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Home / A DAY AWAY: Iowa Arts Festival to celebrate local and national artists
Iowa City Summer of the Arts is filling the streets with music, artists and more for the Iowa Arts Festival from June 3 to 5.
The event started in 1983 and will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. During the festival, residents and visitors can watch performances, participate in activities, and shop for artwork that will fill nine blocks in downtown Iowa City.
While last year’s festival was postponed until August because of high COVID-19 levels at the beginning of the summer, the event is making a return to its typical June slot.
Summer of the Arts Executive Director Lisa Barnes said around 20,000 to 25,000 people attend the weekend event.
What: Summer of the Arts presents 2022 Iowa Arts Festival
Where: Downtown Iowa City
When: June 3 to 5; 5 p.m. to last act 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to last act 9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to last act 3 p.m. Sunday
Featuring: Art Fair, music performances, educational activities, food vendors
Admission: Free; bring seating; outside food and drink allowed
The festival is bringing in 90 artists with a variety of media such as ceramics, glass and photography. Out of the 150 who applied to participate, Barnes said they are judged by a jury of local artists to determine who gets invited.
This year, artists will be traveling to Iowa City from more than 10 states to display and sell their artwork. Artists include returners, newcomers, and even high school and college students.
“I’m always excited for the art fair,” Barnes said. “I'm a huge fan of art, and like everybody who sees my office knows now, because I spend way too much money at the Art Fair as well as at our holiday-themed market.”
Music is another popular component of the free festival.
Barnes said most of the music performances will take place on the Main Stage, adjacent to the University of Iowa Pentacrest. While the festival offers a variety of music styles such as folk and Americana, Barnes said they’re ”changing things up” this year and including more bluegrass performers, like Ivy Ford Band and Kittle & Co.
Saturday’s headliner, Asleep at the Wheel, was originally slated to perform in 2020, but the festival was canceled because of COVID-19.
“We were very happy to be able to reschedule them for this year,” Barnes said, “and they do Americana country (and) kind of a wide variety of styles, but that's probably the most well-known name that we have at this year's festival.”
Attendees may bring their own food or non-alcoholic beverages, or they can try one of the event’s vendors, offering Indian, Mediterranean and Mexican style food.
Other activities include the Old Capitol Roller Derby and Paint the Town, where kids can paint city landscapes on cardboard boxes.
The event will follow current Center for Disease Control and public health recommendations and continue to buy extra cleaning supplies and sanitizer for the festival.
Visitors can park in any of the five downtown Iowa City parking ramps, and Barnes said there will be an accessibility shuttle that runs from the majority of the downtown ramps to the festival. Graduate Hotel, Hyatt Place, and Iowa House Hotel are offering discounted rates for attendees staying overnight.