New exhibitions on view for the annual Muscatine Art Center Ice Cream Social

(City of Muscatine)

Visitors to this year’s Annual Ice Cream Social are in for a real treat, and in more ways than one. The Annual Ice Cream Social will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 30, on the grounds of the Muscatine Art Center. Delicious ice cream, games, and music are just one of the treat’s this year.

The Muscatine Art Center will be opening the “Fashionably Dressed” exhibition just in time for the free ice cream social event. “Fashionably Dressed” features work by Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, and other artists recognized around the world. The exhibition pairs drawings, paintings, and prints of women, men, and children with historic clothing from the Muscatine Art Center’s permanent collection. This “not-to-be-missed” exhibition is on view through September 22, 2024.

And yet there is more.

Exhibitions on the second floor of the historic Musser Mansion feature highlights from Jim Burr’s Muscatine history collection and photographs of the Iowa State Fair by Kurt Ullrich.

Local collector, and former Muscatine Art Center Board President, Jim Burr collected all things Muscatine. Since the time of Burr’s passing two years ago, his estate has gifted more than a thousand items from his wide-ranging collection of local artifacts. From Skateland Roller Club to Central State Bank and the Muscatine Cricket Club to Hetzler Dairy, the exhibit of Burr’s collection is a journey back in time with businesses and places locals will remember with a few surprises from long ago.

Meanwhile, photographer Kurt Ullrich’s images of the Iowa State Fair transports visitors to more recent Iowa summers. Visitors can meet Ullrich during the Annual Ice Cream Social on June 30 from 1 to 4 p.m.

It is not summer in Muscatine without the Annual Ice Cream Social, and the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center invites the local community to celebrate the arts during this free event that dates back to 1979.

Crusin’ is the featured live music for this year’s event., and will perform from 1:15 to 3:45 p.m. During their intermission, the Muscatine Civic Chorale will entertain the crowd from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Other family-friendly activities include games in the Japanese Garden, window painting, building with big blue blocks from Musser Public Library, studio projects for kids, and learning about wildlife with Muscatine County Conservation.

“The Annual Ice Cream Social is also the perfect time to explore the rehabilitated Japanese Garden,” Melanie Alexander, Director of the Muscatine Art Center, said. “Laura Musser McColm had the garden installed in 1930, and the Muscatine Art Center staff led a massive effort to bring back the historic features of the garden.”

Work in the garden concluded in fall 2023, and the rehabilitation project was recognized by Preservation Iowa with a “Preservation at its Best” award earlier in June. The garden project was one of seven historic projects in the state to receive the award in 2024.

Visitors can expect to see their friends and neighbors at the event while also helping raise funds for the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center and its mission to support educational programs at the Muscatine Art Center. Admission to the Ice Cream Social is free of charge. In addition to selling ice cream, the Friends organization is offering slices of pie, brownies, cookies, and other treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

As always, those who participate in the family-friendly bike ride will receive a token for a free ice cream during the event. The bike ride is free of charge. Riders will depart from the Charles and Jean Harper Pavilion on Houser Street at 1:00 p.m. and stop at the Muscatine Art Center. The Melon City Bike Club and Harper’s Cycle and Fitness are the organizers of the bike ride.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit Muscatine Art Center for more information about programs and events and to download a quarterly newsletter.


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