A new online registry from the Iowa City Public Art Program aims to give local artists more exposure

The Iowa City Public Art Program’s new online Artists Registry will bring new opportunities for local artists and arts organizations to promote area talent.


Jeff Sigmund

Photo Illustration by Jeff Sigmund(Jeff Sigmund/Daily Iowan)

Parker Jones, Arts Reporter

Iowa City’s Public Art Program has opened submissions for Iowa City’s first official online artists registry.

The registry is an online database where art-seekers can find and contact local art organizations as well as various individual artists who live, perform, or display their work in Iowa City. The database can be found through the Iowa City Public Art website. With no entrance fee for artists or costs for browsers of the database, the resource will be valuable for the art community, said Public Art Program Coordinator Marcia Bollinger.

The database was initially conceptualized two years ago during a Public Art Advisory Committee strategic planning meeting. Bollinger explained that one of the goals established was to work closely with local artists regarding art opportunities, as well as to provide a way for the public to have easy access to local talent, including painters, graphic designers, writers, actors, musicians, and more.

The registry will be used to contact artists about public art opportunities funded through the Iowa City Public Art Program, Bollinger said, adding that she hopes it will garner increased exposure to local artists. The database launched in early February, so it’s still a fairly new endeavor, she said.

“The registry just started accepting submissions about a month ago, so it’s hard to tell at this time how effective it will be in connecting the public with local artists or even local arts organizations with local artists,” Bollinger said.

Because of the large influx of applications, the Public Art Program is still working on putting all the newly accepted artists into the website at this time, Bollinger said. A search bar will allow users to find who has been registered, as well as their contact information, website, and examples of their work.

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For some, it will provide a unique and valuable resource for artists who have lost business during the COVID-19 pandemic, though the registry is still new and not many have received connections, said local painter Jeanne Moy.

The artist said she stumbled onto the registry through a local neighborhood forum. Moy usually sells her work in person, and was affected by the lack of customer traffic during the pandemic. She said she believes the registry will aid in increasing local artists’ visibility online.

“Getting one’s work locally seen can be very helpful,” Moy said. “I am encouraged to see a free source for artists to get their work out to the public.”

To become part of the registry, artists must submit a simple application indicating their medium and showing an example of their work. For arts businesses and organizations, the process is similar.

Katie Roche, development director for the Englert Theatre, also noted the ease of the submission process. She said the registry will be particularly useful in bringing more exposure.

“This registry will definitely help artists to make connections, especially during a time when we aren’t networking at shows,” Roche said. “I think artists and audiences will emerge hungry from this time of isolation. I hope that this list helps to blow the scene up and get people connected with some art.”