Amy Okamoto

The Norfolk Arts Center (NAC) kicks off its major events calendar with Soup ‘R Art on Jan. 26. Soup ‘R Art has become a tradition that celebrates the arts while serving as a major fundraiser for the NAC. This will be the 11th year for the event that combines visual, performing and culinary arts into one fun-filled, family event.

What to expect

Soup ‘R Art features soups and desserts from area caterers, visual arts by regional artists and live music. Artists will have pop-up shops with merchandise from a variety of mediums, such as wood carving, pottery and jewelry. Area restaurants and caterers will be offering signature soups and desserts. All the participants are competing for the coveted People’s Choice award in their particular category.

Winners are determined by the attendees. Live acoustical music fills the air. The event is family-friendly. If you want to leisurely explore the artists’ offerings, your children can safely play and create in the Kids Zone. A silent auction and raffle round out the fun.

Why attend

The NAC is a non-profit organization that serves the Norfolk area. It relies primarily on grants and fundraising to offer its programming. Buying a ticket to Soup ‘R Art supports a free gallery, bringing professional performing arts experiences to students, and free community events such as First Fridays and Second Saturdays.

As federal funding for the arts shrinks, it’s more important than ever to support nonprofits such as the NAC that enrich our lives.

Every year, the NAC impacts the lives of more than 5,000 Northeast Nebraskans through the performing and visual arts.

It brings professional theatre performances to grade-school children through their Theater for Kids program. It offers middle-school and junior high students new cultural and musical performances, such as last fall’s performance by Grammy award-winning musician Terrance Simien.

The visual arts gallery is always free and open to the public. Free community events such as Second Saturday, which focuses on visual arts education, and First Friday, which offers performing arts opportunities, are held monthly. Affordable classes for all ages are offered.

Are arts important?

The arts make us better. The arts engage different areas of the brain and promote better learning and higher grades for students across all socioeconomic statuses.

Art communicates and allows us to express, understand, and share our culture. Art also makes us healthier; regularly creating art and music relieves stress, lowers aggression and social anxiety. It teaches us creative thinking, discipline, persistence and broadens our perspective. Best of all, art is for everyone.

I hope that you will consider attending the Soup ‘R Art fundraiser or one of the other NAC events. An investment in the NAC is an investment in yourself and your community.

Soup ‘R Art is Sunday, Jan. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ticket prices are scaled by age and are available at the NAC.

For information, call the NAC at 371-7199.

The NAC serves and supports our community, and in turn, we help support it in its efforts.

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