Join us February 28th, 2019 at 6:00 pm for the KANEKO Great Mind Lecture Series featuring Steve Everett & Stefano Miceli. Get your tickets today!


PR // Greg Mortenson

December 13, 2010

Greg Mortenson, the American humanitarian and best-selling author will present Promoting Peace Through Education for the KANEKO Great Minds Series on January 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm.  While in Omaha, Mortenson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Central Asia Institute and the international service-learning program, Pennies for Peace, will also meet an separately with area school students and community leaders.

The event will benefit the Phoenix Academy Day School, a non-profit private school in Omaha for students experiencing difficulty with reading and math skills. The Academy, founded in 1991 by Patti Clark, has helped hundreds of kids rejoin their schools with strengthened skills.

All ticket proceeds from the Great Minds Series presentation will go directly to the Phoenix Academy thanks to a generous sponsorship by Warren Distribution. A special reception at 6 pm in honor of Mortenson will include food, beverage, and reserved seating the presentation at 7:30 pm, and the opportunity to meet Greg in person. Tickets for the special reception are $125.

Greg Mortenson’s story inspires people of all ages. A climb of Pakistan’s K2 in 1993 left him exhausted in the remote village of Korphe. While recovering he made a promise to build the village’s first school.

The Central Asia Institute, founded by Mortenson and Dr. Jean Hoerni in 1996, has successfully established 145 schools in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to over 64,000 students with emphasis on girl’s education. Pennies for Peace, an international service-learning program with tens of thousands of participants shows young people how they can make a positive impact on a global scale.

Mortenson, the co-author of two best-selling books Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time and Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace Through Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was as nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

The KANEKO Great Minds Series celebrates creative achievement in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities.  Executive Directors Nancy Lieberman of the Phoenix Academy Day School and Hal France of KANEKO spoke of the upcoming event. “Human creativity and talent that is focused on solving problems and improving people’s lives is one of the most powerful things on earth. Greg Mortenson inspires us to do more.”

General Admission tickets for the event are $25; Senior tickets are $18; and Students tickets are $10.  For more information and to purchase tickets call (402) 341 3800 x 101 or go online at


A non-profit cultural organization founded by internationally renowned artist Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree, Omaha-based KANEKO promotes creativity in the arts, sciences and philosophy. KANEKO’s mission: to foster “open space for your mind” by providing public access to innovative thinkers and performers and by generating individual and collaborative ideas and projects. Learn more about KANEKO at

PR // KANEKO Block Party

December 3, 2010

FRIDAY DECEMBER 10, 6:00 – 9:30 PM

KANEKO, a new kind of organization that nurtures and promotes creativity in the arts, sciences, and philosophy, premieres its BLOCK PARTY, a new friend and fundraiser for the holiday season.

This holiday event has all of the ingredients of a great time including live music by The Prairie Cats and Extra Space Jazz, food and drink by the Upstream Brewery and a silent auction of original artworks created by over 50 of the region’s leading artists.

KANEKO challenged over 70 artists to create works inspired by the alphabet, the block, the square or the work of internationally renowned sculptor Fletcher Benton.  51 artists generously agreed to submit original works for the silent auction to benefit the programs at KANEKO.  A few of the artists whose work will be featured are Catherine Ferguson, Gary Day, Carlos Guerero, Susan McGilvrey, Larry Sosso and Mary Zicafoose. A full list of participating artists is available on request.

KANEKO Executive Director Hal France said  “The response by artists to the creativity challenge of BLOCK PARTY has been fantastic. I hope many people will join us for a great evening.”

Fletcher Benton’s sculptures, currently on exhibit at KANEKO, were each conceived from the square and are based on the alphabet and numerical series. The relationship between Benton, a major American artist, and KANEKO founders Jun and Ree Kaneko led to a series of programs including the Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals Exhibit, education programs, a major benefit dinner/auction and the BLOCK PARTY.

For $20 at the door guests will enjoy food, live music, dancing and the opportunity to bid in the silent auction. Bidding provides guests the chance to own wonderful unique works of art and to help support KANEKO its creativity mission.

The auction also includes non-art items such as a BLOCK of tickets to Nebraska Football, a BLOCK of tickets to the College World Series in the new TD Ameritrade Stadium, a “BLOCK” of beer from Upstream, a ‘design your own flavor’ BLOCK of ice cream from eCreamery and much more.

Live music begins at 6:00 as the doors open with Extra Space Jazz an exciting ensemble of some of the regions fine jazz musicians. The Prairie Cats, one of the areas most popular bands, take over at 8:00. The Cats have played at SxSW and the famed Brown Derby in Los Angeles.


Something big is happening at KANEKO September 3: Renowned artist Fletcher Benton’s larger-than-life, painted steel Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals will be on exhibit.

Recipient of the 2008 International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award, Benton is both celebrated and revered for his weighty, yet approachable, sculptures – – pieces that critics say are elegant in their simplicity and masterful in form.

Presented in partnership with the International Sculpture Center (ISC) and the Fletcher Benton Studio, the KANEKO endeavor offers more than an opportunity to see the most comprehensive collection of Benton’s work ever to visit Nebraska; it also means a rare chance to meet Benton, an eloquent speaker in his own right and often-cited innovator of the metal-folding technique that transforms flat, 2-dimensional material into striking 3-D art.

The exhibit, which collectors call “exciting,” will open Friday September 3, 5-9 p.m., in KANEKO’s Bow Truss. The event is free, open to the public and includes light refreshments. The exhibit will be on view through February 2011.

“Fletcher is an iconic west coast sculptor known around the world, whose large steel pieces reflect his larger than life persona,” remarks major collector of contemporary art, J. Robert Duncan.

Benton, who will speak on creativity, motivation and form, appears Friday, October 29 as part of KANEKO’s Great Minds Series. The engagement, “Waiting for the Magic Man: Fletcher Benton on Art and Inspiration,” marks a joint effort between the ISC, KANEKO and sponsor Henry Davis.

KANEKO Executive Director, Hal France added, “We are looking forward to sharing Fletcher Benton’s work with Omaha and the region. In addition to being a master artist, he is also a master communicator. His willingness to openly share his creative process is a gold mine for our coming season.”

In addition to Benton’s exhibit and Great Minds Presentation, KANEKO will host two fund-raising events designed to share the artist’s high-impact, yet widely appealing work with the community.

Benton is, “an artist dedicated to giving back to the community that he has so greatly influenced,” says Johannah Hutchison, Executive Director, International Sculpture Center, and publisher of Sculpture magazine. “He has created a laudable body of work and has an incredible generosity of spirit.”

An intimate, elegant dinner party is scheduled for October 28. Hosted by Henry Davis, Jun and Ree Kaneko and Robert and Karen Duncan, the evening features an opportunity for seasoned collectors and connoisseurs to honor Benton, reflect on the artist’s contribution to the art world and bid to purchase works from a select group of Benton’s pieces to benefit the ISC and KANEKO.

Complementing the October 28 dinner party is a December 10, city-wide Benton cocktail “block” party. This open-to-the-public event includes an exhibit and auction of Benton-inspired “alphabet blocks” created by local and national artists and scientists, and available for purchase through silent and oral auction during the evening.

KANEKO remains committed to nurturing an “open space for your mind,” and event organizers point out Benton’s work marks a heady juxtaposition of art that is as consummate as it is fresh.

Fletcher Benton Exhibit Information
Public opening: Friday, September 3, 5-9 p.m.
Open hours: Fridays, 1-8 p.m. through November 19

A non-profit cultural organization founded by internationally renowned artist Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree, Omaha-based KANEKO promotes creativity in the arts, sciences, and philosophy. KANEKO’s mission: to foster “open space for your mind” by providing public access to innovative thinkers and performers and by generating individual and collaborative experiences, ideas, and projects. As such, KANEKO sponsors event series, presents lectures, conversations, exhibitions, performances, hosts resident artists; and engages in education, community outreach and important partnerships. KANEKO celebrates the adventurous, creative spirit that established Omaha more than 150 years ago and makes the city a leader in the arts, business, education, and technology today.

Learn more about KANEKO at

About the International Sculpture Center (ISC)
The International Sculpture Center (ISC) is a member-supported, nonprofit organization founded in 1960 to advance the creation and understanding of sculpture and its unique, vital contribution to society. With over 8,000 members worldwide and a wide range of educational programming and recognition awards programs, the ISC seeks to expand public understanding and appreciation of sculpture internationally, demonstrate the power of sculpture to educate, effect social change, engage artists and arts professionals in a dialogue to advance the art form, and promote a supportive environment for sculpture and sculptors.

Membership in the ISC is open to anyone interested in and committed to the field of sculpture.


Omaha, Neb., August 23, 2010 – From animators to authors, sculptors to songwriters, KANEKO’s Fall 2010 – Spring 2011 season is no exception to the everything-begins-with-an-idea maxim.

Featuring legendary musical artists, such as Rosanne Cash, up-and-comers (including trend-setting animator Josh Cooley), scientists, sculptors and humanitarians from a wide range of genres and interests, the organization’s commitment to providing “open space for your mind” continues.

“Last July, in collaboration with the artist Therman Statom and Omaha Public Schools, KANEKO hosted a small pilot education program in visual arts for 20 Native American children. This season, KANEKO is again featuring world-class artists, musicians, scientists and writers,” says Jacquie Scoones, associate director, KANEKO, adding such a “juxtaposition of program types is an important aspect of our mission: nurturing creativity in 10-year-olds, as well as in the internationally recognized and their audiences.”

Scoones points out KANEKO’s “lecture and conversation series, roundtable discussions, workshops and education programs provide a wide range of opportunities for the curious to explore creativity in many forms and through a variety of experiences.”

Leading the program series is author and Grammy-winning recording artist Rosanne Cash, together with Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., neuroscientist, musician and author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. The pair opens KANEKO’s season with a special events series September 14-16, highlighted by a joint Great Minds Presentation September 15.

“I think the first Great Minds Presentation ‘Composing Identity’ with songwriter Rosanne Cash and neuroscientist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin (kicking off the Creativity and the Brain season and in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Medicine) will be a revealing night with two incredible people,” says Hal France, executive director, KANEKO.

As the critically acclaimed author of Composed, a memoir the Philadelphia Enquirer calls “beautifully observed,” Cash’s writing speaks to a range of thinkers and creatives, while Levitin’s best-selling books on music and the brain (together with his extensive, auditory research) make him an expert in the field of auditory memory. The Cash/Levitin endeavor features workshops tailored for students and writers, a roundtable discussion and special, hands-on opportunities for area educators and musicians.

KANEKO’s September slate is complemented by the opening of Omaha’s first-ever, large-scale Fletcher Benton exhibit September 3. Recipient of the 2008 International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture, Benton is both renowned and revered for his massive, masterful sculptures – – pieces that are critically applauded for being as approachable as they are visually enticing.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the remarkable American artist Fletcher Benton and an exhibit titled Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals to Omaha for a series of programs and events,” says France, adding Benton will speak about art and inspiration on October 29 at KANEKO.

Also in September, KANEKO partners with the (downtown) omaha lit fest ( to jointly sponsor Gary Frost, 2010 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Book Arts. The September 10-11event, hosted by KANEKO, features authors, illustrators, exhibits and discussions.

Cartoonists, graphic artists and animators will appreciate KANEKO’s partnership with The North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society conference October 1-2 featuring Pixar Animation Studios film animator Josh Cooley (Up, Ratatouille), while author and veteran columnist Joan Acocella (The New Yorker) is the featured Great Minds presenter October 27.

“As always, KANEKO strives to both ignite and foster the fires that spark inspiration,” explains France. “This year’s focus on creativity and the brain is no exception, and our season-opening events illustrate opportunities for new ways of seeing, thinking and growing – – as individuals and as a world of innovators.”

Subsequent events include humanitarian Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea (presented in partnership with the Phoenix Academy Day School), as well as additional, open-space-for-the-mind activities and events. The spring season features Affinity of Form, an exhibition of photographs by Stanford Lipsey, and an April workshop and summer premiere of a new work by Philip Glass for the violinist Tim Fain through KANEKO’s Experimental Studio.

KANEKO’s programs are funded in part by the Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Humanities Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

PR // Celaya Returns

March 25, 2010

Artist Enrique Martínez Celaya Returns for April 19 Public Conversation

Omaha – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will welcome internationally renowned artist Enrique Martínez Celaya for his final Nebraska visit in April as Visiting Presidential Professor, again hosted by University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken.

Martínez Celaya, whose exhibition of new work, The Open, is on view at Simon Lee Gallery in London, will spend the week of April 19 in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney.

His residency program will begin in KANEKO who will host Martínez Celaya in a free public program Monday, April 19, at 7 p.m., in the KANEKO Bow Truss, 1111 Jones St. in Omaha’s Old Market.

“A Conversation with Enrique Martínez Celaya” will be moderated by Daniel A. Siedell, assistant professor of art and art history at UNO. The event will feature a dialogue between Martínez Celaya and Siedell, as well as opportunity for attendees to participate in the discussion. Reservations are requested but not required. For information and to reserve a seat, visit

UNO students are also invited to attend a conversation between Martínez Celaya and art students at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 at the KANEKO-UNO Library, inside the KANEKO.

Martínez Celaya recently joined the Creative Board of Directors at KANEKO.

“We were fortunate when Enrique Martínez Celaya agreed to join the Creative Board of KANEKO,” said Hal France, KANEKO executive director. “Creative Board members serve our new organization as program advisors and as liaisons to creative people and creative happenings worldwide. Enrique’s work as an artist is informed by so many diverse influences, including science, art and literature. He has a probing intellect and shares his perspectives and experiences brilliantly. His studio and our non-profit have much in common. We look forward to exploring many avenues together.”

On Wednesday, April 21, Martínez Celaya will host his sixth and final public lecture, “On Painting,” at the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The free event begins at 5:30 p.m. In his last lecture as Visiting Presidential Professor, Martínez Celaya offers an in-depth analysis of the structure and nature of painting. He pushes through common assumptions about painting, which see it as a process, a gesture, an object, or image. Martínez Celaya locates painting within the disparity of means and ends and the tension between presence and reference. In this intricate yet elegant argument, Martínez Celaya suggests that painting is a location of the mind, which implicates us inextricably with death and love.

Presidential Professors are appointed by the president of the University of Nebraska to serve as public scholars who enrich the cultural and educational life of the university and the state. In addition to Martínez Celaya, NU President James B. Milliken has appointed one other Presidential Professor, Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and a faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

About Enrique Martínez Celaya
The practice of Enrique Martínez Celaya (b. Cuba, 1964) spans a broad range of media and disciplines. He creates projects for art venues such as the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig and the Miami Art Museum as well as environments not traditionally associated with visual arts such as the Berliner Philharmonie. He has offered lectures on art—often in its relation to literature and ethics—at venues around the world and his essays have appeared in many publications. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and others. For his work as an artist, he has received many awards and prizes including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Young Talent Award, the California Community Foundation Fellowship, J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, and the Anderson Ranch National Artist Award. Martínez Celaya is the author of Guide, The Blog and Poems for the Bed, an early book of poetry, and has edited a collection of writings on philosophy, Sketches of Landscape as well as a selection of poems from Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire.

In the fall of 2010, the University of Nebraska Press will publish a collection spanning two decades of his writings, interviews and lectures: Enrique Martínez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990-2010.

Martínez Celaya began his art training as an apprentice to an academic painter. He studied Applied Physics at Cornell University and supported by a fellowship from the Brookhaven National Laboratory pursued a Ph.D. in Quantum Electronics at the University of California, Berkeley. As a scientist he worked on superconductivity, lasers and laser delivery systems, research for which he was issued an often-cited patent. He left the doctoral program at Berkeley to make art, receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1994 and on the same year attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine. From 1994 to 2003, he taught as a tenured professor in the faculty of Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate University. He presently serves as a trustee on the Anderson Ranch Board.

Martínez Celaya’s lectures on art—often in its relation to literature and ethics—at venues around the world, including the American Academy in Berlin, UCLA and New York University. His studio and imprint, Whale & Star, functions as a contemplative and educational environment concerned with the role art has in life, spirit and community.

KANEKO Announces Community Partnership Series

Omaha, Nebraska (March 2, 2010): KANEKO is hosting a special series of partnership programs in March 2010, Conversations with Scientists, featuring innovative scientists speaking about their research and ideas, and participating in discussion with the audience. The programs are free and are open to the public.

On Monday, March 8, Dr. Richard J. Komp, President of Sun Watt Corporation, will talk with the audience about Solar Energy: Electrifying Haiti and Other Third World Countries in the KANEKO-UNO Library from 5:30 – 6:30 pm.  Komp has founded cottage photovoltaic industries in Haiti, India, Mali, and Nicaragua, and through his workshops on constructing PV panels he has helped hundreds of communities throughout the developing world. Dr. Komp’s program is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

On Thursday, March 18, at 6:30 pm, KANEKO will screen The Human Family Tree, a National Geographic Film on the Human Genographic Project.  Following the film, from 8:15 – 9:00 pm, there will be a discussion led by Rev. Raymond A. Bucko, S.J., Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Creighton University, and Dr. Warren Sanger, Director of the Human Genetics Laboratory and Clinical Genetics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Scientists in the Human Genome Project are using cutting-edge genetic and computational technologies to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world to better understand our shared genetic roots. The screening and discussion will be held in the KANEKO-UNO Library.

On Friday, March 26, the final program in the Conversations with Scientists series will focus on the topic Relationships 2.0? How New Social Media is Reshaping Your Mind, and will feature Dr. Jean-Pierre Klotz, a Psychoanalyst and Psychiatrist and member of the World Association of Psychoanalysis who practices in Paris and Bordeaux, France. The program will include a panel discussion with local blog, Facebook, and Twitter practitioners about how subjectivity and social relationships are affected by the use of new social media. Joining Klotz will be Joe Gerstandt, Consultant and professional blogger; Rahul Gupta, Entrepreneur and Twitter aficionado; and Amy Mather, Omaha Public Library Technology Librarian and Facebook maven. The program will be held in KANEKO’s Bow Truss from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, and will include opportunity for audience participation. The program is co-sponsored by the Circle for Lacanian Orientation of Omaha and the Division of Psychoanalysis, Creighton University Department of Psychiatry.

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