It might hit you when you’re browsing the shelves at Prairie Lights and an employee casually mentions how many of the books were written in the cafe upstairs. Or when you’re soaking in an intimate performance by your favorite band at the historic Englert Theatre. Or seeing an edgy indie movie at FilmScene. Or watching half the city dancing in the street during the annual Downtown Block Party. Or when you look down at the sidewalk and realize you’re standing on a poem carved into the concrete.
But at some point, everyone who visits Iowa City will be struck by the thought, “Wow, this is a really great city for the arts.”
Ahem. Make that “The Greatest.”
A group of local arts organizations are banding together on a campaign to make Iowa City known as “The Greatest Small City for the Arts” — and they’re gaining momentum fast.
It all started the way many projects in Iowa City do: A big dream fueled by collaboration and creativity to become something much, much bigger. FilmScene, Iowa City’s nonprofit independent theater, was looking to raise funds to move into their new, state-of-the-art, three- screen building and restore their historic theater downtown. As it happens, the city’s beloved Englert Theatre was also in the beginning stages of a capital campaign to fund a renovation.