OMAHA, Neb. - The North 24th Street Business Improvement District wants to bring performing arts back to the neighborhood.
The association announced plans to reopen the Love’s Jazz building as a music program center. Musician Dana Murray, a South Omaha native, was picked to provide music programming and education.
“I’m probably one of the last crop of musicians who had a chance to play with Preston Love,” Murray said. He has taught music at Omaha Burke, Bellevue East, and University of Nebraska-Omaha. He also produces music from his home studio.
While the goal is to reopen the former Love’s Jazz building and provide music education and performances for the community, there are still several steps involved prior to reopening. The North 24th Street Business Improvement District will serve as the master lessee of the three-bay building and is currently defining the terms of the lease with the City of Omaha.
Murray says his home studio in Papillion resembles what he envisions in North Omaha.
“I go to, ‘what would I have wanted when I was younger, what sort of programs would I have wanted to be a part of?’” Murray said.
Community leaders chose murray to lead the youth music programming not only for his experience and expertise, but also because he’s from South Omaha. He says he understands what it’s like to live in the metro and not afford an opportunity.
“I want to make sure this is affordable,” Murray said. “I never want to turn away anyone because they can’t afford it. That just won’t work.”
Community leaders say Murray’s industry rolodex can bring in experts to teach kids all kinds of instruments and other performing arts.
“In the revitalization of so many things that need to happen in this community, jazz can be a great bedrock and foundation to build upon,” board president LaVonya Goodwin said.
Her group plans to remodel the space inside, which they hope will mold future musicians, producers, or dancers.
If there’s a student who wants to learn, they want them here.
“I doubt you’ll see anything like it in the Midwest,” Murray said.
Community leaders haven’t been able to lay out an official timeline for the project because of the pandemic. Former management at Love’s Jazz will not be involved after the City of Omaha terminated their lease last October.
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