Hot Shops Art Center: An Experience for the Whole Family

hot shops art center omahaIf you or someone in your family is an artist or art lover, you must visit Hot Shops Art Center. Founded in 1999 by just a few artists, Hot Shops is located on 13th Street, between Izard Street and Nicholas Street, just north of the Charles Schwab Field. Today it houses more than 80 artists in 50 studios. 

The building is divided into the North and South buildings. Entering into the North building is like going into a cozy and relaxed art museum with halls and walls full of displayed work. Many studios are always lit up with busy artists inside, sometimes offering demonstrations.  

The South building, frequently busy with noise and heat, hosts the “hot studios.” This includes the glass studio, the metal foundry, the ceramics studio, and an iron forge. Along with these studios and the art viewing, the building hosts a wide variety of classes, activities, and open houses that are fun and inspiring for all ages.

If you have a child who is a budding artist, Hot Shops offers a variety of youth classes such as sewing, pottery, drawing, and painting. The offerings change every month.

For adults, the list of art classes and workshops is almost endless, offering glassblowing, pottery, drawing, painting, pastels, bead making, stamp carving, sewing, weaving, and more. If you are interested in any of the classes, don’t hesitate to sign up. I have taken a couple of classes there as a beginner, and the environment is extremely supportive. The artists are kind and encouraging, and it is a great place to make friends.

The team-building classes the studio offers would be a great option for a work outing, an organization, a group of friends, or family members. These activities incorporate arts such as pottery, glass blowing, or painting. The studio offers programming to accommodate developmental disabilities as well.

In addition to classes, the studio hosts various events and exhibitions. The 27th Art Faculty Show for Omaha Public Schools opens on April 7 and will remain on display until the end of the month.

Open Houses

There are also two open houses throughout the year, in winter and spring. The open houses are a lively, interactive experience. You can browse studios and also purchase art made by the artists in the studio (everything from glass figurines, paintings, towels, blankets, jewelry, and more). My kids especially love the glass-blowing demonstrations. Other demonstrations include embroidery, wood carving, pottery, blacksmithing, and bronze pouring, all fascinating to watch. 

The Spring Open House will hold a preview night on Friday, April 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The main open house, which will also have food and drinks available, will be held on Saturday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free, with a suggested five dollar donation. 

If you are unable to visit during the open house, Hot Shops Art Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. Stop by with your family during any of these times to browse around and get inspired.

Angela Jeck
Angela is the mother of two, Seamus (9) and Maggie (7) and also stepmother to Isabella (17). She is married to Dustin and lives in the southwest Omaha area. She grew up in northwest Omaha and graduated from UNO. With an education degree, she taught in the public schools and worked in higher education before becoming a stay-at-home mom and working part-time, teaching English online. Now she volunteers through Lutheran Family services, helping clients with their English skills. In her spare time, Angela enjoys reading, writing, painting, knitting, gardening, and cooking. She loves Omaha because it is the perfect place for a family while also having a great offering of art and culinary experiences.