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Arts & Minds Campaign

700-seat concert hall in new music building.The arts wield limitless power to unite. They capture for the present the wisdom of the past and the dreams of the future on stages, in studios, and in collections. And they bridge places—our own with those of other people and cultures. They enrich, communicate, and teach—and remind us of what it means to be connected to one another.

For generations, the innovative arts enterprise at the University of Iowa has fostered those cultural connections. World-class works, transcendent performances, academic discovery, and artistic creation—Iowa’s arts facilities have been founts of shared human experience around which students, community members of all ages, and the world’s finest artists gather. From those diverse, though interrelated, facilities has emerged the unique creative legacy for which the UI has become known.

  • The UI was the nation’s first institution of higher education to accept creative work in the visual and performing arts—and among the first in music—in lieu of an academic thesis.
  • Iowa’s M.F.A. programs in art and art history, printmaking, and painting and drawing are consistently ranked as top-10-public institutions of higher learning nationally by U.S.News & World Report.
  • Hancher was awarded a prestigious Creative Campus grant by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 2007, and maintains a decades-long partnership with the Joffrey Ballet.

Strengthened by this proud legacy, the UI now looks to deliver on its longstanding vision for the arts and produce new creative milestones.

Tremendous Challenge, Rare Opportunity

The historic flood of 2008 displaced students and faculty, as well as the works created, studied, exhibited, and performed throughout the arts facilities. Alternative arrangements were made and remain in place, and the interim facilities—although dispersed throughout and beyond the UI campus—have allowed learning and programming to continue. But with displacement has come a tremendous challenge to the creative output that has distinguished the arts at Iowa for generations.

From circumstances emerged a sudden need—reestablishment of permanent arts facilities—but also a rare opportunity for revitalization. Designs for the replacement arts facilities envision places that are worthy of the UI’s arts legacy, that foster student engagement with the latest technology and state-of-the-art resources, and that encourage collaboration between students and the finest artists in the world. As before, these will be places where creative energy can unite and integrate. They will invite the best from the arts world, and project to students and the surrounding community the UI’s commitment to fostering artistic endeavor. They will replace what was lost, but will also renew the UI’s vision for what the arts will be in the future.

In stewardship of this vision, and the UI’s rich arts tradition, the UI Foundation is conducting a $30 million campaign for private gift support for replacement facilities for Hancher, the School of Music, and the School of Art and Art History. The plans call for a restoration of campus infrastructure, and therefore a strengthening of the UI’s arts programs.

For more information on how you can help, please visit the Arts & Minds campaign pages on the UI Foundation website.