History of Gallery 72
Roberta and Robert “Bob” Rogers had a vision to open an art gallery in Omaha devoted to showing modern and contemporary art by nationally recognized artists. After several years of exhibiting and selling art out of their home on Jones Street, they established Gallery 72 on 72nd street in 1972.
In 1974, Bob purchased a two-story brick building at 2709 Leavenworth Street. The first floor became the new location for Gallery 72, which included a front room gallery space, a main gallery, a backroom for art storage and a frame shop in the basement. The second floor was fully renovated into their living space, which was one of Omaha's first loft-style apartments.
In addition to the exhibitions of artwork new and unique to Omaha, Gallery 72 quickly became well known for the potluck dinners held on the Thursday night before the opening of an exhibition. The potlucks brought artists and collectors together in a casual and informative setting that spurred lively conversations, and ultimately led to the development of many life-long friendships. For many guests, this was their first introduction to art and artists, which became the lynchpin for the start of public, private and corporate art collections, as well as establishing Roberta and Bob as pioneers in Omaha’s visual arts community. In 1990, they received recognition for their support when they were honored with the Governor’s Arts Award.
In 2001, Gallery 72 entered a period of changes, beginning with the death of Roberta in October. Soon after, John Rogers began assisting his father in the operation of the gallery. In 2008, due to health issues, Bob moved out of the gallery loft, although the gallery remained on Leavenworth until the fall of 2012, when John relocated to Vinton Street as gallery owner and director. The end of an era came with the death of Bob Rogers in December 2012.
The gallery’s new location at 1806 Vinton Street is in the heart of the Vinton Street Art District . The renovated 1800 sq. ft. gallery space includes a state-of-the art lighting system and the original 13-foot tin clad ceiling and oak wood floor. John Rogers, the current gallery owner, states, “ The opening of this new gallery space celebrates my parents’ legacy and the gallery’s 40-year history of offering exceptional contemporary art and fine art prints to both new and established collectors.”