Omaha Hispanic Art Center revives former Emmy Gifford Theater

The new performing arts venue will also serve as a community center for people of all cultures and nationalities.
The former Center Theater is getting new life as a performing arts venue and community center.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:54 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Center Theater and Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater is now a new home for dancers of all ages to learn traditional Hispanic cultural dances.

“Originally, we had a rental space for the dance studio at 18th and Vinton during COVID-19,” said owner Milt Schneider. “During COVID-19, we had to shut down the dance studio and during that period we were looking for a new venue,” Schneider said.

Milt Schneider and his wife, Leah Moreno Schneider, purchased the 13,000-square-foot theater back in December of 2021. They moved the Hispanic Art Center to 35th and Center.

Since purchasing the building, they’ve put in a brand-new studio and dance floor and they’re planning to make other renovations for spaces to host birthday parties and weddings. The Schneiders plan to put a theater stage, a bar, and a marble platform to add more space for dancers.

“This place will be open for performing arts, not only dance, but music and theater programs,” Moreno-Schneider said.

Leah Moreno Schneider said they plan for this to be home for Cinco de Mayo, Dia de los Muertos, and other community celebrations.

Milt said he sees this venue as an opportunity to bring the community together.

“We want to offer a space where different groups can meet and where different things can be presented, and that currently doesn’t readily exist,” Schneider said.

The community center is set to open this summer. The Schneiders welcome people of all ages, cultures, and nationalities.