Things to do in Iowa City, including guest art by Amanda Gorman


An art gallery and a book festival are no exception to Iowa City.

But when the gallery responds to a request from the poet Amanda Gorman? And the book festival is aimed specifically at children’s authors in Iowa?

This is not your usual weekend lineup.

Here are two things to check out in Iowa City this weekend.

“Invite for the Planet” at the Porch Light Literary Arts Center

On Saturday, the Porch Light Literary Arts Center hosts the ‘Prompt for the Planet’ art exhibition and auction, which features works by 10 local artists, all responding to something written by poet Amanda Gorman.

The show is a collaboration between PromptPress, an artistic journal online and in print and the LENA project, an Iowa City nonprofit that advocates for environmental change.

Gorman’s Prompt for the Planet asks people to do the following:

“Think of an element and speak with its voice through pictures and words. What would the fires raging in California say to the world? What would the wind of Hurricane Maria destroy Puerto Rico look like? What is the feel and taste of the freshly fallen rain on a state of drought through poetry? Love? Relief? Think of it like creating an open letter from the planet.

Tricia Windschitl, co-founder and director of the LENA project, told Press-Citizen how Prompt for the Planet started.

In 2018, Shannon Nolan, a student at the University of Iowa, alongside visiting associate professor David Gould, worked on a project that asked UI students to reflect on the state of the planet.

Gould contacted Gorman, who had been named the National Youth Poet in 2017.

According to Windschitl, Nolan was concerned about the state of the planet and the future, and wanted to give the earth a voice through her peers.

Gorman helped by creating a prompt that Nolan could share with others, titled Prompt for the Planet, and wrote his own poem in response.

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The project grew to invite anyone to respond to Gorman’s prompt.

Windschitl, who had heard about the project at the time, also asked 30 students from Preucil Kindergarten to respond to the prompt. Windschitl is the director of the nursery school.

Interest in the project returned when Gorman recited a poem at the 59th dedication ceremony earlier this year, according to Windschitl. In the early days, people searching for Gorman’s name stumbled across the Prompt for the Planet website.

Gould, who is Windschitl’s neighbor, informed her that people were emailing her about the project and sharing their responses when prompted.

“We just thought, ‘My God, now it’s time to turn that back on, because that was so powerful,'” she said.

Jennifer Colville, founder of PromptPress and director of Porch Light, joined the project.

Colville explained that PromptPress aims to inspire new work from artists in the community and beyond, and often plays with writers reacting to the work of visual artists and vice versa.

But she also thought more about turning these collaborations around themes, and in this case, the theme is the environment.

The works of art presented on Saturday are all responses to the prompt, with the goal of people engaging with the environment through their own creativity.

“I think what we find out is that all these numbers, statistics and patterns can really numb us and cripple us and scare us of being crippled, as art speaks to our soul,” said declared Windschitl. “And those beautiful words and pictures that these Jenny artists have created will hopefully inspire us in a way that these numbers may not be.”

"Invite for the planet" is an art exhibition and auction featuring works by 10 local artists.  The art will be on display at the Porch Light Literary Art Center on November 13.

Funds from the auction will go to the Prompt for the Press project, including continuing workshops or other opportunities for the Iowa City community to get involved.

The couple also hope to raise more environmental awareness through other events.

All artwork will be available online Friday for those who can’t make it to Saturday’s auction, and the artwork will be on display for a week for those who wish to drop by Porch Light to view afterwards. the event.

They will also distribute the invite to visitors to the exhibit in the hopes that people will create a response as well, Colville said.

According to Windschitl, any responses they receive will be archived online.

Colville said she believes art can be useful, especially because it can make people feel like they’re doing something about a problem or topic, like the land and the environment.

“I think it can be easy to feel that nothing you do will make a difference, but if you lend your voice, you create something, and other people are inspired by it,” he said. she declared.

The art presented in the exhibition includes pieces from:

  • Jenny gringer
  • Strong kalmia
  • Keren Alfred
  • Emily jalinsky
  • Mackie garrett
  • John Engelbrecht
  • Alex ackerman
  • Hope Spragg
  • Ariane Parkes-Perret

The exhibition takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Porch Light Literary Arts Center is located at 1019 E. Washington St. Visit Porch Light’s website to register for the event and find out more.

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KidLit Pizzazz Festival at Sidekick Coffee & Books

Sidekick Coffee and Books hosts its first KidLit Pizzazz Festival, featuring 15 authors and illustrators of children’s books from Iowa.

Owner Katy Herbold, in an email to Press-Citizen, said the festival was created because so much of Sidekick’s goal was to “make reading and buying books exciting for kids. children ”.

The festival takes place Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., located at 1310½ Melrose Ave. People who stop by can buy children’s authors’ books and get them signed, as well as meet the authors. The event is free.

As part of the festivities, an a cappella band from UI will perform outside at 2pm. Sidekick will also sell drinks inspired by the author’s works, such as an upside-down sundae inspired by a character from “Playing Possum,” a novel by Iowa City author Jennifer Black Reinhardt.

The following authors participate in the festival:

  • Jennifer Black Reinhardt
  • Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  • Michelle edwards
  • Jill esbaum
  • Wendy henrich
  • Catherine House
  • Claudia McGehee
  • Karen miller
  • Lisa Morlock
  • Norene paulson
  • Sarah Prinéas
  • Delia Ray
  • Dorothée Rohner
  • Barbara santucci
  • Tess Weaver

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle, and the arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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