Baader-Meinhof group resurfaces.
Baader-Meinhof art gallery in Omaha has recently undergone a major transformation, relocating to Vinton Street in a brand new space. After operating from the owner Kyle Laidig’s home on South 6th Street for two and a half years, Laidig received a notice from Omaha Premier Property Management ordering him to “close its doors” to future exhibits or incur lease termination in two weeks. This was an enormous setback for Laidig, who was just beginning to make a name as an indie art venue owner. However, Laidig refused to be put off, continuing to promote art in Omaha until he discovered the new Baader-Meinhof space on Vinton Street.
The new space is much larger than the old one, with the main gallery space covering 3,280 sq ft, divided into two sections. A small entryway gallery opens into the main floor, with a back-office area also situated on this floor. The building is equipped with LED lighting tuned to 5000K, which is ideal for displaying art in a true-to-life manner.
Despite the challenges he faced, Laidig’s mission for Baader-Meinhof remains clear: to showcase foreign art and, because of the new, much larger space, to focus on more local artists than before. “One of the most difficult realities has been the frustration that the mission of the program seemed irreconcilable with engaging regional artists,” Laidig said. “After two and a half years of consistent programming, and with some semblance of an international footprint, it feels like the proper time to open the doors up to fostering opportunities and working relationships with artists working nearby.” The new location on Vinton Street will also allow for a greater footprint in terms of accessibility and mission.
The process of creating the new Baader-Meinhof space was a team effort, with one of Laidig’s dear friends, Talia Witherspoon, helping him with operations, the building, finance, and overall management, so that Laidig could focus on the curatorial aspects of the project. Laidig’s enthusiasm, vision, and resilience were the deciding factors for Witherspoon, who is adamant that the new location can bring Laidig within reach of achieving his life’s dream, “to own and operate a renowned gallery with a stable brick & mortar location that makes programming nerve-free and can generously accommodate large-scale work.”
The question on everyone’s mind now is whether the new Baader-Meinhof will be a success. Artist Josh Powell, co-creator of Project Project, thinks it will, describing Laidig as having an “unbounded zeal and far-reaching vision.” Powell also believes that Laidig’s willingness to throw himself into niggling details, such as scraping paint and sourcing building supplies, and his ability to establish a niche will be critical to Baader-Meinhof’s success.
The importance of building sustainable models for patronage and support is not lost on Laidig, who understands the need to foster relationships with community members to realize long-term funding structures that can ensure Baader-Meinhof serves the local community effectively and expansively. Overall, Laidig’s incredible resilience, determination, and enthusiasm will no doubt continue to be crucial to the success of Baader-Meinhof in the years to come.