Muscatine Art Center to host a series of free musical performances this fall

Classical guitarist Francis Verba. [City of Muscatine/Art Center]

The Muscatine Art Center will welcome an array of musicians for a series of free performances this fall. The opening concert will be held in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 18.

N. Borlaug – Study in pastel.

The first concert features the music of Francis Verba, a French classical guitarist with a wide and colorful repertoire of European and Latin American music. Verba plays a unique, custom-made guitar, and his revolutionary method for holding the instrument allows him to express profoundness and purity in his sounds, enchanting all of the senses.

“The Francis Verba concert has been many, many months in the making,” Melanie Alexander, Muscatine Art Center Director, said. “We are delighted to share his talents with the Muscatine community. His performance promises to be an experience unlike any other the Muscatine Art Center has offered before.”

Verba has been awarded first prizes in several national and international competitions. He has performed in over 50 countries and served as the Executive Director of the highly prestigious “Concours International de Guitare de Radio France” guitar competition.

In addition to the performance, concertgoers will be treated to the visual delights of painted portraits by Cecile Houel, whose portrait of the Dalai Lama was included in the Muscatine Art Center’s 2020 invitational exhibition, “Hard Won, Not Done”.

Leymah Gbowee 2011 Laureate.

Houel is a French-American artist who has dedicated her life to her art, pushing technical limits but staying true to her own artistic identity. In 2014, Houel began painting portraits of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. She paints very personalized portraits of the famous Laureates using the oil medium.

The Francis Verba concert is presented free of charge thanks to a grant from the Mary Jo and Richard Stanley Human Conditions Fund through the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. Reservations are not required.

Other upcoming concerts at the Muscatine Art Center include the Mad Creek Mudcats on October 2, the Japanese Taiko Drum performance by Japan America Society of Iowa’s Soten Taiko on October 15, Ballet Folklorico on October 20, and LADAMA in partnership with Quad City Arts on October 27. Details about these performances will be announced in the coming weeks.