Muscatine Art Center invites the public to two more fun and free summer events | Local

MUSCATINE — Before it’s time to head back to school, local kids and their families are invited to drop by the Muscatine Art Center for a few more free summer events.

The first of these events, “Community Stage”, will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 18. This is a collaboration between the Muscatine Art Center and the Muscatine County Arts Council.

“We’ve been talking about doing something with the Art Center for a while,” said Ed Chamberlin, chair of the Arts Council. “I think just collaborating with other Muscatine facilities is a really good thing for everyone to do, to reach out and do different projects with the community.”

There will be plenty to enjoy this evening, from live musical performances and a full puppet show, to poetry readings by local Writers on the Avenue member Missy Urban, and even arts and crafts for the enjoyment of children.

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“The whole concept of the Community Stage is to showcase a lot of the artistic stuff that’s happening in Muscatine,” Chamberlin said. “We just wanted to give local artists a platform for them to share or perform some of their work.”

Live music for the night’s event will be provided by the Muscatine Brass Band. When asked why he wanted to include them, Chamberlin recalled how the band brought music back to Muscatine with their First National Bank gigs at the start of the pandemic.

“I just saw it as an opportunity to share what the band has been up to since then,” he said.

As for the puppet show that evening, it will be provided by the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theater. Puppeteer Stephanie Vallez will use bohemian puppets to bring Hans Christian Anderson’s story “The Emperor’s Nightingale” to life.

“Since this is the Muscatine County Arts Council, we wanted to reach people who weren’t necessarily in the city of Muscatine but were still part of Muscatine County,” Chamberlin explained in reference to the inclusion of the West Liberty puppet company.

While no specific date is set for its return, Chamberlin said the Arts Council hopes to bring the Community Stage event back at least once or twice a year. In this capacity, he also encouraged local poets, performers and other artists to contact the Arts Council or the Art Center if they are interested in participating in the upcoming Community Stage event.

“We’ll see how that first round goes, and I think he’ll come back,” he said. “I think there is interest from the public, and we thought it was just time to do something new. I think it’s just an opportunity to get out there and see some of the things happening in the Muscatine community.

Also this month, the Muscatine Art Center will hold its annual Ice Cream Social event from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, August 21. Again sponsored by Kent Corporation, the event will offer ice cream and other treats as well as a chance for younger guests to do studio projects and learn about Muscatine County Conservation’s wildlife. Live entertainment will be provided by the group Crusin’ and the Muscatine Civil Chorale.

“There is something for everyone at the Ice Cream Social,” art center director Melanie Alexander said in a public statement. “Expect to see some of your friends and neighbors at the event while helping raise funds for the Friends of Muscatine Art Center and its mission to support Muscatine Art Center’s educational programs.”