EVERYONE has a story… We’d like to tell you one about our featured business owner/organization this week!

Let’s talk about the 402 Arts Collective, and a few things we feel you should know about this particular organization, in the words of Ben Shafer, the executive director. See his comments below from our brief interview to know more about this asset to our community!

402 Arts Collective
6051 Maple Street
Omaha, NE 68104

Describe your business/service?
We are a collective of artist practitioners who provide a space for Art and Music Education, creation and performance to happen in our community.

Why you chose this type of business?
I wanted to create place where parents and students of any age could find a safe and credible place to find an artist mentor to study various art forms with. The reason we went with the non-profit model is so that the community can support such an endeavor and provide scholarships and financial aid to those who can’t afford and therefore don’t have access to mentorship and education.

Tell us about yourself. Passion projects? Hobbies? Where you came from and how it has shaped you?
I am a musician. I come from a history of being in a traveling band, going from town to town singing our songs to whom ever would listen. That really exposed me to the great need there is in the midwest for creative spaces where the next generation can find inspiration and education to use the various tools out there to create art. I felt the need, specifically to create a entity that is supported by the private sector and not the government. As far as hobbies, I love hiking and exploring the country. I love playing legos with my three boys. My passion is truly to continue to make music. I have an ongoing list of songs that I have written begging me to gather some musician friends and record them.

Why did you chose to do business in Benson?
It is very rich in culture and creativity. It’s in the center of the city, and there is an openness to the slow pace lifestyle. It’s refreshing to come down, grab a book and just sit in the coffee shop and read with the dull white noise of kids having their lessons and conversations in the coffee shop.

What’s your favorite part of this community?
People are very open and supportive to new ideas and ventures related to creativity and culture. I think Benson is a great place to come and be reminded that we are human beings and we are created to create.

If someone doesn’t know the area, and want to enjoy themselves, what advice would you give them so they have a good experience?
Grab a drink and one of the best burgers in town at the Benson Brewery. Right after that, go check out one of the many live music venues down the strip to hear a band that will blow your mind that you probably haven’t ever heard of yet.

What community partner/business in Benson could you NOT be without?
Mine personally is Leos Diner. You will find me there every Friday morning.;-)

Anything else you feel your neighbors should know about!
We are all about family here at The 402. We truly want this place to be a safe space for you as a parent or caretaker who just needs a breather in the middle of the day. We want you to be able to trust our collective artist members and know that they certainly love teaching music and art, but they are more passionate about being a positive influence and inspiration to your student. It’s not about money, it’s about seeing people grow.