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Browse all programs for exhibitions featuring item-based creative endeavors.
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KANEKO is headquartered in three turn-of- the-century warehouses in the Old Market District of Omaha, Nebraska.
The area is believed to be the possible location of the first permanent home in Omaha. During renovations for the freight elevator, it is recorded that workers found the lip of a well for the home.
The building was commissioned in 1906 by the Fairmont Creamery Company. Up to that point, the land had operated as a farmer’s market where merchants could bring eggs, poultry, and cream to sell to the creamery. The building served as the main production plant, with three stories and office headquarters of the company.
In 1910, two additional stories were added to the building. Unfortunately, due to faulty construction, the new building was gutted by fire not a year later, and a modern steel and concrete plant was built on the site. This remodel is what makes up the building we have today.
The plant was very successful and is believed to be the birthplace of the very first refrigerated ice cream-delivery truck (1920).
The Fairmont headquarters moved to 3201 Farnam Street, and in 1953, the Cornbelt Automotive Warehouse occupied the building. Here it housed automobiles, parts, and building materials. They remained at this location for about 45 years before vacating in 1998.
When Cornbelt Automotive closed its doors, Jun and Ree Kaneko began the process of purchasing their buildings. In all, 143 40-foot dumpsters of demolished coolers from Fairmount Dairy and junk were removed from the buildings. In Space 2, cooling pipes, cork insulation, and tar covering the walls and ceiling were removed — the room had been used for ice cream production. The building was peeled back to its original good bones. Walls were power-washed and sand-blasted, and new floors were poured.
The Bowtruss (Space 1) was completed on the eastern side in 2008, which allowed for an open space. Together with UNO, the unique and innovative KANEKO-UNO Library was created. This high-tech library focuses on creativity through books, videos, periodicals, and technology. The organization began programming in 2009 and officially opened as a public gallery in 2010. Since then, we have hosted a wide range of artists, writers, scientists, and speakers to KANEKO to share their gifts of creativity and innovation with the community of Omaha.