benson’s pizza shoppe to close march 11; new pizzeria to open at 6056 maple street

OMAHA – After 22 years of serving its signature pies to pizza lovers across the metro, the Pizza Shoppe Collective in downtown Benson will close its doors for the final time Saturday, March 11.

Owner/operator Amy Ryan is closing the neighborhood restaurant to devote full time to her new role as executive director of the Benson Theatre. The former vaudeville venue, located at 6054 Maple Street, will serve as a versatile community space for educational workshops during the day and a wide range of arts entertainment at night. A capital campaign is under way to raise funds for its renovation. To date, more than 55 community partners have signed on to use the Benson Theatre once it opens.

“I can’t begin to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported The Pizza Shoppe over the years,” Ryan said. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of your work days, birthdays, anniversaries, first dates, weddings and celebrations of life in all forms. Many of you have jumped in to do dishes, stay with me until close to make sure I got out the door safely and truly make The Pizza Shoppe your home away from home. Your support has created jobs for many, boosted the vitality of our neighborhood and given me a lifetime of memories that are jam-packed in my grateful heart.”

The popular Benson hangout won’t be empty for long. Local restaurateurs David and Brenda Losole will be bringing a new menu and their legendary twist on South Omaha Italian to 6056 Maple Street. Virtuoso Pizzeria is set to open in April.

Losole will be stepping away from his family’s restaurant, Lo Sole Mio, where he served as executive chef in order to purse his passion for pizza. He is the only certified Pizzaioli in the State of Nebraska to graduate from Tony Gemingnani’s International School of Pizza.

text’ure opens march 3

"Debates: Fracturing America" by Peg Pennell

“Debates: Fracturing America” by Peg Pennell

BENSON – The little gallery at 5901 Maple Street will host an opening reception for Text’ure Friday, March 3, from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

This group show from the Midwest Fiber Arts Alliance features works by fiber artists Rhonda Baldwin, Marge Bresel, Shelly Burge, Gail Dickel, Joan Duggan, LaVonne Dunetts, Cindy Erickson, Deb Hysack, Cynthia Levis, Aimee Mahan, Wendy Maliszewski, Peg Pennell, Cindy Schroeder, Dianne Thomas, Debra Ward and Roberta Willet.

Text’ure runs through March 31. The little gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 to 6:00pm, Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm, the second Sunday of the month from 8:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment.

Call 402.681.1901 or email for more information.

oscillating bodies opens feb. 3

nonsense torrey smith fiber art, embroidery hoop 5.5" x 5.5" $35

torrey smith
fiber art, embroidery hoop
5.5″ x 5.5″

Join the little gallery Friday, Feb. 3, for the opening reception of Oscillating Bodies, a Torrey Smith + Nadia Shinkunas collaboration, from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

The show is an expression of their attempt to engage unique and overlapping components of the left and right brains: one explores shadows, optical illusions and the unpredictable with latex paint on wood panels; the other examines the juxtaposition between the internal and the external through the collaging of words, paper and various styles of fiber art.

The pair’s work contains elements of contrast: sharp versus soft edges, the geometric and linear versus free moving and changeable, bright colors versus greyscale, pendulum motions versus spinning elements. And while each body of work may seem to engage one side of the brain more than the other, both aim to reflect two sides of the same coin.

Processes, materials and tools may differ, but revision, rearrangement and ever shifting intent embody the pair’s respective intents.

about torrey
Smith was born and raised in Denver, CO. She made her way to the Pacific Northwest, attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where she earned her B.A. in English and history in 2014 and her M.A. in critical theory and creative research from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR, in 2015. Smith is now a writer and artist based in Omaha, NE. She primarily writes poetry and critiques and works in fiber art and collage.

Smith’s pieces in this show were initially inspired by Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, written and published in various forms and publications between 1882 and 1906. “Many of his tongue-in-cheek definitions feel very pertinent to our current political climate,” Smith said. “I wrote catalog issue 2: dead poet’s anxiety by selecting 250 or so of the words found in his dictionary and incorporating them all into one extended poem.”

about nadia
Shinkunas was born in San Bernardino, CA. She “bounced around the universe for a bit and decided to come to Omaha in 2005.” After studying a variety of trades and subjects, she finally quit denying what she always wanted to do. She began studying art at Metropolitan Community College and finished her bachelor’s degree in sculpture with a minor in art history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2014.

Shinkunas is currently exploring 2D optical illusions and visual devices that she finds through trial and error in an attempt to mesh the complexity of 3D and the simplicity of 2D. She is inspired by shadows and negative space, the overlooked, “things that we perceive as nothing or not really there.”

The show runs through Feb. 28.