Calandra, cross-media creative.
WHY do only one thing? #learnmore
Calandra is the founder of Hidden Roots, an urban agriculture business consisting of, but not limited to, an inner-city farm and allotment garden in North Omaha, ArxT One, whose mission is to make art and its healing abilities accessible to all; the Green City Leader, a niche community newspaper and owner of Center Studio 518, a creative workspace and creative classroom.
Calandra is also a honey bee keeper, mushroom cultivator, registered USDA farmer and has 15 beautiful laying hens.
Studied communications (public relations/journalism) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and earned Associate in Applied Science degrees in: accounting, business management and legal studies from Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, where she served as an adjunct faculty instructor teaching fashion draping, pattern making, vintage sewing and couture techniques, natural dyeing, urban-agriculture-related subjects and more in the New Makerhood District and other MCC locations from 2016 to June 2018 before opening Center Studio 518 in Omaha's Center Mall to pursue her own endeavors through Center Studio 518.
Cooper says she never wanted to be one thing when she grew up and finds it hard to believe any creative person is ever satisfied with learning or doing one thing.
Calandra always loved the arts, craft, sewing, textiles and gardening from a young age.
Growing up in Omaha in the mid 1970s and 80s you couldn’t help but be involved in the arts. They were an important part of the fabric of the school system, part of the curriculum and of abundance in the community.
Art, sewing and learning was everywhere and Calandra was lucky enough to be around family and a community that encouraged participation and continued involvement in the arts.
Through these sources Calandra learned everything from calligraphy and string art to wire sculpting.
Like most sewers Calandra is primarily self-taught, except that she prides herself in studying and delving deeper into the art.
But, it's Calandra’s love of vintage fashion that's shaped most of her style sensibilities and her continuing studying of pattern making and couture construction.
A self-described, Jackie of all trades, Calandra says there was always a garden. Everyone had some responsibility for planting, maintaining and harvesting. Food was an important part of family-life. When the family gathered to love on each other it was around good food. When it was time to be part of the community-it was around good food. And the best food always came from family ad community gardens.
From her love of plants and sewing, Calandra developed a pass for textile. It seems strange, but the two are interconnected. As a sewer she longed for unique textiles--this led to the desire of designing her own through paints, printing and dyeing--and there's no better way of dyeing natural fabrics than with natural dyes and paints-many of which she acquires from plants grown in her allotment garden or 1.3 acre urban farm.
If you're copied; you're original and worthy of imitation. It's the highest form of flattery."
/ Calandra Cooper /
Mentions & upcoming events
Calandra was featured in the Omaha World-Herald’s Inspired Living magazine, Metropolitan Community College’s Metro & More television program, KMTV’s Morning Blend, WOWT 6 and was an invited guest speaker at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Lunch and Learn series and is a community speaker.
In June 2018 and July 2018, Calandra is teaching textile arts (fashion draping & natural dyeing) at The Union for Contemporary Arts.