Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts


Location: Nebraska City, Nebraska, United States

Mission: The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts is an ideal setting for working artists looking for a respite to concentrate on their work. Although originally built in 1969 as a luxury communal home for three prominent couples, the KHN Center has become a renowned artist residency program located in southeastern Nebraska.

Since 2001, the residency has hosted more than 50 working artists each year which include a combination of visual artists, writers, composers, and interdisciplinary artists from across the country and around the world. Each has found privacy in which to create along with ample opportunities to interact with fellow artists in a friendly community located in the rolling bluff country of eastern Nebraska. The KHN Center accommodates up to five artists at a time for stays that vary from two to eight weeks.

In 2001, the KHN Center was established by the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation, Inc. The facility is housed within the prairie-style complex designed by architect, Burkett Graf and built by Karl H. and Wealtha Harding Nelson. The efforts of these pioneering visionaries have shaped the face of the arts in Nebraska and the region through the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

Cost: Stipend provided.

Each resident receives a $100 stipend per week, free housing, and a separate studio. Each resident prepares his or her own meals. Grocery items are available within easy walking distance from the Center. Several welcoming restaurants and quaint coffee shops are nearby. The Center maintains two bicycles for residents’ use. For those bringing cars, off-street parking is provided.

Application Fee: $35.00 application fee

Number of Artists: Up to 5 Artists at a Time

Accommodations: The KHN Center provides housing, studio space, and a weekly stipend. Two large double-occupancy apartments feature a shared kitchen, living and dining room and private bedrooms with ensuite baths. The garden-level efficiency apartment, located directly below a spacious composer’s studio often houses the composer-in-residence.

Apartments are furnished with basic necessities such as dishes, utensils, pots and pans and a number of small kitchen appliances. Bedroom and bath linens are provided.

Wi-Fi access is available throughout the building and each apartment has private control for heating or air conditioning. The facility offers on-site laundry facilities for resident use. An all-in-one printer is connected to a communal computer, available in the residents’ lounge.

Length of Stay: 2 – 8 weeks

Demographic: Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts offers up to sixty juried residencies per year to working visual artists, writers, composers, and interdisciplinary artists from across the country and around the world. The Center does not discriminate on the basis of disability, sex, age, race, religion, or national origin.

Medium: Visual Artists, Writers, and Composers from across the country and around the world

Benefits: Each resident receives a $100 stipend per week, free housing, and a separate studio. Regular open studio events with residents and receptions for exhibiting artists are held to which the community is invited.

Visual artists work in one of three studios, two of which are approximately 425 square feet and one that is 258 square feet, outfitted with work tables, running water and storage shelves. Hand tools, a table saw, a scroll saw and painting easels are available.

For printmakers, the Center offers a letterpress studio with a Vandercook Sp15 press and a standard proof press. The Harry Duncan Letterpress Studio also features a variety of furniture and fonts, an inventory of tools and inks, as well as a boxcar base for resident use.

Composers are provided a studio equipped with a Yamaha upright piano, a set of digital monitors and a compact mixer. The composer’s studio is spacious, comfortable and quiet, but not soundproof.

A private writer’s studio is located within each of the double-occupancy apartments featuring computer desks, shelving, and abundant natural light.

Deadline: March 1: July – December Session + September 1: January – June Session

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24 thoughts on “Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts

  1. I was a resident there a few years ago. In my opinion, the facilities are sparse and outdated and the staff is a little conservative-minded. All that said, if you’re looking for a residency that can provide space and time in a very small-town setting, KHN can be good.

  2. The staff is very kind and informative, and the town of Nebraska City is a treasure to explore for inspiration. The summer can be a tad humid, but the spaciousness of the living space and a separate artist’s working space makes KHN a fantastic site to create your works on. I was able to engage my work on all hours of the day and night. Only distraction I had was that the neighbors in the alley can be quite rowdy, so I would recommend wearing noise cancelling headphones if you choose to work late into the night. There is also a fantastic bar/eatery a block from the facility for cheap food and drinks, as well as some nice stories from Italy. If for some reason you need other distractions, there is a first run theater five blocks away, and a cheap thrift store. For more general needs, there is a walmart, but you’d probably want to drive there. Check it out, you’re there to work anyway and you won’t regret it.

  3. I had an absolutely phenomenal experience at the KHN Center. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful, friendly, or accommodating. They do everything within their power to provide a warm, relaxed atmosphere that is very conducive to work. I wrote so much more music than I expected to, and I also had a lot of fun.

    The setting is fantastic. Nebraska City is a charming, cozy city which was recently named by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 10 best small towns in the country, and I agree with their assessment. There are lots of local attractions like museums, parks (this is the home of Arbor Day, after all), restaurants, hiking, biking, and much more. And if you feel the need to check out a bigger city, Omaha is only 45 minutes away and has world class museums (the Joslyn is actually free), a cool Old Market area with cobblestone streets, a surprisingly great zoo, a cool neighborhood in Benson, and awesome restaurants.

    Nebraska is a beautiful state. It is wide open and the scenery isn’t ruined by billboards and other roadside detritus. The KHN Center, in my mind, embodies this feeing of space. It is open and warm and a perfect environment in which to create artwork. Stay for as long as you can! I stayed for 6 weeks and wish I had asked for 8.

  4. I had a great experience at the KHN Center. The staff were friendly and helpful. It’s a great place for someone hoping for a quiet place to focus on work. Nebraska City is relatively rural and yet has a more museums than cities many times its size. Overall I would describe this residency as a nice midwest experience with friendly people and a relaxed atmosphere. I would highly recommend it.

  5. KHN is a solid residency: spacious, clean accommodations, good-sized studios, stipend. The center itself doesn’t have a ton of inspirational character, feeling like an early-80’s suburban house (with a nice courtyard), but is located a couple blocks from the historic downtown of an interesting small town and walking distance to the Missouri river. For visual artists, there isn’t much in the way of tools. Tablesaw, scrollsaw, some hand-tools, and video projector. A few odd materials, but for the most part, you’ll have to bring your own. Hardware stores close by. Group of other artists isn’t large: two visual artists, two writers, and a musician usually. Staff is great, friendly and helpful.

  6. This is a very good residency. The staff is very helpful, and they do a great job of striking the right balance between being available for what you need and staying out of your way. The stipend is sufficient to cover your needs for a week – prices in town are modest. The facilities are cozy and spacious, and it’s easy to manage how much contact you have with the other artists. KHN held its own with my other favorite residencies.

  7. I had a very positive experience during my two-week residency at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. My double-occupancy apartment, which included a writer’s studio, was spacious, bright, quiet and clean — an environment conducive to writing. The presence of several other working artists, along with the works of former residents exhibited in my apartment and throughout the center, made me feel part of a larger community that valued art and its creation. During the open studio/gallery event (which occurs monthly), I very much enjoyed the opportunity to share my writing with the public and answer their questions. One comment from an attendee even led me to think about aspects of my work in a new way. In addition, both the program director and assistant director were friendly and helpful without being intrusive. When my incoming flight was delayed by several hours, the assistant director kindly met me at the center at 8:30 p.m. to give me my orientation. I also enjoyed Nebraska City; it was small but interesting with several unique museums, walking/hiking/biking trails, a movie theater, and a number of casual but good restaurants. Though the residency did not offer prepared meals, the stipend was much appreciated and covered all of my food expenses. Overall, it was a productive and satisfying two weeks.

  8. I had a wonderful time at the KHN Center. The two staff members have complimentary knowledge and backgrounds, are both friendly and anticipated all my needs. The Program Director is a hip young artist herself who “gets it” and the Assistant Director knows every nook and cranny of Nebraska City and is the ultimate tour guide.

    The living apartments are well-organized, clean, spacious and have funny dated décor hung with the art of past residents. My studio was large and brightly lit and had many tables for me to rearrange how I needed. The wifi signal is strong and plentiful throughout the apartments, studios and common areas!

    Nebraska City is a lovely town easily navigable by foot or bicycle. There’s many things to do to take a break from being in the studio like go for walks, visit small museums, visit local coffee shops, browse antique shops, or if you have access to a vehicle, visit Lincoln and Omaha which are both an hour away.

    It’s a small residency (5 folks at a time) and if you are the type who gets lonely you will need to take initiative to organize group meals or walks with your fellow residents. There are several bars in town where you can mingle with locals over very cheap beer. This is not a party residency (at least not while I was there). The residents I met there tended to be in their 30s and older, all very serious about their practice and dedicated many hours to being in the studio. I hope to return to the KHN Center on day!

  9. KHN was a perfect residency for me. I found the ideal balance between time to focus on my work and social interactions & small town distractions if needed. The director and her assistant are two incredibly friendly women.They create a relaxed and appreciative atmosphere and couldn’t be more helpful. I loved the silent winter days, my well equipped studio, the spacious an cozy apartment, the privacy, and the experience of an American small town life. The interaction with the other residents is easy to organize, since there are only 5 residents at a time. I spent six extremely productive weeks at KHN and I truly wish to come back one day.

  10. This was a great residency for me. I completed a ton of work in my short 2 weeks. I wish I could have stayed longer! The accommodations were very comfortable. I was lucky and had very nice co-residents 😉 The town was really nice for walking around when I needed a break from working on my projects. The studio was good (had table/chair/sink/ability to pin into walls). I would recommend this residency to my friends.

  11. I had an incredible time at KHN. I got work done that I had been putting aside for a long time, both at home and at other residencies. It is a small, relaxed, quiet residency, run by a wonderful staff. I leave the center today, sorry to go but very happy I came.

  12. I had an excellent time here. I worked well, met several amazing people, and find Pat and Amanda to be wonderful, informed, and fun.

  13. I had a great residency there, and was inspired by Nebraska City in all kinds of ways. I met wonderful other artists, and Pat and Amanda are simply the best. The facilities were exactly what I needed.

  14. My residency as composer at KHN in April 2016 was great. The town is very nice, the center and the facilities are really a treat, and Amanda and Pat are friendly, helpful, and interesting. The best part was the artists that I got to meet. I felt a connection to all of them, and made good friends. I really recommend this residency to everyone!

  15. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was going to a very small town which seemed (to me at the time) to be located in the middle of nowhere! I was honestly worried what I would do. But the residency and those running it are amazing. The town was tiny but somehow vibrant – a movie theatre, many stores, actually everything you could need was right on the main street. Everywhere you went, everyone was polite and helpful. It was actually the ideal place for any artist to spend time.

  16. This residency was amazing. I had no idea what to expect and had much trepidation about going to a very small town in the middle of nowhere in February! The facilities were super special, and the other residents engaging and fun to be with. Pat and Amanda where super helpful, nice and welcoming. And the town was like something out of a movie. The main street was vibrant and had everything you could ever want in just a few city blocks. I loved it.

  17. I had a lovely time at KHN. Long days writing at the sunny desk in my bedroom or when it was warm enough, on the table on the deck. Long walks out to the orchards and beyond to enjoy beautiful sunsets. I really enjoyed the company of the other residents, and was especially grateful for my roommate’s company. We did our own thing during the day—I wrote, she painted— and we spent evenings discussing our work, venturing into town, or just reading quietly. Nebraska City is a sweet, vibrant, interesting little town and I was surprised to grow rather fond of it by the end.

  18. Complete magic. The staff is so lovely and very accommodating. The studios and apartments are also comfortable and spacious. There’s not too many distractions in town, but it’s worth exploring and wandering into the surrounding fields at sunset. I also recommend taking a trip to Kansas City and visiting the Nerman Museum, Kemper Gallery, and Nelson-Atkins Museum. If you happen to stay in apartment 2 on the ground floor and need to pass the time, there’s a fantastic puzzle in the bookshelf.

  19. This was a great opportunity for me to get away and focus on my work. The staff were incredible and happy to help source things I needed for my studio and very warm and friendly. The studio was spacious and I was even able to overflow into a second studio. The apartment was comfortable and huge. The town was very quiet, but nice to explore. It was great that there were other residents there and that they were from different disciplines. We all connected very easily.

  20. It has a great balance of offering distraction-free quiet and focus with allowing for social interaction too. The art studios are just separated enough from the apartments to make them productive. The staff are great at making it welcoming and comfortable. The town is super charming – you won’t make art-world connections there but it’s a great place to get a lot of work made, read, think, etc. The building is perfectly configured to be a residency center.

  21. I loved my time spent at KHN. I loved how there weren’t many social obligations, so I was able to dive back into to my writing. I was also appreciative that, although I arrived mid-month, the other residents were open, warm, and inclusive. I have attended some cliquish residencies in the past, so I was delighted to be accepted by my peers with such a welcoming air. The facility is quiet, peaceful, and studious. Whenever I sat down at my desk, I felt a lunar pull to write. Very rarely there was some construction noise occurring next door, but only because the neighbors were building a house that should be finished soon. Nebraska City was a laid-back town, and the locals seemed genuinely excited to meet the resident artists. I wrote 45 pages of poetry at KH, which is a record for me! I wouldn’t have accomplished that insane feat had I been at another residency.

  22. My only regret is I couldn’t stay longer. I loved the staff at KHN. They were kind, thoughtful and helpful during my stay. I enjoyed the space, the entire place was spacious, clean, comfortable and quiet. I enjoyed being able to write in different spaces, the bedroom or the writing suite, on the veranda (I didn’t but I could have) in the living room or dining area or even in the gallery space of the center. I also liked meeting the other residents, having the best two roommates ever, both thoughtful, kind, generous and nurturing. I enjoyed the few people I met and a quick visit to Peru College. The food was great, and I made friends with Ron the taxi driver who picked me up and took me back to the airport. Holly and Sara felt like old friends by the time I left and they were so encouraging and supportive. My time was just wonderful really but 2 weeks isn’t long enough, particularly since it is really only 12 days, for me 2 entire days are taken up in travel so really if I were to go back I would need at least the 4 weeks as it took me about 3 days to acclimate myself. Maybe though if I hadn’t come after a 6 year slump it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get up and writing. That said, I’d return in a heart beat.

  23. I’ve had a lovely experience at KHN. The staff is supportive, open-minded, friendly, and timely in addressing all issues. As a composer, I find that solitude is important in order to focus. Nevertheless, some of my favorite parts have been the fruitful and genuine conversations I’ve had with Holly and Sara about creativity and life. They are terrific people and lots of fun! The Tuesday lunches are a nice treat. This event presents an opportunity to hang out and get to know the new residents. The Third Thursday event is terrific. Here, members of the community come to listen as the residents share a bit about their work and creative process. I enjoyed it immensely. Overall, I’d highly recommend the KHN residency to other composers looking for a focused place to work. I understand that they are looking to expand their stylistic boundaries in the music area, which is refreshing. Attracting a wide range of composer/musicians will help that aspect of the residency program to thrive. As another commenter rated above, Holly and Sara are “like old friends” and extremely professional. Great human beings! I’ve enjoyed connecting with the other residents as well and feel I’ve made some new friends. What more can you ask for? Thanks for reading, and for everything KHN!

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