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Arts and Culture in Marion, IA

Marion's galleries, theaters and museums help immerse residents in the arts.

By Teree Caruthers on June 30, 2016

Marion IA Arts
Marion / Courtesy of Giving Tree Theater

From performing arts venues to museums that chronicle the city’s history, Marion’s arts and cultural scene plays an integral role in residents’ quality of life.

Campbell Steele Gallery

Since it opened in 1991, the Campbell Steele Gallery has been showcasing the art and music of Marion’s arts community in addition to more than 100 regional and national artists. The gallery and performing arts venue, which is housed in the historic Kendall Building in uptown Marion, is the brainchild of husband and wife artists Craig Campbell and Priscilla Steele. Steele specializes in drawing and printmaking, and Campbell designs and produces custom furniture, all of which is displayed in the gallery. The arts venue displays and sells books and paintings, furniture and poster prints, and hosts regular concerts through its Music in the MUD! series. The gallery also partners with local chefs and wineries to host wine-tasting dinners and brunches.

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Giving Tree Theater

Sponsored by the Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts group, the Giving Tree Theater offers patrons a unique theatrical experience. The intimate auditorium features living room sofas, overstuffed chairs, cabaret tables and side chairs, as well as traditional theater seating to provide a cozy and inclusive atmosphere. Owners Richie and Heather Akers designed the theater so that all seats offer clear views of the stage. The company has produced such well-known plays and musicals as Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and Mike White’s The School of Rock. The theater also hosts an annual summer camp for kids, which ends with a performance for the public and, true to its name, the Giving Tree donates a portion of ticket sales from each performance to a different local charity.

Granger House Cultural Center & Museum

The Granger House Victorian Museum stands as a reflection of life in the 19th century. The home – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – was built by Earl and Dora Granger in 1873 and occupied by a member of the Granger family until 1969. The restored home features many of the original furnishings, as well as diaries, photographs and artifacts that give visitors a glimpse of middle-class life at the turn of the century. The home was turned into a museum in 1976 and now hosts field trips, tours, community events and educational programs.

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Marion Heritage Center & Museum

The Marion Heritage Center & Museum serves not only as a museum and gallery but also as a gathering space for the community. The museum’s permanent exhibits feature a mosaic of uptown Marion and a map of the city circa 1868, in addition to a library of historical reference materials. The museum hosts a Heritage Book Club the first Thursday of every month for history buffs, as well as artist demonstrations and arts exhibits by local artists. Housed in a renovated Methodist church built in the mid-1800s, the museum is free and open to the public.

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