZUM Community Radio on Thursday nights; Foundation Gardens downtown, Wednesdays during the lunch hour; Lincoln Municipal Band Concerts in the Antelope Park Bandshell on Sunday nights and SouthPointe Pavilions “Friday Nights Live” to name just a few. Flatwater Shakespeare Co. offers the bard’s plays in multiple city park locations each summer, free of charge.
Popular with the locals are Crescent Moon Coffee and Meadowlark Coffee and Espresso. These intimate settings provide gallery space for rotating visual art, performance space for seasoned presenters and regular “Open Mic Night” for aspiring artists and poets. The city’s largest juried arts show is the Lincoln Arts Festival at SouthPointe Pavilions which regularly features 90+ artists – local and national – attracting nearly 10,000 visitors during the fourth weekend in September.
Lincoln is home to more than 68 non-profit arts organizations, a higher concentration than most comparable US cities. Three churches boast their own musical performance series – First-Plymouth Congregational, First Presbyterian and St. Paul United Methodist. Even the Nebraska State Capital building is filled with art deco mosaics and architectural detail; take a free guided tour.
- Lori McAlister - Lincoln Arts Council