The annual street festival, hosted by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc. (LFS) and BFF Omaha, takes place on Military Avenue and Maple Street in downtown Benson. It starts at 5:00 PM on Friday, August 6, and includes live performances, visual arts exhibits, children’s and family activities.
Galleries and restaurants will feature the art and cuisines of Omaha’s refugee communities. There will be special performances by Oscar Rios Pohirieth, TLG Official Squad, Umuco Wacu, and Karen Youth Loves Culture on the stage in Ted & Wally’s parking lot beginning at 6:30 PM. Other activities include an at-home cooking workshop via bffomaha.org/august, and featured artists will exhibit at Citylight Arts Project, MaMO Gallery, Petshop, and Benson Art Gallery.
Theodore Blessing is LFS’s Volunteer & Refugee Arts Coordinator. “This year is different in that the Omaha and Benson communities have not been able to present the New American Arts Festival in the traditional way since August 2019,” said Blessing. “The communities that represent new American artists have changed. Increases in refugee and SIV admittance add to the significance of this year’s festival as we seek to welcome all of the new populations coming to the area and support the artists who add so much culture and diversity to our communities.” Blessing concluded, “This year’s festival is also unique in that attendees can join in-person for a more traditional festival, or virtually to participate in two online cooking classes. We hope to see an outpouring of support for our artists this Friday and can’t wait to see everyone there!”