A mural and a statue are shown in Downtown Iowa City.

The Iowa City Public Art Program's mission is to enhance our public spaces, to capitalize on Iowa City's reputation as a cultural center, and to build on Iowa City's image as a vital place to live and work. By providing Arts and Culture programs that educate, entertain, stimulate and engage the public, Iowa City works to support the vitality of its diverse population, preserve and interpret Iowa City’s rich heritage, and enhance the desirability of Iowa City as a residence and destination.

The Public Art Advisory Committee was established to oversee the operations of the Public Art program and advise the City Council on potential sites that can be enhanced by the addition of public art and also recommend various pieces of artwork.

South District Bus Stop Bench Project – Emerging Artist

Call for artists: Emerging Artists can apply now!

The Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee and the South District Neighborhood Association are issuing a call for emerging artists to design, fabricate and install a new bus stop bench along Highway 6 East, just east of Heinz Road, across the street from Amazon at stop 7126. The Emerging Artist will lead the project with assistance from a Project Mentor. The Emerging Artist will also include neighborhood feedback into the bench design and install the bench by Fall 2023. 

Project Details


Location of public art bench project.


Design Requirements:

  • Highlight the South District neighborhood’s rich cultural diversity
    • Gather public input from the neighborhood
    • Respond to or capture the diversity of: language, background,culture
  • Grab the public’s attention
  • Must be functional as a bus stop bench
  • Must be ADA accessible
  • Must withstand outdoor conditions for a minimum of three years
    • Emerging Artist will be responsible for the working order of the bench for three (3) years
    • Damage due to weather, accidents or vandalism is the responsibility of the City
Location of public art bench project.

The South District Neighborhood Association desires community direction on the bench design, so gathering public input will be part of the design development process. This can be accomplished in person at a neighborhood meeting or through an electronic meeting like Zoom.  A South District representative will help get the word out to the neighborhood and the Project Mentor will ensure public input is considered in the design. The neighborhood is excited to offer themes and lend support to the project with the goal to install a unique, attractive, artistic bench in spring/summer of 2023.

The Project Mentor will assist in all aspects of the project including:

  • Gather public input from the neighborhood
  • Select appropriate materials for fabrication
  • Fabricate the design
  • Install the bench
  • Instruct the artist on construction techniques


The $12,000 budget for the project includes Project Mentor compensation of $2,000, and $10,000 for the complete the design, fabrication, installation, and Emerging Artist’s compensation. The Project Mentor and the Emerging Artist will draft a budget for the project that falls within the $12,000 limit.

Submission requirements

  • Submit an application online: Emerging Artist Application
  • Outline your history as an artist
    • Maximum two-page resume or curriculum vitae (C.V.)
    • OR maximum of three (3) additional supporting materials, such as:
      • A link to your most-prominent social media feed
      • A visual representation of your process, for example a page of: sketches, brainstorming, works in progress, process photos, mood board or similar
  • Must be at least 18-years of age
  • Applicant’s contact information
  • Statement of Interest illustrating your passion for the neighborhood and your personal connection to this project.
  • A minimum of three (3) and maximum of five (5) images of past works.  Identify images with project title, location, date completed, media used, size, budget, and brief description of the project/conceptual information. Please view the online application before preparing your images. Each work will be uploaded and posted separately within the online application–no need to include a Portfolio page in your C.V.

Note: This is not a design contest. Best practice for artists is not to submit original designs before being selected for the project.

Review Process/Criteria

A sub-committee comprised of South District Neighborhood residents, the Project Mentor and the Public Art Advisory Committee will be responsible for reviewing responses and recommending an Emerging Artist based on the following criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Understanding of the project goals as indicated in the statement of interest
  • Creativity & strength of past work submitted in the application materials
  • Relevance of submitted materials to the project
  • Commitment to participate with agency/community as part of concept development.

Preference will be given to artists living in the South District neighborhood, Iowa City artists, or those who create art or exhibit their art in Iowa City.

Project Schedule

  • January 9, 2023: Opening the Call for Artists
  • Jan 23, 2023: Application deadline for Artists
  • By Jan 31, 2023: Selection of Artist by Neighborhood representatives (SDNA)
  • Feb 2, 2023: SDNA proposes Emerging Artist selection to PAAC
  • April 29, 2023: SDNA Approves Final Designs
  • May 4, 2023: SDNA shares final design with PAAC
  • Sep 30, 2023: Installation Complete
The calendar for the park bench public art project.

Iowa City Airport Mural Project

The City is overseeing the creation of a 12-foot-tall, 300-foot-long mural along an Iowa City Airport hanger facing South Riverside Drive. 

The Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee and the Iowa City Airport Commission have accepted applications from artists for the project. Initially, three artists will be selected and paid a stipend of $500 each to more fully develop a concept for the mural. From those, the Airport Commission will select the preferred concept and enter into an agreement with the artist for the mural. The budget for the mural is $38,400.

Aerial photo of a 300-foot hanger at the Iowa City Airport.
The hanger is a massive 12-foot-tall, 300-foot-long.

The Oracles of Iowa City

conceptualized by Antoine Williams and Donté K. Hayes

The Oracles of Iowa City is a partnership between Public Space One and Center for Afrofuturist Studies funded through the Iowa City Public Art Program and the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President of Research.

“The concept and ultimate vision for this mural is a visual call out or beacon to the community and to the greater region of people who will visit Iowa City. The starting thoughts for the theme of this mural comes from Double Consciousness, the term created by African American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois as the internal conflict experienced by Black people or colonized groups in an oppressive society.”

“The artists…Antoine Williams and Donté K Hayes, want to make it clear that this mural is not the end of any conversation or action in regards to improving the lives and well-being of Black people who live in and or visit Iowa City. Both murals…exhibit colorful pattern work similar to the ones found in West African traditional rituals and ceremonies. The patterns will furthermore resemble sound waves which connect the murals to their placement on the downtown parking garage across from the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building. Such placement is for the white community, government officials, community leaders, and all people who view the mural or have heard of the mural’s existence to acknowledge the systematic oppression of Black people and be accountable to do more in the community. Most importantly, the mural will speak to Black people’s humanity and not just their pain, giving expression to Black aesthetics in order to create a much-needed social transformation regarding race and not only acceptance, but respect.”


For addition information about the Oracles of Iowa City project, please visit the Public Space One website. 


  • Antoine Williams, co-designer
  • Donté K Hayes, co-designer
  • Jill Wells, lead painter
  • Marissa Hernandez, painting fellow
  • Janiece Maddox, ICRU painting fellow
  • Fred Ebong, videography fellow
  • Nichole Shaw, ICRU storytelling fellow
  • Dr. Dellyssa Edinboro, CAS education coordinator
  • Loyce Arthur, project advisor
  • John Engelbrecht, PS1 executive director