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University of Iowa Partners With The Dream Center For Living Museum Event

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

In celebration of Black History Month and to showcase the work of its youth performers, the Dream Center and the Iowa City Dream Divas will present a living museum Saturday evening, February 18, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, Iowa City.

Frederick Newell, executive director of the Dream Center, said attendees will see prominent historical figures in black history brought to life by youth in the center's Youth Leadership Academy. The youth participated in workshops with local artist and musician Tony Brown; Grant Wood Fellow Tamika Norris of the University of Iowa; Arts Share actors Tempestt Farrar and Randryck Lewis, graduate students in the University of Iowa’s Department of Theatre Arts; and Arts Share writers Ryan Tucker and Tasia Trevino from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop to create works of art for the program. The workshops are funded by a community engagement grant from the National Endowment of the Arts in partnership with the Summer of the Arts organization, the City of Iowa City, and the University of Iowa’s Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. The purpose of this grant is to support arts and education programming at the Iowa City Dream Center and other public spaces to foster the development of a strong diverse community.

"Our biggest thing that we wanted to come from this was an opportunity to share some of the work our youth have been doing these past couple of months as far as learning about different historical figures of the past. Our young women and men also will get the opportunity to express their own individuality at the living museum.” Newell said.” This event is a way we can pull the community together to celebrate something positive."

“Summer of the Arts is honored to be a part of this program and to work with the University of Iowa and City of Iowa City to support the important work that the Dream Center does in the community” stated Lisa Barnes, executive director.

Nikesha Jenkins, the director of the Iowa City Dream Divas, conceived of the program as a way to connect young people to their past and to find inspiration from those that have gone before. Somewhere between 25 and 30 youth performers of varying ages will participate in the living museum.

"Anybody that wanted to participate can. This is knowledge for everybody. There might be some people that they haven't heard of, and some small things about black history that they might not know, so everybody can look forward to a good time," Jenkins said.

The evening is divided into two “viewing” sessions from 6 to 6:50 p.m. with a performance by the Dream Divas, then another session from 7 to 7:50 p.m. ending with a grand finale dance to inspirational songs.

"One thing we're trying to share with our own youth is that historical figures of the past have paved the way, and sometimes youth don't realize it because no one is teaching them about the difficult past that we come from," Newell said.

Other Black History Month celebrations next weekend include a soul food dinner presented by Henri Harper at the Robert A Lee Recreation Center on Friday and a Concert of Praise at Iowa City Church of the Nazarene Sunday evening, featuring the groups M.O.G, (Men of God); P.D.A, (Praise Dance Angels); Set The Atmosphere Mime Ministry; and Ordained To Praise.

Schedule of events:

  • Henri Harper Community Soul Food Dinner will be held Friday, February 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

  • Living Museum Presentation and Art Exhibit will be held Saturday, February 18, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center at Gilbert & Burlington Streets in the Social Hall.

  • Concert of Praise, Sunday February 19, 6 [/,/, Iowa City Church of the Nazarene, 1035 Wade Street, Iowa City.

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