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Check out all the ways to participate in our 2016 festivals!

We are accepting applications for: 

Iowa Arts Festival Artists

We welcome both national and local artists to participate, display and sell artwork at the art fair from June 3-5. Show off your very best for our arts fair jury to give your work the distinction it deserves!
Applications can be submitted via Zapplication by clicking here.  The application fee is $30 and the deadline to apply is March 1, 2016
If you need assistance with setting up your profile in Zapplication, please contact their Help Line at 888-562-7232, rather than our office, as they are the experts on their system. As always, please feel free to contact with questions about the Iowa Arts Festival. 

Emerging Artists

Calling all Emerging STUDENT Artists!  The Emerging Artist Pavilion at the Iowa Arts Festival is open to High School and Iowa College and University students to display and sell their work.  
Click here for additional information and here to download the Emerging Artist Application. Please contact with questions about the Emerging Artist Pavilion.  

Food Vendors 

Summer of the Arts is proud of the quality and variety of food vendors who participate in our festivals. Local Vendors are given first priority for acceptance and we work hard to make sure that each food vendor offers something unique to our attendees.
Click here for our 2016 Food Vendor application. For questions about participating as a food vendor please email or call our office at 319-337-7944. 

FUN Stop Presenters

FUN Stop Booths are designed for businesses, organizations, and groups who would like to get positive community visibility at our festivals. Join us with entertaining activities geared towards kids and the young at heart.  FUN Stop booths will be stationed at various locations throughout the festivals so families can stop by for a little fun as they wander through the events.
The deadline to apply for a FUN Stop Booth for the Iowa Arts Festival is April 4, 2016. There is also opportunity to have a booth at the Iowa City Jazz Festival, application deadline May 2, 2016.
For a FUN Stop Booth application, click here.
If you have more specific questions about our FUN Stops, please email or call our office at 319-337-7944. 

Global Village Presenters

Global Village takes place on Sunday, June 5, 2016, from 10 AM - 3 PM. We are seeking community members, Boy/Girl Scout troops, church groups, student organizations, and any other groups that wish to teach the community a little more about a country other than the United States.  
The deadline to apply is April 4, 2016, and a limited number of spaces are available.  For a Global Village Booth application, click here.
If you have more specific questions about Global Village participation, please email or call the Summer of the Arts office at 319-337-7944.


Iowa Soul Festival Gospel Brunch!


 In conjunction with the Iowa Soul Festival, Summer of the Arts and KCCK Jazz 88.3 Radio are again partnering to bring you a Gospel Brunch at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel at 12:30 PM on Sunday, August 30th.

This year’s brunch will not only include an amazing buffet including items like Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Wood Smoked Pork Loin with an Apple Jack Glaze and Warm Apple Sauce, Seafood and Andouille Gumbo and Black Eyed Peas Braised with Ham Hock, but also some of the best talent in the region.  Featured Chicago singer Maggie Brown, daughter of the legendary Oscar Brown Jr., will bring her heart-felt soulful style to the stage and be joined by local favorites like the Dick Watson Trio, Bruce Teague, Mama Teague and Gloria Hardiman.

Maggie Brown is an accomplished singer, songwriter, actress, producer and educator. She is said to be “one of the most fiercely committed artists in Chicago” (H. Reich, Chicago Tribune). Maggie Brown embodies powerful and passionate performance whether she is presenting with her own trio or with Orbert Davis’ full 60 piece Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra. She has recorded with Abbey Lincoln, Jonathan Butler, Ramsey Lewis, Stevie Wonder and her legendary father Oscar Brown, Jr. In 1995 Maggie launched her own independent label MagPie Records releasing her first solo project FROM MY WINDOW. The CD was nominated for a Chicago Music Award for Best Jazz CD.
Dick Watson is a local legend, a fine piano man who opted to stay in the home of his alma mater, Iowa City. His career in insurance helped him raise his family. As a jazz pianist with a host of regional gigs to his credit, echoes of the great tradition abound. Dick plays regularly in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and the Quad Cities. His melodic eloquence and clarity of line is reminiscent of Teddy Wilson. In up-tempo tunes, one recalls the harmonic boldness and boppish virtuosity of Bud Powell.
Bruce Teague began singing at Mt. Carmel Holiness Church, where his grandfather was the founding Pastor and his mother a choir musician and exceptional lead singer.  Bruce's mother, “Mama Teague”, encouraged all of her children to lead songs at an early age, in the Angelic Choir.  Bruce developed a love for many genres of music and has performed gospel, blues, jazz and even country music at various music venues throughout the nation including his favorite singing partners, his mother, Mama Teague and his aunt, Gloria Hardiman.
Tickets for the Gospel Brunch are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance.  A limited number of seats are available and may be reserved by calling the Summer of the Arts office at (319) 337-7944 or through our website at on the Iowa Soul Festival home page.  Proceeds benefit Summer of the Arts and KCCK Jazz 88.3 Radio.



For Immediate Release: July 20, 2015 – IOWA CITY, IA

It’s All kinds of SOUL for all kinds of people at the 2015 Iowa Soul Festival, presented by Diversity Focus, August 28th and 29th on the University of Iowa Pentacrest and Downtown Iowa City. The festival kicks off on Friday, August 28th with two powerhouse performances brought to you by Hancher, and continues outside all day Saturday, August 29th. The weekend wraps up with a ticketed Gospel Brunch on Sunday, August 30th at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel.  

The 2015 Iowa Soul Festival kicks off on Friday night with the Carnival Parade featuring the steel drum band Pandelirium on the Main Stage while the parade moves through the streets of Downtown Iowa City. Following the Carnival Parade, Hancher kicks off their 2015-2016 season with two unstoppable performances. Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen will revisit the musical genius of Allen Toussaint, bringing the reimagined sound to Iowa City while testifying to the strength, versatility, and adaptability of Toussaint's compositions, accompanying Cleary's creativity and taste in re-imagination. Having notched more than two decades as a keyboardist and bandleader in New Orleans, Cleary will bring the flavor of New Orleans to the heart of Iowa City.


At 8:30 PM Friday night, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings will take over the Main Stage with the rhythm, feeling, and explosive power so characteristic of this soul-sensation group. "Everything I love can be summed up by the moment I get on stage, and start giving the people what they want. That's real love. That's real music," remarks Jones regarding her passion for performing and for her incredibly supportive fan-base.


Headlining on Saturday night is R&B singer, Raheen Devaughn, with the sonorous “tour-de-force” known as Shade of Blue opening for him at 7 PM. Three-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter DeVaughn believes that love makes the world go round.  He embraces this universal theme in the heart and soul of his original songs and collaborations, having worked with renowned musical artists Ne-Yo, Mario Winans, Carvin & Ivan, and more.  “People are fascinated with love and are still trying to discover what it means.  I like to think that I make music that is passionate, conscious, caring and endearing…so I definitely try to embody all of that in the music I put out.”


Founded by guitarist and vocalist Dave Rosazza as a blues trio in 1989, Shade of Blue has evolved into one of the Iowa City area’s most beloved musical institutions as a featured act and as an opener for internationally acclaimed artists such as the Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, and George Clinton.


The Dream Divas of Iowa City, Ordained 2Praise Dance Ministry, and Set the Atmosphere will set the tone for another full day of SOUL on Saturday, August 29th beginning at 11 AM.  Throughout the day, enjoy performances by the Amen Choir, as well as Bruce Teague & the Serious Blues Band. Saxophonist, Educator, Composer, Damani Phillips not only teaches at the University of Iowa but will be bringing his passion for music to the Main Stage as part of The Damani Phillips Trio. At 5 PM, Kevin Burt & Big Medicine will dispel the myth that true soul has no roots in Iowa with what is always an electrifying performance!

In between the performances, grab refreshments at the ever-popular Culinary Row featuring special soul food dishes or stop in the Beverage Garden for a cold adult beverage. Enjoy the FUN Zone, perfect for families while you explore all that the festival has to offer on Friday and Saturday. The Iowa Soul Fest MarketPlace will feature the original artwork of a number of artists with an emphasis on work inspired by African American culture.  

On Sunday, you can enjoy a Gospel Brunch at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel.  The brunch will feature amazing food and entertainment by Chicago jazz and gospel singer Maggie Brown. Tickets for the 12:30 PM seating are $30 per person in advance, with proceeds benefiting Summer of the Arts and KCCK Jazz 88.3 Radio.

Bring the family downtown to enjoy a weekend celebrating African American culture through music, dance, food, and art! Make sure to mark your calendars for this exciting event! For more information about this festival, please visit our website at or call our office at (319) 337-7944.

Summer of the Arts is an umbrella organization for local arts and culture events, including the Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, MusicIC, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Iowa Soul Festival presented by Diversity Focus, Friday Night Concert Series presented by Toyota-Scion of Iowa City, and Free Movie Series presented by Collins Community Credit Union & UI Pentacrest Museums.


The mission of Summer of the Arts is to bring people together in the heart of Iowa City to experience, learn and enjoy free Arts and Cultural Events.


See Film Arrows Into Infinity During the Iowa City Jazz Festival!


Q&A with Lloyd, wife Dorothy Darr, follows screening at Iowa City Public Library
IOWA CITY -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 23, 2015:  Charles Lloyd, the Saturday night headliner for the 2015 Iowa City Jazz Festival, is a towering figure in the world of jazz. But he also is something of an enigma, an artist who was the first to cross over into the rock world, but who then pulled back and took a long, soul-searching break from the mainstream before returning to continue his quest.
Learn more about Lloyd's spiritual journey, and the music he has made along the way, at a special free screening of the documentary film, "Arrows Into Infinity", sponsored by Bradley and Riley PC.  The event, 2 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library on Friday, July 3, is free and open to the public. 
After the film, Lloyd and his wife, Dorothy Darr, will participate in a Q&A session, offering attendees the rare opportunity to connect with this legendary performer.  The film runs two hours, with the Q&A starting immediately afterward at 4 p.m. Those wishing to see festival performers rather than the film are invited to join the event at that time to hear the session with Lloyd and Darr.
This 2013 film, co-produced and co-directed by Darr, looks at Lloyd's career from his earliest days as a performer in the 1950s, through his best-selling quartet with Keith Jarrett and others, through his extended sabbatical in Big Sur, and on to his re-emergence at the side of the late pianist Michael Petrucciani and beyond. 
Lloyd made his name as part of groups led by Chico Hamilton and Cannonball Adderly before heading out on his own to lead a quartet that included Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee and Jack DeJohnette. That group cut several best-selling, critically acclaimed albums, including one of the first million-sellers in jazz, Forest Flower. 
Soon after, he began to experiment, recording rock-leaning albums that included appearances by members of the Beach Boys, and then took a break from recording and performing. He was lured back in the early 1980s by Petrucciani, and later performed with a host of young pianists, including Bobo Stenson, Brad Mehldau and Jason Moran, 
The Wall Street Journal calls the film, "fluid and poetic, pausing just long enough for interviewees to express Mr. Lloyd's wide-ranging impact through the years," while JazzTimes says the film provides insight into the course of Lloyd's life and the lifelong search that has driven him from one success to the next.
"While such a film might be considered premature, given that Lloyd's life and story are far from over, 'Arrows Into Infinity' is, instead, a rarity that celebrates a life while the artist is still with us---a story, beautifully told and thoroughly captivating, that in no way suggests there is an end in sight."

Help Make It All Happen -- Volunteer!

Contact:   Jenna Isaacson 
          Volunteer and Community Relations Manager 
          Phone: 319-337-7944
Concerts, Free Movies, and Festivals: Help Make it all Happen!
Summer of the Arts Needs Volunteers!
IOWA CITY, IOWA, May 25, 2015 -- Help make it all happen this summer by volunteering with Summer of the Arts! We have an exciting summer of free, family-friendly events and in order for them to be successful we need the help of hundreds of volunteers! What could be better than helping out the community while also experiencing free live music, art, and entertainment? With the help of our volunteer sponsor, Meardon, Sueppel & Downer P.L.C, we are confident that volunteering with Summer of the Arts will be fun and fulfilling! 
This year’s Iowa Arts Festival, presented by Veridian Credit Union, on June 5-7, is only two weeks away and we are still looking for people to fill positions helping artists, assisting with children’s booths, selling merchandise and many other opportunities! With so many options available, it will be easy for everyone to find a position that is just right for them!
All volunteers will receive a FREE Summer of the Arts Volunteer t-shirt and goodie bag including a Blend Card loaded with festival discounts. If interested in donating your time to help bring people together in the heart of Iowa City, to experience, learn about, and enjoy free art and cultural programs, please visit the Summer of the Arts website at Select the Volunteer tab at the top of the page to sign up. You will be able to view and choose from the available volunteer positions and shifts, then simply provide us with your contact information to confirm participation! 
Whether you have one hour or one day to give, we truly appreciate your support of the arts and helping to bring our events to life! If you have any questions regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact Jenna Isaacson at  or 319-337-7944. We hope to see you this summer! 
Summer of the Arts is an umbrella organization for local arts and cultural events which include: Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, MusicIC, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Iowa Soul Festival presented by Diversity Focus, Friday Night Concert Series presented by Toyota-Scion of Iowa City, and Free Movie Series presented by Collins Community Credit Union & UI Pentacrest Museums.
The mission of Summer of the Arts if to bring people together in the heart of Iowa City to experience, learn about and enjoy free Arts and Cultural programs. 


UI Students Create PSA Promoting Volunteerism

Summer of the Arts had fun this semester working with University of Iowa students on creating a PSA promoting volunteering at our festivals.  They focused on our Green Initiative, and with the assistance of PATV, created a commercial promoting opportunities to assist with our Think, Be, Live Green Initiative.

Iowa Arts Festival Main Stage Line-up!

Summer of the Arts Announces Main Stage Line-up for the Iowa Art Festival!

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2015- IOWA CITY, IA

The schedule for the Main Stage at the Iowa Arts Festival, presented by Veridian Credit Union has been confirmed and audiences are in for an exciting weekend filled with a variety of local and national performers June 5-7 in the heart of Iowa City!


Friday night kicks things off at 7 PM with Shawn Colvin and Marc Cohn!  Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, best known for the hit “Walking in Memphis”, takes the stage at 7 PM. Shawn Colvin will immediately follow Cohn’s performance, taking the stage around 8:30 PM. In 1996, Colvin released the album A Few Small Repairs, which would prove to be her breakthrough. The murder-ballad “Sunny Came Home” gave Colvin a Top 10 hit and two of Grammy’s biggest honors: Record of the Year and Song of the Year.


During the day on Saturday, audiences can enjoy a number of local performers including many familiar faces.  The Iowa City Community Band kicks things off at 10 AM, followed by Supro Quatro at 11:30 AM featuring Dustin Busch.  At 1 PM we welcome The 100’s to the stage sharing their own version of roots-rock-country-folk music.   Catfish Keith will entertain the audience at 2:30 PM. Cutting-edge blues singer, songwriter and bottleneck slide guitarist Catfish Keith has established himself as one of the most exciting country blues performers of our time. Rounding out the afternoon, we are pleased to welcome back The Beaker Brothers to the Iowa Arts Festival Main Stage at 4 PM. The Beaker Brothers music has been inspired by everyone from Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix to The Grateful Dead.  They have gone back in time to jam bands where rock, jazz, blues and Latin music took over.


Saturday evening features two bands with their own style – the Jeremy Kittel Band and Darlingside. Taking the stage at 6:30 PM, violinist and fiddler, Jeremy Kittel has mastered styles as diverse as jazz, Scottish and Irish fiddle, bluegrass, classical music, and more. Darlingside is characterized by classical strings, tight vocal arrangements, bluegrass and rock instrumentation, and smart lyricism and takes the stage at 7:30 PM.


The Iowa Arts Festival is thrilled to welcome the BoDeans to the stage as the Saturday night headliner at 9 PM. Long known as one of the best live acts in the business, the BoDeans continue to deliver amazing, high energy performances. In the last 30 years, the band released several albums which embody multiple songs played heavily on the radio, in TV shows, and movies, and define a sound that a generation embraced -- songs like Good Things, You Don't Get Much, Idaho, If It Makes You, Closer to Free, Stay, American, and, All the World.


Sunday’s Main Stage performances again feature bluegrass at the core, including additional performances by The Jeremy Kittel Band and Darlingside as well as Joe Peterson’s latest group – The Snake Chasers.  Sunday’s entertainment starts at 11 AM.


New this year – the Main Stage moves to Clinton Street close to Iowa Avenue!  With the change in the Main Stage location, a Street Stage has been added to the corner of Iowa Avenue and Linn Street and will feature a wide variety of local performers during the hours the Art Fair is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


The Iowa Arts Festival started in 1983 and typically attracts around 35,000 people throughout the course of the weekend to downtown Iowa City. The Iowa Arts Festival not only includes a fine Art Fair, but also Art Goes Live! Artist Demonstrations, and Emerging Artist Pavilion for student artists, a Beverage Garden, Culinary Row, FUN Stops, and Children’s Activities along with the Family Stage!


Summer of the Arts is a nonprofit organization for local arts and culture events which include: Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by UICCU, Iowa Soul Festival presented by Diversity Focus, Friday Night Concert Series presented by Toyota-Scion of Iowa City, MusicIC, and Free Movie Series presented by Collins Community Credit Union and University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums.


The mission of Summer of the Arts is to build community by bringing people together in the heart of Iowa City to experience, learn about, and enjoy free arts and cultural programs.





For immediate release: April 21, 2015—Iowa City, IA 
Summer of the Arts invites you to attend the 2015 Friday Night Concert Series, presented by Toyota-Scion of Iowa City! Enjoy 16 free, family-friendly concerts in the heart of downtown Iowa City. The Friday Night Concert Series will run Fridays May 15th through September 18th, excluding our festival weekends. From 6:30-9:30 p.m., the evening will be loaded with live musical performances by many of the area’s best musicians on the Pedestrian Plaza’s Weatherdance Fountain Stage outside of the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel. 
This year’s lineup is sure to pack a punch all summer long, kicking-off on May 15 with Inti-Illimani, brought to you by Hancher. The talented youth from Iowa City West High and City High take the stage on May 22nd. Household Iowa name, David Zollo & the Body Electric will hit the stage on May 29 followed by Tony Brown’s All Star Jam Session, Local on the 8’s, and more in June! The show goes on in July, heating up with Johnny Kilowatt on July 10, and later—Winterland brings the sound of the Grateful Dead to the stage to keep things cool. For fans of Steely Dan, check out The Fez on August 21, one of many performances you will not want to miss in August and September. Finally, help us send-off the summer with a bang at the Linn Street Block Party celebration on September 18th (more information will follow on this special event). 
May 15           Inti-Illimani, brought to you by Hancher 
May 22           City High AND West High Jazz Ensembles 
May 29         David Zollo & The Body Electric
June 12                 Tony Brown All Star Jam Session 
June 19                 Local on the 8’s
June 26                 Cedar County Cobras AND Frank F. Sydney’s Western Bandit Volunteers
July 10         Johnny Kilowatt
July 17         Mirage
July 24         Winterland
July 31         TBA
August 7         Dandelion Stompers
August 14         Tropicante 
August 21         The Fez 
September 4 Candymakers
September 11 Fire Sale AND The Dawn
September 18 Linn Street Block Party! 
The rain location for the Friday Night Concert Series will be the lower level of the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp at Washington and Gilbert Streets. Concerts moved to the rain location will be announced by 4 p.m. the day of the performance and posted on the Summer of the Arts website and social media. For more information, including inquiries regarding the schedule and performer bios, visit or call (319) 337-7944.



Click VOLUNTEER  to look over the many different volunteer jobs, dates and times we have to offer!

We now have volunteer opportunities posted for both the Iowa Arts Festival (June 5-7) and the Free Movie Series (Saturdays from June 13 - Aug. 22) !

We will need over 600 volunteers this summer and YOU can Help to Make it All Happen! 


Summer of the Arts E-Newsletter: April 2, 2015

Click here to read the April 2, 2015, E-Newsletter featuring our latest information!

RIDE Iowa City March 29th!

Take advantage of spring, enjoy a great dinner and support Summer of the Arts all at the same time!


On Sunday, March 29th from 5 - 9 PM, RIDE Iowa City, the area's newest bicycle-themed restaurant has planned a very special menu for dinner and 15% of their sales will support Summer of the Arts!

Enjoy local, free-range chicken fried to perfection with family style sides to share!  There will be three cold sides and three hot sides, so plenty to choose from and plenty to fill you up!  Dinner for adults is just $15.95 per person while kids 12 and under pay their age!  A vegetarian option will also be available.

Another great way RIDE Iowa City is giving back to the community -- every six weeks this spring, they will be matching the amount generated by a local charity based on who has the highest sales!


So join us for dinner on March 29th at RIDE Iowa City, 630 Iowa Avenue and support Summer of the Arts!

Applications for Global Village Booths Now Being Accepted

Summer of the Arts is currently accepting applications for Booth Presenters as part of Global Village on Sunday, June 7, 2015, from 10 AM - 3 PM. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2015 and a limited number of spaces are available. 

The purpose of Global Village is to entertain and initiate interaction and cultural education within the community. Booth Presenters should offer an interesting display featuring a specific country as well as a craft suitable for young children.  Children have the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures through interaction with the Booth Presenters.  Past booths have featured simple language lessons, samples of games from another country, and crafts featuring items that are appropriate for the country display.  One year a group built their own “great wall of China” as part of their booth display!

“A unique part of the Global Village experience is allowing young children to learn about other countries and cultures in a fun and interactive way,” explained Lisa Barnes, executive director of Summer of the Arts. “Past booths have featured countries like Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Australia and many more.”

Booth presenters can be church groups, schools, scout troops or community groups wanting to share information about the country they are originally from.  Presenters are responsible for their own displays and materials; however, each booth presenter receives a tent, tables, chairs and general supplies the day of the event.  Those interested in participating can download an application on the Iowa Arts Festival page of, or email for additional information.

The Iowa Arts Festival is presented by Veridian Credit Union and held in the heart of downtown Iowa City on seven downtown streets and the Pedestrian Plaza. The Festival typically attracts around 35,000 people throughout the course of the weekend. The Iowa Arts Festival not only includes a fabulous Art Fair, but also live entertainment on two stages, a Beverage Garden, Culinary Row, and additional Children’s Activities!

Click HERE for more information.

Click HERE for an application.


UPDATE: Volunteer & Community Relations Manager POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED

Volunteer & Community Relations Manager -Summer of the Arts
We are seeking an experienced part time Volunteer & Community Relations Manager to recruit, motivate, and generate enthusiasm with volunteers to meet the needs for our summer festivals and events. This position also supports the organization’s administrative functions, including record-keeping, clerical support, phone support, and communications with external partners and stakeholders. Candidate must have prior experience as a Volunteer Coordinator, the ability to work a part time flexible schedule (including some nights and weekends) and work effectively within a team environment. Excellent customer service and pleasant demeanor required when interacting with the staff, public, and volunteers. Successful applicant will meet driving and background check requirements, certification in Volunteer Management is preferred. Proficiency in MS Word, Excel and email is necessary.
For immediate consideration, please email your resume and cover letter to with the subject line Volunteer Manager. Applications will be accepted through February 1, 2015.
Click HERE to download a copy of the job description.


Now Accepting Artist Applications for Iowa Arts Festival Art Fair!

Calling all artists!

Summer of the Arts is now accepting applications for the 2015 Iowa Arts Festival Art Fair!  Applications can be submitted via Zapplication by clicking HERE.  The application fee is $30 and the deadline to apply is February 20, 2015.

The Iowa Arts Festival started in 1983 and celebrates a wide range of arts including our visual artists as part of the juried art fair. The festival also includes local and national performers on the Main Stage, a Culinary Row, Children's Activities and a Family Stage as well as an Emerging Artist Pavilion for student artists.

The 2015 Iowa Arts Festival will be held June 5-7 in downtown Iowa City.

If you need assistance with setting up your profile in Zapp, contact their Help Line at 888-562-7232. Contact with questions about the festival.


Iowa Soul Festival September 19-21*!

Summer of the Arts will be ending our 2014 season with a bang! The Iowa Soul Festival, presented by Diversity Focus, takes place on the University of Iowa Pentacrest and Clinton Street in downtown Iowa City on September 19 & 20th.  Hancher kicks off the festival Friday night at 5:30 PM with two world music bands, followed by UI Alumn Al Jarreau!

On Saturday, September 20th, the main stage features local youth and a variety of blues, funk, soul and jazz culminating with a performance by grammy winner Lalah Hathaway at 9 PM.  The festival also features a Beverage Garden, Culinary Row, African MarketPlace and FUN Zone!

Sunday, September 21st you can enjoy a collaboration between Summer of the Arts and KCCK Jazz 88.3, with a Gospel Brunch at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel.  Choose from two seating times to enjoy delicious food, wonderful music and joyful noise!  Tickets are just $30 per person for the 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM seatings and can be purchased by clicking HERE or by contacting the Summer of the Arts office at 319-337-7944.


5:00 PM – 10:00 PM Culinary Row 

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM African Marketplace, sponsored by Veridian Credit Union

5:00 PM -- 8:00 PM      FUN Zone, sponsored by MidWestOne Bank

5:00 PM – 11:00 PM Beverage Garden, featuring products from Cedar Ridge Winery and 7G Distributing


Main Stage:

5:30 PM                 Kinobe & The Wamu Spirit, Brought to you by Hancher  

7:00 PM                 TBA, Brought to you by Hancher

8:30 PM                 Al Jarreau, Brought to you by Hancher



11:00 AM – 8:00 PM African Marketplace, sponsored by Veridian Credit Union

11:00 AM -- 8:00 PM    FUN Zone, sponsored by MidWestOne Bank

11:00 AM – 10:00 PM Culinary Row

1:00 PM – 11:00 PM Beverage Garden, featuring products from Cedar Ridge Winery and 7G Distributing


Main Stage:

       11:00-12:00 PM  Ordained 2Praise Dance Ministry

                                 Set the Atmosphere

                                         Unified Youth Drill Team

sponsored by SouthGate Companies

12:30-2:00 PM The FunkDaddies, sponsored by University of Iowa Community Credit Union

2:30-4:00 PM Kilowatt & Grizz Blues Band, sponsored by 7G Distributing

4:30-6:00 PM Kool’s Bazaar, sponsored by Cedar Ridge Winery

7:00-8:30 PM 10 of Soul “A Genuine Tribute to Soul, Funk, and Everything in Between”

sponsored by the Sheraton & hotelVetro  

9:00-10:30 PM Lalah Hathaway, sponsored by Rockwell Collins




Summer Schedule Released!

It's that time of year when we are all anxiously awaiting the true arrival of spring!  In anticipation of warmer and longer days, Summer of the Arts released the  line-up of our summer festivals.

For complete schedules and bios, visit the respective festival page by clicking on the logo link on the right side of the page, then select the button on the left with the information you are looking for.

To access the on-line calendar and add dates to your personal calendar, click on the button at the bottom of the home page.

A few highlights:

Friday Night Concert Series -- kicks off May 16 with The Fez and wraps up Sept. 12 with Fire Sale AND Zeta June

Saturday Night Concert Series -- the third Saturday of the month in May, June, July & August starting May 17th with the City High and West High Jazz Bands

Iowa Arts Festival -- June 6-8 featuring Euforquestra and The Indigo Girls on Friday night

Free Movie Series -- celebrating its 10th year with movies counting from 1 - 10, starting with the June 14 showing of Captain America the First Avenger and finishing with a special Thursday night showing on August 21 of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

MusicIC -- Another wonderful opportunity to experience chamber music enhanced with literature in various downtown locations June 18-21

Iowa City Jazz Festival -- Moving to Thursday - Saturday, July 3-5, and featuring HUGE names like Joe Lovano and Tom Harrell. The Iowa City fireworks will take place Saturday, July 5

Iowa Soul Festival -- Moving to the UI Pentacrest Sept 19 & 20 and featuring Al Jarreau Friday night, brought to you by Hancher.  On Sunday, there will be a Gospel Brunch at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel in collaboration with KCCK Jazz 88.3!



Emily McMahon Named Development Director for Summer of the Arts

Emily McMahon has been named development director for Summer of the Arts, the organization that sponsors free summer festivals, concerts and outdoor movies in downtown Iowa City.  Summer of the Arts has grown substantially in the past four years and now produces eight major festivals from May through December.

“It’s important to remember that the free events sponsored by Summer of the Arts are actually funded by generous individual donors and many wonderful sponsors, including the City of Iowa City,”  said Diana Lundell, president of the board of directors.  “Our goal in bringing Emily on board is to ensure we stay in touch with these partners and to seek out new ones so that we can not only improve the quality of our events, but even add to them.” 
Lisa Barnes, executive director of Summer of the Arts, welcomed McMahon, saying, “Emily is an experienced professional who will serve as the single point of contact for our sponsors and donors.  She’ll also work with our fundraising committee to develop special events that will further support our mission.”
“After volunteering for many years as an intern and board member, I am ecstatic to be the development director for Summer of the Arts.  It feels like I have found an opportunity that fits who I am and what I want to become.  I look forward to connecting the organization with those community members who share our vision.  I am excited to build upon Summer of the Arts’ current relationships, recruit new donors, and engage these community members, which will create loyalty for years to come.  The future of Summer of the Arts is vibrant, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
McMahon has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Iowa in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship with course-work in marketing and non-profit management.  She most recently was senior catering manager for the DoubleTree, Cedar Rapids.  Prior to that, she was a catering sales manager from 2008 – 2013 for the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel. She is familiar with Summer of the Arts, having served as an operations intern for the organization in 2008 and as a board of directors member since 2011.
McMahon has also been active in the community outside of Summer of the Arts, serving on the EPIC (Empowered Professionals in the Iowa City Area) Leadership Council, Iowa City Junior Service League, American Heart Association Silent Auction Committee member and Greater Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.

Celebrate The Season "Find The Elf" Game!

What is the "Find the Elf" Game? New to the Celebrate the Season event this year, the "Find the Elf" Game will be held throughout downtown Iowa City businesses the week of November 30th - December 7th!

Why Participate?  Because it's fun of course and you can win great prizes!  Find at least 10 of the 23 elves placed in participating downtown businesses and you can enter to win a Downtown Iowa City Gift Package!  Find all 23 Elves to be entered in the Grand Prize Drawing!

How to Participate You Ask:  Starting Saturday, November 30th, you can simply visit one of the participating stores (listed below), and pick up your game punch card! Your card lists each store location and the contest rules.  Once you have found the Elf in a store, the store associates will punch the card for you! The winner of the gift package and the Grand Prize Drawing will be drawn on Saturday, December 7, in the Old Capitol Town Center, where other Celebrate the Season activities are taking place. Cards may be turned in until 2:30 pm that day.

Thank you to the following downtown businesses for hosting an elf and donating prizes for Celebrate the Season's "Find the Elf" Game!

Good Luck Finding Elfie!



Hills Bank & Trust Company
Discerning Eye
Iowa Artisans Gallery
Om Gifts
Running Wild
Sweets & Treats
Sheraton/Share Restaurant
Molly's Cupcakes
Iowa Book
US Bank
High Ground
White Rabbit
Hands Jewelers
Java House

Englert Theatre


Final Week of Free Movie Series & Saturday Night Concert Series!

 We have a busy week as we wrap up the Free Movie Series and Saturday Night Concert Series.


The Free Movie Series ends on a special night -- Thursday, August 22nd with the 2012 hit "The Hunger Games" starring Academy Award Winner Jennifer Lawrence (Catching Fire, the second movie in the series comes out in November!).  The sun is setting earlier, so we plan to start the movie around 8:15 p.m.  This is a great opportunity to enjoy this film in a beautiful outdoor setting on the UI Pentacrest outside of Macbride Hall.

MOVIE DESCRIPTION:  In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.


At the Friday Night Concert Series August 23rd, we are pleased to bring back Jake McVey!  Jake is making a name for himself in the country music scene and last year he headlined Sand in the City. Opening for Jake is Prairie High School graduate Abby Ganske who shares a beautiful voice with some original songs and covers.  Abby will take the stage at 6:30 with Jake starting at 7 p.m.


Saturday brings the Latino Festival to downtown Iowa City with games, music and entertainment on the Ped Mall. Summer of the Arts is proud to partner with them and bring in Parranderos Latin Combo from Des Moines to wrap up the day-long festival.  For more information on the Latino Festival, click HERE.  Parranderos will play from 6:30 - 9 p.m.


Join us for an exciting week of FREE entertainment in downtown Iowa City!

Double Feature Week at the Free Movie Series!

 We are very excited about the Free Movie Series schedule for August 10th.  It's DOUBLE FEATURE NIGHT at the movies!



We will kick things off at 7:30 outside of Macbride Hall with a special performance by the 5 O'Clock Steel Band.  Our first movie, The Princess Bride will start at sundown, around 8:30 p.m.  This 1987 classic is one of the most requested movies we've ever shown!  Starring Robin Wright Penn as Princess Buttercup and Cary Elwes as farm hand Westley, the film also features great performances by Mandy Patinkin asInigo Montoya ("My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!"), Chris Sarandon as the devios Prince Humperdink, Andre the Giant as Fezzik and Wallace Shawn as Vizzini.  Add in a great cameo by Billy Crystal and Carol Kane, plus plenty of adventure, you have a truly original love story!  How many quotes do you remember from the movie?  I'm guessing there are plenty!


Immediately following The Princess Bride, we'll be showing 16 to Life.  For those of you who attended the Landlocked Film Festival in 2009, you are already familiar with this Iowa-based coming of age movie written and directed by Iowan Becky Smith and filmed in beautiful Macgregor, Iowa.  At the 2009 Landlocked Film Festival, 16 to Life won 1st place in the Narrative Film Category as well as the Audience Award playing to a packed house at the Englert Theater.

Kate is a rural American teenager whose angst about sexual inexperience drives a comic quest for love and understanding on a birthday to end all birthdays. 16 To Life, shot on location on the Mississippi River, boasts terrifically funny, heartfelt performances from newcomers Hallee Hirsh (KATE), Mandy Musgrave (DARBY), and soulful veteran seductress Theresa Russell (LOUISE). This first feature from Emmy-nominated writer/director Becky Smith (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) puts a wry, witty, and unpredictable ensemble cast in a small-town locale reminiscent of a Capra comedy. Kate’s irreverent fantasies of sexual awakening and guilt, fueled by obsessive reading of books on bizarre subjects (currently the Chinese Cultural Revolution) drive this explosive day. Kate is turning 16 and has never been kissed!  When best-friend Darby abruptly decides to lose her virginity this very day, mortified Kate pretends not to care by playing matchmaker for her other co-workers, Rene, the stoner cook (Shiloh Fernandez) and emotionally messy Louise (Theresa Russell), the stand owner. Kate pairs Louise with paraplegic customer and amateur Chinese historian, Ronald (Jaime Gomez), unaware of their tragic shared history. For Rene, Kate selects over-sexed Russian co-worker, Tatiana (Emily Foxler), to complicated and hilarious effect. Before the clock strikes midnight, Kate will learn more about love than most 16-year-olds could imagine. And Kate will discover what a 16-year-old American girl has in common with a 16-year-old Chinese girl half a world, and a cultural revolution, away.


So plan to join us Saturday night outside of Macbride Hall on the UI Pentacrest for a fabulous fun and funny evening of FREE entertainment.  Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and blanket since the weather continues to cool down quite a bit at night!  Thanks to the Bijou Theater and Landlocked Film Festival for helping us line up these two fabulous movies!




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Summer of the Arts           319.337.7944           325 E. Washington St., Ste. 301 Iowa City IA 52240