art fest may be over but we're here 52 weeks a year

dear Iowa City artists and art supporters,

The Iowa Arts Festival has come and gone along with a pleasant weekend of art offerings and the final exhibition reception at Chait Galleries Downtown, an important Iowa City visual art venue.

During the weekend, you may have enjoyed the rich local arts culture as represented by Summer of the Arts. We (Public Space One and the Iowa City Press Co-op) were happy to join the Iowa Artisan's Gallery for several hours on Sunday as part of their Art Goes Live demo booths. We demoed gelatin printing and hosted an experimental noise-making station! This weekend we also opened a great sculpture exhibition from Lincoln, NE-based artist Josh Johnson (who is currently a Nebraska Arts Council fellow) and makes work with the materials of construction (polystyrene, wood). The images you're seeing now are from his exhibition Distance Learning which will be on display through June 28th.

BUT I am offering these words today not to remind everyone of what we did last weekend but to the plain fact: that this is the sort of thing we do EVERY WEEKEND! We are a community art venue that seeks more than one celebratory weekend or even a summer of art. We are here 52 weeks a year and that is how many weeks per year we program events, exhibitions, residencies, workshops, readings, and performances. 52 weeks a year. We are a rich, raw, and homegrown, one-of-a-kind Iowa City structure for community art, run by artists (not business people, marketers, or entrepreneurs). We call what we do small 'a' art because our art is for anyone, anywhere, and not reserved for one weekend a year. We are the community's art center, not because it says this on our sign, but because we are where the artists in this community congregate to present, plan, and converge.When the tents fold up and move on down the road, we are here: hanging the next show, printing the next poster, planning something we've never seen before.

Because we operate off no formula other than to be present and push the creative capacity of an artist-run community arts center to new places. Our challenge, of course, is to keep alive this structure that provides a forum for anyone to experiment, engage, or otherwise expose themselves to art and community. To this end I'm asking for your support: we are a bit raw, a bit unconventional, but always here and available. My goal is to keep us here for a long time, but we need your support. Please become a sustaining member today ($5-$10 a month works wonders!) and keep us your community arts center and home for small a art for years to come.


John E.