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Meskwaki artist describes growing up in Cedar Falls

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

When Duane Slick was a child growing up in Cedar Falls, his parents told him not to talk about his Meskwaki and Ho-Chunk heritage at school. He followed their code of silence, but found a way to express himself through art.

With a career spanning 30 years, painter Duane Slick recently received his first solo museum show at age 60, titled "The Coyote Makes the Sunset Better" at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Growing up in Cedar Falls, Slick spent his weekends at functions celebrating his Meskwaki and Ho-Chunk heritage. While his parents instructed him not to speak about this background with his largely white peers, Slick found a loophole in expressing himself through art.

A University of Northern Iowa alum, Slick has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design since 1995 and his work has been featured at museums across the country. He chats with Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe about his life, his artwork which was recently featured in The New York Times, and how the coyote helps him speak his mind.

Later in this episode, we hear an excerpt from the IPR Podcast, From the Archives. This edition features part of a speech delivered by Muhammad Ali in Iowa City in 1967.


  • Duane Slick, artist and painter from Cedar Falls
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio