Iowa Arts Showcase

Through short interviews, Jacqueline Halbloom highlights the efforts and activities of non-profit arts and culture organizations throughout Iowa.  She focuses on performing arts organizations, festivals, visual arts organizations, and other cultural centers.  Iowa Arts Showcase shines a light on the contributions of arts organizations to Iowa communities.

Ways to Connect

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection was organized by  the Richard H. Driehaus Museum  and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.
Photograph by John Faier. © 2013 The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Davenport’s Figge Art Museum recently opened a new exhibit: Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Museum.

The show is a “lavish overview of Tiffany’s mastery of color and form in a wide range of materials and decorative styles.”

The Figge’s exhibit showcases 62 exemplary works of Tiffany’s, including small blown glass vases to stained-glass windows and a “spectacular selection of lamps.” The works are drawn from the collection of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago. The exhibit is on view now until May 19, 2019.

Annabel Wimer

The Des Moines Symphony’s upcoming concert is a journey to the “New World”: America.

The program highlights an immigrant’s journey to America, featuring Gershwin’s Concerto in F, with Aaron Diehl at the keyboard, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” and Peter Boyer’s Suite from Ellis Island: The Dream of America.

The Ellis Island Honors Society recently announced that Peter Boyer will be among the recipients of the 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. This award is “highly prestigious” and is officially recognized by the United States Congress.

The forces of writing and music come together as Chamber Music Quad Cities pairs up with novelist Nathan Hill.

Nathan Hill is an Iowa native whose writing skills came to national attention with The Nix, his “critically acclaimed novel spanning three generations of American life.” The novel is being translated into thirty languages and was named #1 book of the year by Audible and Entertainment Weekly.

Melisa Walker

The Des Moines Art Center is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Fingerman Lecture with a series of lectures by leading museum directors around the nation.

Meche Kroop for Voce di Meche

Waterloo native MaKayla McDonald made Iowa proud when she sang the title role in the New York premiere of Thea Musgrave’s The Story of Harriet Tubman, put on by Utopia Opera in New York.

Des Moines Metro Opera

World-renowned soprano Sara Gartland’s career is soaring!

Ms. Gartland has performed leading roles with the Dallas, San Francisco, Austin Lyric, San Diego, and Des Moines Metro Operas to name a few. Last summer, Ms. Gartland sang the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka with the Des Moines Metro Opera. This summer, she returns to Des Moines to play the role of Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck.

Celeste Bembry

It’s time to celebrate people like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, Ella Fitzgerald, Oliver Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Jesse Owens – Black History Month is here!

Join IPR in celebrating this annual observance by tuning in on Friday, February 1st at noon and Saturday, February 16th at 8 pm for a special broadcast featuring the UNI Trombone Studio’s performances in IPR’s Studios, under the direction of UNI’s Dr. Anthony Williams.

The Film Lounge

“The Film Lounge” is a series that showcases short, independent films by Iowa artists. The series is a collaboration between The Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa, and IPTV.

The series is in its third season this year. The season features topics such as cowboys, astronauts, ballet companies, and music videos, and includes anything from documentary to experimental and narrative to animation.

The Texas Tenors return to America’s Got Talent and their “spin-off” show, “The Champions” this Monday, January 28 at 8/7C on NBC.

The trio rose to stardom in 2009 when they competed on the 4th America’s Got Talent season and made it to the finale. They are considered the most successful music group and the third highest selling artist in the history of America's Got Talent. The three-time Emmy Award Winners, JC Fisher, Marcus Collins, and John Hagen, “take pride in remaining the same self-managed and self-produced ‘three friends with a dream’.”

Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami © Xaviera Simmons

Grinnell College’s Faulconer Galleries are bursting with two powerful exhibitions.

Opening this Friday, January 25, is “Reckoning with The Incident: John Wilson’s Studies for a Lynching Mural.” What started in 1952 with a single mural painted on an exterior wall of a building featuring twice-life size figures of a racial-terror lynching at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan is now a complete set of John Wilson’s works. The mural was so large that encountering it must have been very intense and visceral.

Jacqueline Halbloom

Whether January and February are the months you celebrate Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, National Freedom Day, or Presidents Day, here at Iowa Public Radio, we’re celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

Organizations and universities all across the state of Iowa are hosting events to celebrate the rich history of the nation’s African American community. Exhibitions, concerts, lectures, theater performances, festivals, and celebrations fill the months of January and February.


With a new year comes new adventures and new art and musical events across the state of Iowa! From symphony and chamber concerts, to jazz shows and theater performances, to operas and art exhibitions, Iowa has it all to kick off 2019. Tune in to IPR Classical on Friday, January 4th at noon or listen below to hear more details about these upcoming events.

Close to Home

Dec 10, 2018
John Bloom, Summer Evening (detail), 1936, oil on Masonite, Private collection

John Bloom’s art is a celebration of Midwestern life. It also brought love into his life and an opportunity to study with Grant Wood.

The Figge Art Museum’s exhibit “John Bloom: Close to Home” showcases more than 60 works of art by the beloved local artist. Bloom grew up in small town DeWitt, Iowa. He briefly attended St. Ambrose College before enrolling in the Art Institute of Chicago, which eventually lead him to the Stone City Art Colony. There, he met his future wife Isabel and studied with Grant Wood. He also completed multiple mural commissions with Wood.

Nuns and Nudes

Dec 4, 2018
Just to Live is Holy exhibition, Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa

It’s not every day that you see those two words together, but the Dubuque Museum of Art pulls it off with class.

Their exhibit “Just to Live is Holy” showcases works by internationally-known artists such as Sister Corita Kent, in addition to local artists such as Louise Kames, professor or art and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at Clarke University. Their art, along with the other artists, ranges from traditional to abstract, and in every medium imaginable.


IPR blasts off this holiday season with world-class performances from across the globe and next door! Celebrate everything from Hanukah to Christmas to New Year’s Day with Iowa Public Radio.

To see a full schedule of broadcasts, please visit

Duane Tinkey

Glory Denied is based on the true story of America’s longest-held prisoner of war, Vietnam veteran Colonel Jim Thompson. Colonel Thompson was captured when his plane was shot down in 1964 and endured extreme torture until his release in 1973. Colonel Thompson said the only thing that kept him going throughout those nine years were thoughts of his wife and children. However, his homecoming was not as he hoped.

Glory Denied “encapsulates something of the moral essence of the Vietnam War and the imperishable bitterness of its legacy.”


Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George won a Pulitzer Prize and 10 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Brainchild James Lapine wrote the book.

Seurat’s masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte lays the groundwork for Sondheim’s musical, Sunday in the Park with George. Seurat’s new painting style and the simplicity of a Parisian Sunday afternoon magnified its popularity.

Britney Walters

Offenbach thumbs his nose at Greek Mythology, creating one of operetta’s most “satirical and hilarious operas of all time.”

Nothing is sacred in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, including the Greek Gods.

Offenbach’s insanity ends with his famous Infernal Gallop, also known as the Can-Can.

The ISU Theatre and Opera Studio accepts Offenbach’s musical challenge, running their cast and crew through the “pastoral tranquility of earth, the dizzying frivolity of heaven, and the bacchanalian hedonism of Hades.”

Ben Easter

An “instant hit” on Broadway in 1944, Bernstein’s On the Town soon became a movie starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

Known as his “valentine” to New York, Lenny’s On the Town is a Broadway musical about three sailors during World War II and their “amorous adventures on a 24-hour-shore leave in New York City.”

© 2015 Benjamin Ealovega

The world-renowned pianist, Jonathan Biss, hopes to complete recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas by 2020. He also created a Beethoven/5 project, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and five living composers each writing a concerto inspired by one of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

His online course, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, enrolled more than 150,000 students from 60 countries. What an outreach!

Putnam Museum and Science Center

Novelist Ayn Rand said it best: “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”

The Putnam Museum takes this statement to heart with their new exhibit, Literary Heroines: Their Times, Their Fashions.

Showcased will be vignettes of characters from novels such as Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women, Harry Potter, The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Age of Innocence. These heroic women truly come to life in the new exhibition.

Carol Bassett

Born in 1907 in Winterset, John Wayne’s family moved a lot. Wayne was a smart kid and a budding athlete. He attended the University of Southern California on a sports scholarship until an injury ended his football career. Switching gears, he started working as a prop man and an extra in Hollywood. The rest is history.

Brooklyn Museum

What better forces to pair up than music and art? The Figge Art Museum in Davenport and The Quad City Symphony Orchestra have partnered to create a celebration of “French Moderns.”

Fine art, wooded hills, and winding rivers – over 50 artists will be putting out their welcome mats for this year’s 21st annual Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour.

Vibrant falling leaves are the backdrop to discovering unique painting, jewelry, pottery, ceramics, photography, weaving, wood, blown glass, sculptures, and collages. Artists open their studios to the public exclusively for this event, where visitors can watch the artists create, chat, and purchase works of art.

Provided by Barb Hagstrand

A one-of-a-kind landmark mostly survived Marshalltown’s July 19th tornado on 129 E Main Street. Its survival is even more miraculous since it is all displayed totally outside. Owners Barb Hagstrand and Jeff Mitchell are more than thankful.

Just over five years ago, the location of the garden was a burnt-out building that was destroyed in a fire. Four years later, Barb and Jeff cut the ribbon on the new garden and many in town came to celebrate.

The New York Times calls Inon Barnatan "one of the most admired pianists of his generation." Barnatan will make his Des Moines debut this weekend with the Des Moines Symphony performing Beethoven's Emperor Concerto.  Having played with symphonies including the Chicago and San Francisco Symphonies along with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics and receiving awards such as Lincoln Center's 2015 Martin E. Segal Award, Barnatan is considered a "young artist of exceptional accomplishment."

University Relations

Headed for a career in law, Igor Stravinksy didn’t immediately realize his talent as a composer. Yet, once he did, he soared, creating a new style of music – modernism. This new style was “pared down to essentials, in melody, rhythm and instrumentation.” Stravinsky showcased his invention in 1918 with a composition entitled L'Histoire du soldat, translated into “The Soldier’s Tale.” It is scored for seven instruments (clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, violin, double bass and percussion) and four speaking parts (the Devil, the Soldier, a Princess, and an unseen reader).

Orchestra Iowa

Cicadas and classical music – it doesn’t get much better than that. On Saturday, September 15, Orchestra Iowa presents Brucemorchestra XI “The American Rhapsody.”

It's New Music!

Sep 12, 2018
Iowa Composers Forum

The Iowa Composers Forum, dubbed ICF for short, is hosting their Fall Festival with a trio of concerts showcasing new music. A dozen composers are on the docket: Shawn Crouch, Elaine Erickson, Ben Hippen, Denise Knaack, Robert Martin, Jerry Owen, James Romig, Ray Songayllo, David Vayo, Randy Wells, Jonathan Wilson, and Alec Wood.

Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Composer Philip Glass informed concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein that he wanted to compose a piece specifically for her. She loved the idea and devised a plan to involve orchestras in the U.S. and Canada. Simone set forth to organize a consortium of orchestras, and the wcfsymphony was one of them.

Glass composed Piano Concerto No. 3 for this consortium and Simone. To say it has been a success is an understatement. Simone’s recording of the concerto reached number one on the Billboard classical charts.