Jazz bassist Julian Vaughan takes the Love’s Jazz & Arts Center stage one recent Friday night, a full, lively crowd before him. Patrons dance in their seats, a palpable sense of energy permeating the room.
It’s an evening that speaks to the nonprofit’s place in the heart of its community, both literally and metaphorically. Founded in 2004 in honor of legendary Omaha jazz musician Preston Love, Love’s Jazz & Arts Center’s dedication to preserving and cultivating African American arts and jazz has found it at the forefront of a resurgent North Omaha cultural community.
But as Executive Director Tim Clark points out, Love’s is about so much more than music. In addition to its Jazz After Five series, which puts local musicians onstage, it boasts a gallery featuring local art installations, hosts weddings and anniversaries, works with local schools and participates in Native Omaha Days. Clark sees Love’s as the embodiment of the genre it celebrates.
“It’s a combination, kinda just like jazz: all mixed up and tangled, but it makes sense,” Clark says.
Watch below as Clark and Program Director Katie Thomas explain what makes Love’s Jazz & Arts Center important as a cultural centerpiece.
Video by Lindsey Yoneda
“Track 39” by Edward Archibald