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Life-long resident brings more art to North Omaha

Pamela Jo Berry grew up in North Omaha. She partnered with Habitat Omaha to purchase her house in the area in 1995.

She has two children, both are married, and has four grandchildren.

Pamela Jo is also a mixed media artist, writer, poet and photographer. She began her art career in the 1980s as a photographer and poet. And she loved it.

However, due to a chronic illness she stopped making art.

“I put my camera down because I could not use it,” she said. “After so many years, my friend Linda Garcia, asked and encouraged me to make one piece of art for the art show she was putting together. My art was different. It was more spiritual, more textured, more colorful, less photography and it had flaws that I chose not to fix. I am very happy to be able to make new art.”

Pamela Jo’s home is located in an area where some years ago there was not much art being experienced. This bothered her. In 2011, with the help of Pastor John and Liz Backus, Denise Chapman, Kim Whiteside, Kristy Gilbert and Heartland Family Service, the North Omaha Summer Arts (NOSA) began.

Since 2011, they’ve held a gospel concert in Miller Park in June, followed by an art crawl on North 30th Street in August. During the art crawl, many, including Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Public Library’s Charles B. Washington Branch, Church of the Resurrection, Trinity Lutheran Church and Nelson Mandela Elementary, open their doors for artists to show their work to the public.

They’ve also created a women’s writing group to help women be more confident in their writing and become published. Due to COVID-19, the NOSA festival has been suspended, but the writing group continues to meet monthly via Zoom.

“Art is a beautiful thing. I am blessed to be able to make it,” she said. “When I see the gift of giving art to others and watching them fall in love with it, I remember how I fell in love with it and how it has sustained me over the years.”