Iowa City Carnaval 2013:

The overall theme “Iowa Stories” includes many pieces that have grown together over the past year from collaborations between many groups of people all over Iowa. 

“Fields of Possibility”: You’ll see floral gears for the intertwined natural and industrial worlds, “corn” dancers inspired by the old homecoming tradition of corn monuments, quilts made of squares drawn by kids and adults at festivals and school visits all over the state.  Since the rivers have such power in our lives, we offer the river gods our “River of Stories” compiled of poems and stories written by over 100 people, including statewide Iowa Young Writers groups, women at the Iowa Correctional Institution in Mitchellville, and others.  Our t-shirt design also comes from these writings, its words arranged from poems written by Carnaval research assistant and story collector Jen Shook's UI Interpretation of Literature students inspired by George Ella Lyon’s poem “I Am From.”   

Visiting Carnaval artists shared their depictions of Iowa as well: Seattle’s Fitzgerald de Freitas designed monarch wings and helmets to honor the butterflies’ migrations through our skies.  Clary Salandy of London’s Mahogany arts made Hawkeye headdresses and masks in the style of printmaker Elizabeth Catlett; in turn teen moms at United Action for youth made their own version of an elephant from one of Mahogany’s shows.  You’ll see foam versions of limestone fossils from the Old Capitol walls on the globe designed by Brazilian Jaime Cesário. 

Many of the costumes are made from recycled materials.  Most of the papier-mâché birds (made by students at Longfellow Elementary and Girl Scouts from West Branch) are built over used plastic bottles, and Cesário’s flower bouquets are made of cut and painted bottles.  Reuse is a part of the process, too.  Owl Glass Puppet Theatre of West Liberty kindly shared their sun and moon puppets, University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls has brought down the planets of the solar system, and another of our celestial puppets made her debut at Take Back the Night in 2012, designed by a UI Intermedia class.  Our origami paper cranes come from Folding Cranes, Sharing Stories, a project that moved from Mt. Pleasant to Johnston, Durant, and Iowa City.  The rolling oak tree was cast around the oak in front of the River Street painting studio.  Quilt square designs come courtesy of the Old Capitol Quilters Guild, and the City of Literature costume combines deconstructed literary journals with leftovers from Center for the Book papermaking and letterpress artists. 

 Photo by Ben Lewis

Photo by Ben Lewis