6th Floor Project
This Year's Project: ArtBank McCook
About Our Organization
“Quite possibly the coolest art space in all of Nebraska.” Matthew Hansen, Editor, Flatwater Free Press, Nov. 19, 2021
In 2021 the 6th Floor of the historic Keystone building was activated to boost contemporary art and culture in the McCook region and revitalize empty spaces in our beautiful downtown. The 6th Floor Project now operates in four buildings. We host youth art programs, artist-led exhibits, artists-in-residence, cultural events, piano recitals, performances, workshops, gatherings, and more. All at no cost to the public. We’ve welcomed more than a thousand visitors from more than twenty states and many countries around the world.
This summer national magazine Travel & Leisure celebrated McCook among America’s Best Small Towns in 2023 and highlighted the 6th Floor: “Perhaps the most striking offering in McCook is the 6th Floor Project, a purposeful gallery nestled on the top floor of the Keystone Business Center and offering a rare birds-eye view of town. This innovative effort seeks to elevate the art of under-appreciated creators from across the globe while reinvigorating rural Nebraska.”
To begin, and show what’s possible, we launched this project ourselves. We bought and donated spaces, funded renovations, and installed art. We organized events, with many amazing local partners and supporters. Too many to name here.
In 2022, we formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the 6th Floor Project, to accept donations and grants to carry these projects forward for the benefit of Southwest Nebraska, hopefully long into the future, past our lifetimes.
Current Project: ArtBank McCook
We recently opened our newest space, ArtBank, bringing a 17,000 square foot landmark building, empty for four years, back into community use. It will house a permanent collection of contemporary art, including one of the most important bodies of work in Nebraska art history, John Thein’s breathtaking Painted Spirit series on Wounded Knee; decades of work by celebrated Kansas artist Robert Blunk, recently deceased at 99; and hundreds of works by the phenomenal artists of Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California. We hope this new project inspires other rural communities to activate empty buildings and make room for art. ArtBank will loan art! In our opening days, we welcomed hundreds of visitors. This past weekend we hosted McCook’s second Dia de Los Muertos event, celebrating our Hispanic community and expanding cultural opportunities for all.
Now, we need your help! We’re embarking on a campaign to raise $250,000, to support youth art programs, artist-led exhibits, open hours for the public, building improvements, continued acquisitions of art for the nonprofit’s permanent collection, and more. We’ve raised $70,000 to date. Please be as generous as you can and help us reach our goal. And come see what’s happening!