Burkholder Project Celebrates 35 Years in Haymarket

The Burkholder Project is an essential part of Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket. Owner Anne Burkholder always had the goal of starting a space where artists could display their work and have a space to create. Anne recalls coming across the building which was once the old carpet factory.

“Nothing was down here, nothing,” Burkholder said. “Deserted warehouse and buildings, and that was it. So I thought, ‘Well, okay, that’ll be a good destination. You will have to go out of your way to get down here. Now, 35 years later, it’s hard to find a parking place!”

Located on 7th and P Street, the Burkholder Project has hosted an eccentric collection of 36 art and design studios with New York-style lofts and apartments and three levels of galleries. Burkholder made the decision to not make the gallery a commercial art gallery. She wanted to hold a community for artists who excels at their craft. Burkholder remembers living without a studio and described it as “hard to do.” She recalls bouncing from space to space trying to find a place that worked for her. Thirty-five years later and she has created that space for artists just like her.

“The apartments are open with big windows in the building,” Burkholder said. “People like the idea of living in an art gallery environment, and they weren’t necessarily artists first either. Now a handful of artists that showcase their art in the gallery live upstairs. Some have been here for more than 20 years.”

Burkholder hand selects who showcases their art at the gallery. An artist will bring in their portfolio and she will check them out. She is always looking for someone who offers something different from what Burkholder Project already offers. It does not matter what style of medium the artist works with.

The Burkholder Project was where Lincoln had its first First Friday Gallery Walk.
“Probably about 34 years ago, I decided that it would be really nice to have an art walk,” Burkholder said. “So I started First Friday and the first couple of years we did a lot of promotion about it, and now look at us.”

Burkholder has received a lot of accomplishments for her commitment to the Lincoln Art Scene. In 1997, she received the City Center Award from the Preservation Association of Lincoln for her commitment to historic preservation and revitalization of our community’s historic origins and investment in our community’s future. She was awarded the Community Improvement Recognition Award in 1988 and 2001 for her work with the Burkholder Project. In 1988, Anne Burkholder was awarded the Helen Haggie Award as part of the Tenth Annual Mayor’s Art Awards. The Burkholder Project has also received an American Art Award as the Best Gallery in Nebraska in 2012 and 2013.

Burkholder has been an important part of the Lincoln community art scene and, after 35 years, she is still heavily involved. She also spearheaded the Gallery Alley project that now runs between The Burkholder Project and the Creamery building. Burkholder has future plans of what to add to the Haymarket’s Instagramable spot and continues to add more as long as Burkholder’s Project stands.