Questions?     +(319) 337-7944  

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.

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:

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

Iowa Soul and Blues Festival: TBD


Get the Weather

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.


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We invite you to take our survey, in order to help us improve the programming we offer to you, whether you’re in our local, regional, national, or international community.

THANK YOU once again for a great festival season!

Facebook Posts

5 days ago

Summer of the Arts

Last week, our Executive Director, Lisa Barnes, and Operations Manager, Terri Reeve, traveled to beautiful San Diego for the 2018 International Festivals & Events Association conference! We are excited to announce that Summer of the Arts received three awards!

-Silver Award: Best Digital/Social Ad Series from our 2017 Iowa Soul Festival, designed by 2017 intern, Lindsey Chapman.

-Bronze Award: Best Hat from our Iowa City Jazz Festival, designed by Old Capitol Screen Printers.

-Bronze Award: Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement for our 2018 Iowa City Jazz Festival program, designed by Iowa City Press-Citizen.

What a great experience!
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6 days ago

Summer of the Arts

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey will be coming to The Englert Theatre in just one month! We are excited to share different snippets of an interview with James Lecesne that was shot at Prairie Lights Bookstore in May. In this segment, Lecesne discusses the inspirational background of his book and how this story came to be. More of the interview to come! Iowa City Pride
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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