9th annual Celebrate Iowa gala goes virtual, featuring Brazilian 2wins, Blake Shaw, more
Though Iowa's art and entertainment sector has been among the hardest hit, economically, by the ongoing pandemic, those involved in the sector have been quick to evolve.
And so cancelations have turned into transformations, including in the case of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs' 2020 virtual gala.
"It's really been an opportunity to showcase Iowa's history, art, culture and media in a way that really (showcases) people from across the state," Chris Kramer, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "We've always made it uniquely Iowan."
Though varied in form, this year's event is no different in function as the state transitions into its 175th anniversary of statehood.
Tickets for the virtual event range from $25 for the gala from 7-8 p.m. to $250 for an all-access pass for the entire evening (with a $100 option for the gala and cultural mixer). Proceeds will benefit the Iowa history and educational programs provided by the State Historical Society of Iowa and the State Historical Museum of Iowa.
A full schedule with price points is available online, at IowaCulture.gov/gala.
Events throughout the evening put Iowa's culture front and center, including a dedication to Iowa-born, Oscar-winning actress Donna Reed ("It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Donna Reed Show").
► This time last year: 'It's a Wonderful Life' arrives as FilmScene's first 35 mm film
The evening will also include a performances by Blake Shaw, filmed in Iowa City's FilmScene theater, and The Brazillian 2wins, recorded at the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa.
Others featured in evening's program range from Des Moines' Stevie LaWarne and Waukee's Poni Lejukole to Centerville's Simon Estes, Iowa’s first Opera Hall of Fame inductee.
Locations these varied guests and hosts will appear in are also aimed at displaying a tapestry of Iowa's culture, including sites like Sioux City's recently restored Warrior Hotel and Clear Lake's Surf Ball Room, where the late Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson gave their final performance in 1959.
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The entire program serves not only to support the arts in Iowa, but as a demonstration and declaration that it continues, despite the historic challenges faced by so many in 2020.
“I think just trying to put something together is always a challenge," Kramer said, "but we felt like people really missed arts and culture and live performances.
"This is one way to have people come together and really celebrate the state.”