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University of Iowa News Release


March 9, 2007

UI Museum Of Art Offers African Celebration March 25

The University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) will put art from Africa in the spotlight for its annual WOW! Family Day, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 25.

An annual event, Family Day is the culmination of the UIMA's "Widen Our World" (WOW!) program that invites third-grade students from Iowa City and surrounding areas to take a tour of the UIMA and explore works of art at the museum with their class. UIMA Director Howard Collinson commented, "We're so pleased to have once again welcomed over 1,000 eastern Iowa children to the museum this year with the WOW! program alone. This is one of our very best traditions."

This year's program, "WOW! Family Day: An African Celebration," will be free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Participants in WOW! Family Day will be able to celebrate the cultures of Africa through performances, hands-on-activities and a curriculum-based presentation. The event uses the museum's exemplary permanent collection of African Art as a jumping off point for the celebration.

"We really wanted to give the public a chance to experience other African art forms in addition to what is in the galleries," said Dale Fisher, the museum's director of education.

Performers scheduled to participate will be performing artist and educator Jacqueline Thompson and Beats from the Gold Coast, an African percussionist group made up of international UI students. They will offer music, dance and storytelling from four regions of Africa: North Africa from noon to 12:45 p.m.; West Africa from 1 to 1:45 p.m.; East Africa from 2 to 2:45 p.m.; and Southern Africa from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

Refreshments will be offered throughout Family Day.

Leading the hands-on-art activity will be Molly Vadnais, a UI art education graduate student who will guide participants as they make rain sticks at several stations placed in the museum's resource center. Children will have the opportunity to personalize the rain sticks with streamers, ribbons, and feathers.

Thompson is the owner of the Potpourri Fine Arts Academy in Ottumwa, where she offers instruction to children and adults in dance, music, drama and art. She received a doctorate in music education from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Conservatory of Music. As an official artist of the Iowa Arts Council, she serves schools and communities throughout the state as a visiting artist and was appointed by Gov. Tom Vilsack to the Iowa Arts Council Board of Directors. She also serves as the multi-cultural concerns chair for the Iowa Music Educators Association and as choreographer of the Iowa Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

The UIMA's African art galleries, home to one of the largest and finest university collections of African art, enable visitors to experience a selection of the museum's 1,500 works, including wooden sculpture and masks, textiles, ceramics, basketry, and many other works.

WOW! is a collaboration between the UIMA and the Iowa City Community School District, with support from US Bank and Scheels All Sports.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;