Art abounds in numerous mediums in Iowa City’s Curious Communities, from murals on the outside of downtown buildings to handcrafted pieces inside retail stores. Stop inside Iowa Artisans Gallery located in the historic Paul-Helen Building, which supports American-made work encompassing wall art, glass, clay, jewelry, wood and fiber mediums. Browse the current exhibit featuring local or Midwest artists and find a unique art piece to give as a gift, for the home or just for fun. Then breeze through the pedestrian mall to see the Benchmark project, where each public bench reflects the work of a local artist.
A short 10-minute walk later, you can step into the University of Iowa Museum of Art’s UIMA@IMU Visual Classroom. It features an extensive installation from the Museum’s permanent collection on the third floor of the Iowa Memorial Union. The art varies from African to Mesoamerican and Chinese. The Black Box Theatre, also located on the third floor, houses special exhibitions.
Next, venture on to the Iowa River Landing for lunch at Backpocket Brewing. Walk off your lunch by following the Sculpture Walk. This showcases eleven original sculptures, each by an Iowa artist and based on a work in the Iowa Writer’s Library, located in the Coralville Marriott (pamphlets are available at the Welcome Center and online). Then stop in for coffee at High Ground Café to see local art on the walls or simply take a seat and savor the day.
For those who prefer hands-on art activities, North Liberty’s Big Picture Gallery & Studio offers classes and workshops in painting, drawing, ceramics for both kids and adults.