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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 14, 2008

'Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure' will partner with Algona in 2009

Algona, Iowa, will be the 2009 partner of the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium when "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure" moves to a new stage of development. The Grammy nominated musical duo Trout Fishing in America will be in residence in Algona and Iowa City/Coralville, leading up to a May 10, 2009, concert in Iowa City West High School.

The lead partner in Algona will be the Haggard-Twogood Charitable Trust, a decade-old trust whose mission is to "bring extraordinary arts to an extraordinary community." It has supported 200 music, theater and dance performances, traveling arts exhibitions and artists in residence. Learn more at

Y-Pals, a mentoring program of the Algona Family YMCA that aims to "bring caring adults and teens together to a form a partnership with a child that can change their life forever," will be a participating partner.

Both these partners were involved with the presentation of the 2007 Iowa Tent Theatre, which toured the state under the direction of UI Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Ralph Hall. And the Haggard-Twogood Charitable Trust collaborated with Hancher to present SPOT artist Tomas Kubinek in Algona during a day off after his 2006 Spencer residency.

Algona's participation in SPOT will include two mini-performances for the town's public and parochial school systems, two after-school song-writing workshops and a public performance. Approximately 400 students will have direct experience with the artists.

Spot began in 2005 as a result of an $800,000 grant to Hancher from the Wallace Foundation, through its "Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation" (LEAP) program. The grant has enabled Hancher to enhance arts participation through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists, though family-oriented residencies in Marshalltown, Perry and Spencer, as well as Iowa City/Coralville.

Two artists or ensembles have been involved each year, with residencies leading up to or surrounding Hancher performances. The Wallace Foundation grant, the largest programming grant in the auditorium's history, built on Hancher's experience partnering with Pella, Decorah and Burlington in the Iowa Network Project, also made possible by Wallace funding. That $300,000 grant was the largest previous grant received by the auditorium.

The LEAP grant was combined with resources from several UI programs and offices: Academic Technologies, University Relations, the Division of Student Services, the Graduate College and the Office of the Vice President for Research. An endowment that has been established during the four years of the project now enables Hancher to continue its audience development efforts with the technology and expertise developed, making SPOT an annual project.

Major contributors to the Spot endowment include Betty Winokur, Al and Jean Hood, Jack and Nona Roe, and Sherwood and Sara Wolfson.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Chuck Swanson, Hancher Auditorium,, 319-335-1133; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),