Hot Shops readies for open house


November 23rd, 2011

Omaha, NE – Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, Hot Shops Art Center will host an open house next weekend.

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“People are welcome to come in and wander wherever they can wander…” Tim Barry is a managing partner at Hot Shops Art Center in north downtown. He showed me around the large and meandering workshop space. Brightly-colored, glass-blown Christmas ornaments hang from the roof near the entrance. Nearby, a furnace burns ferociously, while discarded metal lies around, waiting to be hammered into shape.

Glass Christmas ornaments hang from the roof near the Hot Shops entrance. (Photo courtesy Hot Shops)

“We’re 92,000 square feet of different ideas and different approaches to ‘what do I do with this blank canvas? What do I do with this lump of clay? I can turn this piece of wood into something…”

Next weekend, most of Hot Shops’ 56 studios will open up, with up to 70 resident artists showing off – and selling – their work. The group includes emerging and a few established artists like bronze sculptor Les Bruning and up-and-coming blacksmith Chris Kemp.

The Hot Shops Winter Open House will feature several art-making demonstrations. (Photo courtesy Hot Shops)

“It’s a place where you can come and see where the art’s made, how the art’s made, the tools that we use,” Barry said. “If everybody’s just going to the museums and the high-end galleries, they’re only seeing the finished work.”

“So if you’ve never felt the heat from the glass furnace, or watched us throw a piece of pottery, or seen what a bronze looks like when it first comes out, there’s really no foundation to understand what we’re looking at when we’re standing in a museum.”

Hot Shops will host its winter open house Saturday, Dec. 3 from 12-8pm, and Sunday, Dec. 3rd from 12-5pm. The event will also feature local musicians, along with a sample performance by Opera Omaha.

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