ia: The best of Iowa arts and culture
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Produced in partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
ChopTalk: The Circle of Sustainability

For Iowa pig farmers, sustainability isn't just a trend, it's a way of life, and has been for generations. From pigs to pork chops, Laurie John talks with farmers about the circle of sustainable pig production.

... Listen and Follow

The fireworks show over Clear Lake draws nearly 100,000 people every year. Photo: Travel Iowa


Small-town Iowa celebrations are back! As we approach Fourth of July weekend, here are a few spots around the state to find some fun.

Independence: What a better place to spend Independence Day than the town that bears the same name? Events kick off Friday, July 2, with concerts, yard games and more. The celebration carries over into Saturday, July 3, with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a parade, and in the evening fireworks over the Wapsipinicon River.

Clear Lake: Head to the north part of the state on July 2, 3 and 4 and check out the all-day Lakeside Vendor Market, with locally made crafts, plus food trucks, bingo, amusement rides and more. Live music begins at 7 p.m. on July 2 and 3. The lauded fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. on July 4 over the lake.

Storm Lake: In northwest Iowa, nearly 500 fireworks will light up the sky as a part of the Storm Lake Star Spangled Spectacular event. Activities take place July 3 and 4, including an artist showcase, live music, car show and vendors, among others. Fireworks shoot off at dusk on July 4.
A peacock mural in Waterloo, created by the Youth Art Team as a part of a campaign to create three murals every year around town. Photo: Waterloo Center for the Arts


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Some people think outside the box. In Waterloo, artists and city leaders are thinking outside the whole building.

The local public art commission recently formed a team to spiff up several areas with new murals, especially around entry points into downtown. Their goal is to create at least three new murals every year, working in partnership with the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities.

“When we closed up for COVID, we pushed for a new way of getting art out into the community,” says Chawne Paige, curator at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. “We want to greet people with cultural and visual language about how sophisticated Waterloo really is.”

For the past 15 years or so, a few popular murals have popped up here and there. Richard Thomas, a New Orleans artist who landed in Waterloo after Hurricane Katrina, painted a giant mural in 2006 that shows some of the folks who have settled in Waterloo over the years, from Native Americans to recent immigrants.

That same year, a Bosnian artist named Paco Rosic used 2,000 cans of spray paint to re-create Michelangelo’s famous frescoes from the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of a downtown restaurant. It recently reopened as an art gallery. “Our town has grown up, big time,” says the artist, who moved to Waterloo in 1997.

The city’s new mural team hopes to accelerate that growth with more art that enlivens the downtown core and signals the city’s creative spirit. “Waterloo has established a pattern of using public art to revitalize the community,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz says. “With every pocket of development, they’re looking for opportunities to showcase the city’s character and energy.”
Why Everyone Can Benefit from Financial Planning Services

Do you fully understand the biggest risks you face, for example, losing your ability to work or leaving your family without proper planning? Understand how to protect today by addressing potential threats to your financial future.
... Read more

Get a tour of the Peter Lampe House, now the Wide River Winery, in this video.


Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Raise a glass to the Wide River Winery: Its tasting room in Davenport won an award this month for historic preservation.

The little green building perches on a hill in the Village of East Davenport, a nationally designated historic district that started as a working-class neighborhood on the Mississippi River. The house was built in the 1850s and became a boarding house in the late 1800s, after the railroad came through. It passed from one owner to the next over the next century until the Clinton-based winery owners, Dorothy O’Brien and Charlie Pelton, turned the house into a good spot to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world go by.

The transformation made use of State Historic Preservation Tax Credits, which enabled the owners to make various improvements. “New stairs, new walls, new electricity, new plumbing – we did it all,” O’Brien says. They added a new deck and patio, too, all while staying true to the house's historic character.

She delights in the fact that it “used to provide food, drinks and a place to rest for the railroad travelers,” she says. “And so here we are a few years later, providing food, drinks and a little vacation getaway, even if it’s only for an afternoon.”

The tasting room, formerly known as the Peter Lampe House, was one of 11 properties across the state that won awards during the recent Preserve Iowa Summit, presented annually by the State Historic Preservation Office. Next year’s conference is set for June 16-18, 2022, in Mason City.
Taking the house down to its original footprint constrained the living space. So Tim Schroeder, president of Neumann Monson architectural firm, proposed two glass dormers to expand the once-cramped attic bedrooms into a primary master suite. Photo: Cameron Campbell, Integrated Studios


Writer: Kelsey Batschelet

Covered in walnut trees and creeping vines, with a ceiling that was near to caving in, the Iowa City farmhouse on Foster Road appeared to be a lost cause. But Bobby Jett took one look at the house, tucked into a walnut grove, and had a vision.

“My dream was to return the house to its original footprint—exactly as it was when it was built,” says Jett, a photographer, gardener and baker who manages rental properties in Iowa City.

Constructed the same year Iowa City was incorporated—1853—the so-called Stonewall Acre farm was built with locally made red brick on 120 acres. Taking its name from the stone wall that enclosed the acreage, it came to be the longtime homestead of Norwood Louis and his wife, Betty.

By the time Jett discovered the house, it hadn’t been occupied for years. “The exterior is covered in stucco, which is the only reason it survived for me,” Jett says. He shared his vision for the farmhouse with Tim Schroeder, president of Neumann Monson architectural firm, who agreed to come out and take a look.

“It was this strange home, wrapped in overgrowth, with several additions on it,” Schroeder says of his first impression. “We decided to look past all of that and agreed to help restore it.”

Then for nearly two years, Jett and Schroeder, along with a team from Neumann Monson and contractor Smith and Wood Construction, applied their vision of simple, functional modernity while respecting the original design of the farmhouse.

“As a firm, we believe that what grounds us in Iowa is our pragmatic values—everything is boiled down to its essential parts,” Schroeder says. “Today’s architecture doesn’t look like yesterday’s architecture to us, so we sought simple solutions to bring them together in this home.”

Read more about this transformation in this ia magazine story.
Helping Solve Food Insecurity
At Bankers Trust, we believe combating hunger and food insecurity requires a combination of efforts across the food system. That’s why the bank proudly supports several organizations that are addressing food insecurity in Central Iowa and beyond, including the World Food Prize, Meals from the Heartland, the Food Bank of Iowa and Eat Greater Des Moines.
... Read more

This mural, "Marshalltown Strong," was completed in 2020 by Dye Davenport and his son, Darian. It represents the damaging 2018 tornado and the pandemic. Photo: Marshall County Arts and Culture Alliance


In an effort to bring more art to Marshalltown, the Marshall County Arts and Culture Alliance has been bringing in Iowa artists to paint murals around town. The project, "Marshalltown Murals," has led to dozens of creations on downtown buildings, all with messages of unity and positivity.

New artists for a two-wall mural on the Tremont Building in downtown and the walkway into McGregors Furniture and Mattress will be announced soon. Past artists include Jenna Brownlee, a Des Moines muralist, Rebecca Wagner, Lauren Gifford and more.

Find more information here.
Volunteers at Grow: Johnson County tend to fresh produce that will eventually be donated to those in need.
Photo: Grow: Johnson County.


Fresh produce can go a long way for those in need of food. These organizations, which you can help support via donations or volunteerism, are putting their gardening passions to good use.

Grow: Johnson County: This Iowa City acreage donates more than 25,000 pounds of food to partner agencies around the county. The farm is managed by a mix of volunteers and staffers, and sustainability is a big focus, including cover cropping, beneficial insect habitat, and organic pest and weed management.

Story County Plant a Row for the Hungry: This Ames branch of a national program encourages local gardeners to plant a little extra and donate it to local food pantries or other food distribution organizations. Even Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens maintains a small garden to donate to those in need.

Up From the Earth: Founded eight years ago by retired dentist Randy Burnight, this Sioux City organization connects home gardeners—many of whom have been urged to plant a little extra to share—with collection points that quickly transport food to pantries. The organization has a system of 25 collection sites, each run by a produce coordinator.

Iowa Stops Hunger is a Business Publications Corporation initiative to bring awareness and action to food insecurity in Iowa.

Business Publications Corporation Inc.

Submit news:
Advertising info:
Membership info:

Copyright © BPC 2020, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or use without permission of editorial or graphic content in any manner is strictly prohibited.

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign