Arts & Culture

Iowa City has a new nighttime mayor: Joe Reilly

Joe Reilly (handout photo)
Joe Reilly (handout photo)

IOWA CITY — A 15-year Iowa City resident and University of Iowa graduate is the Iowa City Downtown District’s new “nighttime mayor.”

As nighttime mayor, Joe Reilly will be tasked with promoting the Downtown District’s night economy, leading the Arts & Cultural council and working with downtown hotels and conferences, Downtown District Executive Director Nancy Bird said in a news release about Reilly’s hiring.

“Joe has a natural intuition of what this role is all about and this familiarity with downtown and it’s opportunities will allow him to hit the ground running,” Bird said. “We wouldn’t be more pleased to add his talents to the pool.”

Reilly moved to Iowa City from Council Bluffs 15 years ago to study Theatre Arts at UI. Bird said Reilly was hired for his knowledge of the arts, familiarity with the downtown community, media experience, customer service skills and his views on diversity and inclusion. Reilly has spent much of his free time at the Englert Theatre, FilmScene and other places downtown, Bird said.

“At the heart of every culturally vibrant district are the people that make it as point to stay in the area and engage regularly,” Reilly said in a news release. “Whether that means being a patron, owner, creator or promoter. When the opportunity came up for me to have a hand in shaping, drawing and welcoming that vibrancy — in a city that has become very dear to me over the years — I pounced on the chance.”

Reilly replaces Angela Winnike, who was hired as the city’s first nighttime mayor in 2017. Winnike resigned from the position in December 2018 in order to move to Los Angeles.

Under Reilly, the nighttime mayor position will shift from part-time to full-time, thanks to a partnership with Think Iowa City.

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