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When you head to downtown Iowa City this summer, get ready for fun, a few surprises, and the best collection of FREE cultural entertainment in the area.

Tickets Now on Sale for The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey!

Summer of the Arts and Iowa City Pride have partnered to bring you an exciting theatrical event, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, written by and starring James Lescene. This performance is a fundraiser for Summer of the Arts and Iowa City Pride.

You can purchase tickets at The Englert Theatre box office, or online.

Lecesne is an actor, author, screenwriter and LGBTQ+ rights activist who co-founded the Trevor Project, which provides crisis and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.


2019 Festival Dates

Friday Night Concert Series: May 17 – August 30, 2019

Iowa Arts Festival: May 31 – June 2, 2019

Free Movie Series: June 8 – August 24, 2019

Iowa City Jazz Festival: July 5 – 7, 2019

NEW! Soul and Blues Fest: August 2-3, 2019


Get the Weather

An Interview with James Lescene

In May 2018, local theater advocate and self-professed theater geek Mary Lu Callahan interviewed James Lescene, playwright/director/performer of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey at Prairie Lights.

If you missed the video segments on social media, here is the full interview:

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THANK YOU once again for a great festival season!

Facebook Posts

4 hours ago

Summer of the Arts

Over the past 13 years, we have had over 100 interns with Summer of the Arts, the majority of which attended the University of Iowa. We hope to see lots of familiar faces in Iowa City to celebrate this weekend's Homecoming festivities! Welcome home, Hawkeyes! ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Summer of the Arts

Here is the second segment from James Lecesne's interview! Here, Lecesne shares why he finds the younger generation so intriguing and begins to touch on how they deal with some of the obstacles they face. Be on the lookout for next week's video clip! You can also find the full interview on our website at We hope you enjoy! Iowa City Pride out the second snippet of the interview with Absolute Brightness' James Lecesne at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City! Editing: City Channel 4
... See MoreSee Less

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Persons attending Summer of the Arts events may be recorded or photographed as a festival attendee. These images may be used for Summer of the Arts programming or promotion, including broadcast on television, the Summer of the Arts website, the Internet, and other media.

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325 E. Washington St., Ste. 301 | Iowa City, IA 52240 | 319.337.7944