The Art League of Lincoln has been formed for charitable purposes, to promote, foster and support the arts in the greater Lincoln area through exhibits, shows, tours, education and other activities for artists and art appreciators.
The vision of the Art League of Lincoln is to thrive as a vital cultural center for the Greater Lincoln Area by fostering educational and innovative events in visual arts, music, poetry, and the performing arts through local partnerships.
On a Friday in early February 2012, the former Lincoln Arts & Culture Foundation - in business since 1986 - abruptly closed their doors, declaring they were out of business.
Several local art supporters immediately stepped up to begin planning for a new arts organization in Lincoln. They incorporated The Art League of Lincoln as a nonprofit public benefit corporation on March 27, 2012, receiving their IRS 501(c)(3) approval in August 2012.
For the next several months, Art League volunteers and their board of directors met at Buonarroti’s Ristorante, subsequently moving to a conference room at Umpqua Bank’s downtown branch on Fifth Street.
July 2013 saw the Art League conclude a lease with the city of Lincoln for the 580 Sixth Street Art Center, opening with a member’s exhibit in August, 2013. The Art League subsequently added an onsite gift shop.
The Art League partnered with the City of Lincoln and opened another gallery in the Lincoln City Hall Rotunda in January 2017. The downtown Lincoln Umpqua Bank branch was added to its gallery offerings in the early months of 2019. However, that branch closed in November 2019.
No discussions about art in Lincoln are complete without mentioning Feats of Clay. The month-long international ceramics arts exhibit and Gladding McBean factory tours were Lincoln signature events for 24 years, beginning in June 1987.
The unexpected Lincoln Arts February 2012 closing interrupted the series. Feats of Clay was not held in 2012.
Art League efforts to revive it for 2013 stalled over copyright issues and access to the Gladding McBean plant.
Feats of Clay copyright issues were subsequently resolved in 2016 as the Art League regained ownership and use of the trademark. However, factory access issues remained.
While the Art League was working through the copyright issues, they designed a new ceramics exhibit, calling it America’s ClayFest and opening it in the Spring of 2013. In partnership with Roseville’s Blue Line Arts for the first three years, the ceramics exhibits were staged in their downtown Roseville gallery. The Art League subsequently moved the exhibit to the Art Center of Lincoln.
The Art League continues to be an all-volunteer, independent community-based arts group dedicated to supporting the arts in the greater Lincoln area.