Fremont Creative District
The Fremont Creative District encompasses the historic downtown of Fremont, Nebraska. Downtown Fremont is home to a number of longstanding cultural, commercial, and civic buildings and offers a range of activities that appeal to residents and college students, as well as regional visitors and tourists.
The Keene Memorial Library and City Auditorium satellite locations are within a block of the perimeter of the Creative District. The Dodge County Historical Society, housed in the Louis E. May Museum, is also a satellite location, about 12 blocks from the district perimeter.
The 2023 Youth Leadership winning community project visualized a creative way to enhance the Fremont Creative District. Discussions are forthcoming to see how this team of high school juniors can work with the Fremont Creative District to make Asphalt Art a reality. Congrats to Zoey Smallwood, Avery Gossett, Emerson Knoell and Summer Bojanski for your hard work and creativity! Check out their video below.
Fremont Area Art Association
The Fremont Creative District is home to the Fremont Area Art Association (FAAA) which houses Gallery 92 West and the Art Emporium, where you can find unique, artisan items from local artists. The gallery hosts rotating art exhibits, art openings and monthly, catered luncheons the third Thursday of each month. The FAAA offers art classes to all levels and includes two classrooms and a pottery studio. Come get inspired!
Fremont Opera House
The Fremont Opera House held its grand opening performance on the evening of December 14, 1888. This five-story structure was considered one of the finest buildings in the state, with an amazing seating capacity of 1,100. The theater space located on the upper three floors was considered ornate with an impressive domed ceiling. Today, the Fremont Opera House is host to plays, concerts, summer middle school art camps, community theater performances, and monthly luncheons. The space can also be reserved for weddings and receptions. Plans to renovate the upper Opera House floors are in the works, check out the project.
Louis E. May Museum
The original home was built in the Italianate Revival style. Theron Nye built the house in 1874. His son inherited the home in 1900 and remodeled the home from 1901 until 1912. The current style of the home is Georgian or Classical Revival and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The grounds are a Nebraska Arboretum Site. The museum offers curated exhibits, a gift shop and also houses the Dodge County Historical Society. Take a virtual tour!
May Brothers Building
The May Brothers Building is a 141-year-old three-story brick building. The building was originally established as a grocery store and grocery distribution hub for the entire Midwest. Today, the first floor is home to the Milady Coffeehouse, named after the coffee that was distributed by the May Brothers. The East Wing Venue is available for celebrations, receptions, and parties. Eby Fine Art can also be found on the first floor and offers art classes and an art gallery. The May Brothers Building second floor is home to the Next Level, a community of small businesses, artists, and self-employed dreamers. Third floor construction is under to develop several apartments and a small boutique hotel.
Nebraska Quilt Company
The Nebraska Quilt Company (formerly Country Traditions) offers over 8,000 bolts of fabric, numerous books/patterns, notions, machines, and classrooms. The historic building is 20,000 square feet and boasts 14-foot ceilings, original wood flooring, exposed ceiling beams, the original freight elevator, and antique light fixtures suspended from a partial tin ceiling. The Nebraska Quilt Company offers shopping, a large selection of quilts to admire, quarterly retreats, bus trips, and much more. Loren and Karen Paquette invite you to come and enjoy the experience they have crafted for their guests.
The Empress Theatre
The Empress Theatre opened on March 18, 1915 and had seating for nearly 1,000, with the balcony having 330 seats. Today the theater is home to The Digg Site Productions. The Digg Site has undertaken the renovation of the historic Empress Theatre and also provides tuition-free film camps. The Digg Site also established the Fremont Film Fund to support film careers in Fremont and surrounding areas and founded The White Light City Film Festival, which showcases student-produced films and offers awards.
John C. Fremont Park
John C. Fremont Park is host to many of the Fremont Creative District annual and seasonal events including John C. Fremont Days and the Summer Concert Series. The park includes a picnic shelter, play equipment and splash pad.
Keene Memorial Library
Currently housed in the City Auditorium, the library is undergoing an expansion project. Learn more about the project here. Keene Memorial Library Keene Memorial Library Keene Memorial Library
As shared in the guidelines (PDF) developed by the Nebraska Arts Council:
The Creative District Program is run by the Nebraska Arts Council, through legislation passed by the Nebraska Legislature that will show the arts as an economic driver, support communities in Nebraska in telling their stories, and elevate the value of the arts.
A Creative District is a well-defined geographic area with a high concentration of creative resources and activities. Creative Districts works to help communities throughout the state thrive. The certification can bolster their creative economy, enhance vitality, and improve livability. This can support a region’s ability to grow jobs and increase educational and creative opportunities for residents and visitors.
Creative Districts are selected through an open application process.
Planning for Fremont’s Creative District certification began around April of 2022 with City outreach to several area organizations to discuss the program. Once interest was gauged, a group of Discovery Partners from over 20 organizations representing Fremont’s business, cultural, arts and education sectors met regularly from April 2022 – September 2022. Fremont’s Letter of Interest was submitted in May and an Assets and SWOT analysis kick-off meeting was held at the May Museum July 7 with Director Jeff Kappeler (pictured right) presenting an overview of Fremont’s history and cultural heritage.
Discovery Partners worked in small groups and 2-3 sections of the Eligibility Assessment were presented and discussed at each meeting. The group also made an online survey available to the public during this time to gather input and presented educational materials to the public during Fremont’s first ever “Art Walk” in October 2022.
Fremont’s District Administrator met with several area groups to discuss the program throughout the process including the Business Improvement District #1, Ministerial Association, Kiwanis Club, Fremont Area Art Association membership and public and private high school arts educators.
Thank you to our Discovery Partners!
Tara Lea, Chamber of Commerce
Sam Heineman, Business Improvement District #1
Lindi Janulewicz, Fremont Area Art Association
Al Duminy, Ministerial Association / Sinai Lutheran
Molly Paden, Fremont and Dodge County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Barbara Christensen, Fremont Downtown Development Group
Angie Olson, City of Fremont
Laura England-Biggs, Keene Memorial Library
Jennifer Dam, City of Fremont
Rossana Jaeger, Fremont Family Coalition
Lee Meyer, Fremont Opera House
Susan Larson Hogelin, Fremont Downtown Development Group
Dana Reeves, Digg Site
Jeff Kappeler, Dodge County Historical Society
Mara Hornig, Fremont Public Schools
Cindie Serrano, Lincoln Premium Poultry
Katy Jones, Midland University
Morgan Hegge, Lincoln Premium Poultry
Stacy Heatherly, Eastern Nebraska Film Office
Melissa Powell, MainStreet Fremont
Melissa Diers, Fremont Area Community Foundation
Therese Hoyle, Greater Fremont Development Council
Spirits and Snacks
- Artesan Bread
- Bourban Trail
- Buck's Axe Throwing
- Churchill's Cigar Bar
- Doe's Place
- Dugout Bar
- Eagles Club
- Five-O-Five Brewing
- Heladeria Reinita
- LA Fireproof Door Co
- Milady CoffeeHouse
- Wine Experience
- Black Tie and White Satin
- Day to Remember Mi Tierra
- Fia and Belle
- Laveda Lees
- Lou's Sporting Goods
- WillowSpring Boutique
Antiques and Furniture
Gifts and More
Arts and Entertainment
Fremont Area Art Assoc. / Gallery 92 West
Fremont Opera House
Keene Memorial Library
Cylinder and Slide
Dodge County Courthouse
Louis E. May Museum
Old Fremont Post Office
Body and Mind
Kiels Barber Shop
The Hair Cottage
Touch of Class Hair Studio
C & S CBD Relief
Lost Souls Tattoo
Rejuvenate Day Spa