What Is Elevate?

Elevate is only a few weeks away. It seems like just yesterday our board of directors came up with the idea of holding our next undertaking on a bridge over I-80, in full view of a new set of grain elevator banners about Transportation. Shortly thereafter, an inspired Events Committee came up with the name Elevate to describe unlikely collaborations; some of the city’s most creative food and spatial designers challenged to expand the possibilities discovered through the first event. The Harvest Dinner in 2010 combined the topics food and land use at one 800-foot long table on an old rail corridor next to the elevator. The result was more like an afternoon of performance art, blurring actor and attendee whereby those sitting at the table were as involved in the process as those growing, preparing, and serving the 6-course meal. Those coming to partake are just as integral to the process through their investment in something unprecedented and unpredictable.

Elevate has become a unique creature, built upon the Harvest Dinner. Through collaborations (architects/designers, chef, and local food producers) we have only seen happen inside the walls of restaurants, teams have been working together to create structures that speak to how food, land use, and transportation are inseparable in our city and culture. By doing so on a bridge with a view, Elevate is meant to be a celebratory, creative, impeccably delicious, thought provoking experience.

The most exciting part about Elevate has been experiencing these teams working together. Architects and engineers working with farmers and chefs, exploring new ways of involving the community in their ideas, new methods of fabrication, and new ways of presenting the possibilities of how food is produced and presented. We’ve watched teams move into spaces around the city we never knew existed to build their stations, deconstruct buildings from rural places to reconstruct anew, and reconfigure salvaged transportation infrastructures to express how intertwined movement and food really are.

Elevate is a vehicle for these collaborations and for providing the resources through 100% of ticket sales to make these structures and the food they will serve.  After June 3, as determined by each team, their structures will go on to inhabit other parts of the city for a day or weekend or longer. We hope the structures might find strategic permanent homes, spur new kinds of innovative businesses, site specific events, and even become an anticipated part of each summer and fall here in Omaha.