BFF. Neighborhood. Artists. Community.
BFF serves as a platform for culture within our community to create opportunity, exposure, and experiences.
Our strategy is to enrich our community by serving as an innovative cultural platform that brings people together through the arts, programing, and educational opportunities.
During 2016 (our first year as a nonprofit!) BFF supported 1000+ LOCAL emerging & established artists within interdisciplinary fields!
For 2017, we plan to continue development, bring more to the community, and hope to give opportunity to 1000+ MORE artists!

Who we are:
Active members of BFF are Alex Jochim (Director), Shelby Audiss (President), Maggie Weber (Community Outreach Director), Lee Landenberger (Vice President), Ramanda Fuelberth (Treasurer), Sarah Cavanagh (Secretary), Jamie Danielle Hardy, Dan Cavanagh, Caitlin Little, Annie Butler, Teresa Gleason, Steve Andrews, Bart Vargas, Josephine Langbehn, Jenna Lambrecht, Patrick Fuerstenau, Jacob Mixan, Bret Reimers, Colin Conces, Heather Tedesco, Amy Wise, Patrick Sather, Kelsey Riewer, Cody Luce, & Julie Jenowe.

Current Projects & Upcoming Events:
BFF Banner Project
Your average drive down Maple Street won't be average after August 1st! BFF is partnering with the Benson Improvement District (BID) to install 16 original artworks as 32 light-pole banners - all local artists!

Summer Art Booths (BooFFs)
We built a booth! - think New York City newsstand meets Benson kissing booth! FOUR local artists and arts organizations will be taking over the booth monthly to provide an interactive experience for BFF event-goers.
May 5th, Artist Laura Hopp will be transforming the booth into an Oracle Shop.
Tarot Readings & more will give audience members the feeling they are experiencing something playfully metaphysical and highly magical, a departure from the mundane world in which fast-paced America finds itself daily stepping into.

New American Arts Festival:
The 4th Annual New American Arts Festival will be on August 4th!
NAAF celebrates the arts, ideas, and cultures of Omaha's refugee and immigrant communities.
The event includes workshops, performances, art displays, artist vendors, food vendors, music, interaction, and more !

Graffiti Practice Wall
BFF and Habitat for Humanity are building a mobile graffiti wall for individual artists or local youth & arts organizations to use for learning different practices for outdoor arts! This wall will have different temporary homes throughout the city and the region, and be available at a number of local events.
On June 2nd BFF, the community is invited to join BFF and Habitat to construct the wall LIVE.

BFF's FIFTH BIRTHDAY: June 2, 2017
Although BFF is still in its infancy as a nonprofit, as an organization we're heading off to kindergarten :)
Help us celebrate our 5th Birthday on June 2, 2017 !
Stay tuned for special events and details.

Collaborating with Lion's Mane Vintage, a neighborhood vintage boutique, BFF curates local artists to design one-of-a-kind clothing and merchandise! Look for the next editions to SWAG debuting June 2017!
SWAG is found exclusively at Lion's Mane Vintage.

Lincoln Calling: September 28th, 29th, & 30th
BFF is sponsoring an "art alley" during Lincoln's music festival Lincoln Calling! Expect artist demos, displays, workshops, along with interactive and fun elements :)

Current Goals:
Summer Events & Projects:
Money trees don't grow in Benson ;)
Every dollar helps us continue our community-building events & projects!

Although BFF has been able to execute multiple projects and programs ON TOP of monthly events for FIVE years, we are still near completely VOLUNTEER driven! We'd love to reach a point where we can compensate long-term and hard-working volunteers of the organization.

Mobile Gallery:
Although still in the works, BFF is working with UNO Interns to create a mobile gallery that can interact with the entire Omaha Community - and regional areas too!
Stay tuned for details as they develop.
"Benson First Friday worked very closely and diligently with us for months to ensure a successful, engaging, and incredibly unique event in our efforts to bring the refugee and immigrant artists of Omaha together with the Benson community. It was a truly beautiful collaborative experience and we could not have chosen a better partner."
-Amber Barcel, co-chair of the New American Arts Festival 2015

"I consider the Benson area as the literal "ground zero" to my success as a visual artist. Some of my first features and live performances come from here, which were all made possible through the efforts of the hard working BFF folks."
-Reggie LeFlore, Artist

"As the owner of a few drinking establishments in the Benson area I knew the place needed something more to take the next step as a neighborhood. Alex and Jamie starting BFF was huge in establishing an art scene to go along with the music and nightlife already present and beginning to flourish. For us to truly establish ourselves as a premier destination neighborhood for the long haul we needed diversity in our offerings. BFF worked closely with up and coming retail establishments as well as longer residents of the neighborhood to bring everyone together as a community. I've had more fun at the special events thrown by Petshop & Sweatshop than just about anything else and made me so proud to be a part of the scene in Benson. BFF has also been great for my businesses. It's increased traffic on First Fridays which has in turn boosted patronage during the rest of the month as the city of Omaha has come to discover all that Benson has to offer."
-John Larkin, owner of Jake's Cigars, The Beercade, St. Andrews

"I have had the great fortune of attending every BFF since its inception! I am a lifelong Bensonite who has seen the area flourish, fade, and then return once again to explode with success. I credit several groups of people for re-inventing the area in a positive way. One of the most integral teams would be the curators of the Benson First Friday. Their creativity, passion, and fair open mindedness have given so many artists the opportunity to share their work and allow them to shine thus making our community closer and stronger. It has created a deeper bond within our neighborhood by giving people the incentive or reason to take a walk from home and view the many talents all while gathering together and sharing the experience each month. It has also drawn people from many other parts of our city which has helped surrounding businesses to grow and in turn support the BFF events. It is rare that I don't walk home with some new creative to frame and admire or at minimum I learn or see something new at each of the collective presentations. Their pride has become our communities pride which can only continue to grow with the positive energy, heart, soul, sweat, and dynamic human factor that the BFF team puts into this project month over month. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts."
-Lauri Labs, Bensonite

"BFF makes Benson better. It's one of the reasons why I decided to locate my business on Maple Street."
-Teresa Gleason, owner Polecat Communications & the little gallery

"As an artist, BFF provided me with opportunities to show my work to a more diverse audience at businesses in Benson and meet other artists who also sought alternative spaces to exhibit. As an intern at Petshop, I was able to see firsthand all the time and work that Alex, Jamie, and the rest of the crew put into each First Friday. With each new idea, implementation, and experience, their ef- forts have built a community and created a network that has enhanced the area."
- Heather Peebles, Artist