Local emerging artist to design bus stop bench in Iowa City South District

The new bus stop bench is to be constructed in Iowa City’s South District Neighborhood. The bench will feature art from an Iowa City artist and will be installed by fall 2023.


Alex Snyder

Iowa City bus stop #7126 is seen on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. The stop will be the location of new art work.

Kufre Ituk, News Reporter

The City of Iowa City is searching for an Iowa City artist to design a bench for a new bus stop along Highway 6 East in the South District Neighborhood. 

The project was announced earlier this month and is a partnership between the Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee and the South District Neighborhood Association. 

The artist applications were due Monday, and a selection for the artist will be announced on Jan. 31. The artist will be selected by a sub-committee formed of South District Neighborhood residents, the project’s mentor, and the Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee.

The project mentor will help to guide the artist in the design, construction, and installation of the bench.

Jessica Bovey, South District Neighborhood Association’s leadership committee member, which meets every month to discuss projects in the neighborhood, said the bench’s art will focus on the diversity that exists in the area. 

Bovey said the association is committed to helping improve the aesthetics and accessibility of the neighborhood. 

“For several years, in our different neighborhood-wide meetings, people have communicated very clearly that we want more art down here that represents us as a diverse community,” Bovey said. 

The south district neighborhood, a neighborhood within the Iowa City growth boundary south of Highway 6 and east of the Iowa River, is a diverse area of Iowa City that is home to people of different cultural and racial groups, gender, age, religion, people of varied economic statuses and other varied groups, Bovey said. 

“We’re not like the rest of the city. We’re really excited to have a functional piece of artwork,” Bovey said. “ The artwork will be representative of what makes us a unique part of the city which is super exciting to us.”  

Wendy Ford, City of Iowa City economic development coordinator, said the city is paying for the project with the city’s public art funds. 

“There’s a small budget reserved for public art every year in the City of Iowa City,” Ford said. “This funding is from the prior fiscal year. It’s part of the city general fund.”

The budget for the project can’t surpass $12,000, which includes compensation for the artist, project mentor,  and supplies for the creation and installment of the bench.

“The South District Neighborhood Association was hoping that through a program like this, with an emerging artist who is mentored and gains those skills, perhaps they could share skills in the future and mentor other artists,” Ford said. 

Ford notes that this project is to help the development of emerging artists with the help of project mentors in the area.

“That’s new for a public art project in Iowa City,” Ford said. “So it’s exciting, having the project mentor being able to help a newer artist learn the ropes.”