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Downtown Welcomes UNL's Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts

Dedication events begin November 15

After opening its doors this fall, The Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts will be dedicated this weekend, Nov. 15-17.

The Center is located at 13th and Q Streets, right at the border where the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus meets downtown Lincoln. Preparations for the center were launched in 2015 with a $20 million gift from the foundation of iconic talk show host Johnny Carson, who hailed from Nebraska.

“The Dedication of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts is a milestone for the university more than five years in the making,” Founding Director Megan Elliott said. 

The Center represents a bright future of technology and opportunity for UNL students. When it earned a Hewlett Packard/Educause Campus of Future designation earlier in the fall, it put Nebraska in the company of MIT, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Yale University and Dartmouth College. The partnership with a Fortune 100, global corporation gives UNL students at the Center access to the latest high-tech equipment for investigating augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D scanning and printing technologies. 

Dedication events will begin on Friday, Nov. 15 with Carson Center Conversations, featuring members of the Carson Center’s Advisory Council, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Center, which is located at 13th and Q streets. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested at

“It’s a chance for us to pause and say thank you to the people who helped envision the Center and bring it to life—from the Carson Foundation board members to the visionary leaders of our administration, faculty and staff; the members of our Advisory Council and other industry leaders; the architects; and the many community members who cheered us on along the way,” Elliott said. “They all supported our dream to build the premier destination for transformative creative leaders and made this weekend possible.”

The schedule is as follows:

9 a.m. Welcome

9:15 a.m. Robert Tercek (Innovation expert, creative strategist and author of Vaporized, the 2016 International Book Award Winner at the Frankfurt Book Fair)

9:45 a.m. Megan Elliott with Maureen Fan (Chief Executive Officer of Baobab Studios) and Ashley Baccus-Clark (Multidisciplinary artist, VR Producer of NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism)

10:15 a.m. Susan Bonds (Co-founder and CEO of 42 Entertainment and a pioneer in experiential storytelling)

10:45 a.m. Break

11:15 a.m. Alex McDowell, RDI (Production Designer Minority Report, Fight Club and Man of Steel)

11:45 a.m. The New Economy Panel with Preeta Bansal (Senior executive and lawyer who formerly served as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor in the Obama White House), Erica Larsen-Dockray (Media artist, educator, activist and co-founder of Calibraska Arts Initiative), Kyle Murphy (Vice President of People and Corporate Communication at Hudl and founder of Nebraska VX), Jeff Nicholas (Vice President of Creative and Innovation at Live Nation), Clint! Runge (Co-Founder and Managing Director of Archrival), and Ross Warren (Founder-in-Residence at Google’s experimental Area 120 and tech advisor for HRH Princess Eugenie of York’s The Anti-Slavery Collective).

The formal dedication of the Center will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. Members of the Johnny Carson Foundation board are scheduled to attend. This event is also free and open to the public. Registration is requested at

For more information about the Carson Center or the dedication weekend events, please visit or follow them on social media @carsoncenterunl.

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