A Cath-art-ic Experience

Decades old passageway still provides special art experience

Shruti Chada, Staff Writer

Walking into the passageway is like looking into an aesthetic pinterest board. The twinkling fairy lights, plants draped all along the railings, and skylight all contribute to the image. Art galleries and small local restaurants are prevalent in the Old Market Passageway, and the music from street musicians outside makes it a perfect example of the beauty that Omaha offers. 

“I really enjoy [the Old Market Passageway] because it’s a great place to go to people watch and look at artwork. I have an interest in jewelry myself so the selection of homemade jewelry is fun to look at. The food there is great and there’s always something new to discover. Taking pictures there is always fun too,” sophomore Kristine Roberts said.

The Old Market Passageway is home to several different art galleries that showcase local artists, stores, and restaurants. The passageway has a rich history that began with it starting as an alley three decades ago and now being the home of an Omaha entertainment hotspot. It is composed of three different levels: the basement level, floor level, and elevated level.

“The Passageway is an important part of Omaha that provides a place for the arts and local shops to thrive. Plus, it’s all clustered together which makes for a fun night out without having to move around a lot. There’s a small adventure in it for me with the entrances leading to a place that looks like a snippet out of history, and it makes me feel like I’m in a fantasy novel,” Old Market Gallery employee Nina Patterson said. 

Going down there is an experience in itself with the underground and aboveground areas acting in tandem to create a place that is connected to several different shops. Inside are shops that showcase different cultures. One example is Monksha, which offers asian style clothing. 

“Personally, the different shops like Monksha and the bookstore down there stand out the most. I enjoy browsing through the selections of books because you never know what you’ll find. It’s like a little magical library,” sophomore Audrey Cherek said.

The art galleries in the Passageway provide an important place for artists to sell their craft too. Next to many of the displays at the Passageway Gallery are business cards that allow artists to be commissioned. This provides an important resource for those artists hoping to get recognized. 

“Working at the Old Market Gallery has made me realize the importance of the art galleries down here. It’s great to be a part of that process and watch people be awed about the different pieces of art that are displayed here,” Patterson said.

The restaurants that have found a home there are also full of culture. Vini’s, V. Mertz, and Omaha Prime Steakhouse all offer unique cuisine and an amazing view of dangling plants mixed with slightly archaic architecture. They include a great variety of food that spans several different countries; like steak, authentic tacos, and a spread of french food.  Omaha is full of diversity, and this group of restaurants displays that. 

Together with the different art galleries and shops, the Old Market Passageway is a hotspot for people in search of a relaxation-filled night. Omaha isn’t really renowned for much, but certain spots like the Old Market Passageway show a new side of Omaha filled with local beauty.