As a child, I was blessed to have access to live professional theater in my small hometown in Iowa. I was also blessed to have a mother with Community Theater in her background and who recognized the importance of exposing her daughters to theater and art opportunities.
When I was in the fourth grade, the theater held open auditions for their premiere production of A Christmas Carol. Although I am a shy person by nature, I tried out and was actually cast as Tiny Tim. My sisters and I went on to be a part of this annual
production for nine years, and it was an extremely formative experience for me. It led to my decision to add speech and drama as my second major, and ultimately led me to a career in the arts!
I believe my life would look completely different and be a lot less rich if I had not had that experience as a child. Theater allowed me to open up, come out of my shell, and helped me build confidence.
As Grants Manager at the Nebraska Arts Council, Nicole Van Zante oversees grant operations, including the intake and payment of grant contracts and updates for the online grant system. Nicole served as the Administrative Director of Nebraskans for the Arts fromJune of 2004 until taking the Arts Industry Manager position with the NAC in the spring of 2007.
Prior to moving to Omaha, she graduated from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she majored in English and speech/drama and minored in creative writing. While at Mount Mercy, Nicole was the editor of the student creative writing magazine, Paha Review; wrote, directed and acted in the theater department; and was an intern for a variety of cultural organizations, including Brucemore Historic Site and the Nebraska Arts Council.