Cultural Center renovations and exhibits completed for the Iowa State Fair

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
Cultural Center renovations and exhibits completed for the Iowa State Fair

The completed three-phase renovation of the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center debuted at the opening of the 2014 Iowa State Fair last week. Improvements to the building include new exhibit space, improved traffic flow, additional public restrooms and air conditioning.

For the first time in several years, the building’s third floor is open to the public. The fully renovated floor hosts new exhibit space for the Fair’s popular fine art and photography displays as well as daily programming on the new artists’ demonstration stage. In recognition of the Photography Salon’s 75th year, it features only black and white entries, including submissions in this year’s theme class saluting Ansel Adams.

The three-phase building renovations also include a focus on improved accessibility with expanded walkways, new ADA compliant family restroom facilities, two working elevators and air conditioning. Additional improvements include enhancements to the courtyard, including a paved plaza and a new exhibit by the Greater Des Moines Public Arts Foundation.

The Cultural Center showcases Bill Woolston’s 1975 photo essay Iowa’s Fair in the atrium as well as the state’s largest art show with exhibits in the areas of fine arts, photography, creative arts, wood projects and doll house and miniature room. More than 2,500 exhibits are on display.

Fairgoers can let their creative flags fly and try their hands at making art. Make and Take projects available in the Cultural Center include magnets, wire jewelry and name bracelets. Young fairgoers can also participate in fun hands-on activities at Art Attack in the Cultural Center courtyard.

Live demonstrations and working exhibits also offer Fairgoers the opportunity to see art in action, with artists demonstrating such art forms as wheel thrown pottery, glass fusing, china painting and more.

For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.