On Sunday, June 9, 2013, the first annual Iowa City Carnaval Parade commenced on Dubuque Street when participants marched out from the Chauncey Swan parking lot. Despite a rather rainy day at the start, the Iowa City Carnaval Parade drew a lot of attention from passersby and onlookers.
Sunday morning, a vibrant stream of marchers took the streets of downtown Iowa City, bringing a taste of island, Latin American, and global urban tradition to the annual Iowa Arts Festival. The gray skies didn’t stand a chance.
On June 9, Iowa City will officially become a Carnaval City. This Saturday, the city will host a Carnaval Celebration leading up to the June event in B1 North Hall from 1-5 p.m.
The event will feature a presentation by Carnaval costume designer Clary Salandy, plantain tasting, recipe discussion, Trinidad Carnaval and African dance demo by Modei Akyea, and a costume workshop. The Daily Iowan spoke with theater Associate Professor Loyce Arthur, the coordinator of the Iowa City Public Engagement Carnaval Arts Project and head of design for the Theater Department.
As part of Iowa City’s first carnaval celebration this summer, the University of Iowa Museum of Art will present two spring-time talks by carnaval designers. The first is by architect and interior designer Jaime Cezário. His free, public lecture will be held in the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chamber from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 25.
UI Professor Armando Duarte has been a choreographer at the University of Iowa since 1993, but a trip back to his native Brazil in 2008 is what inspired him to research the culture of Carnival. Armando organizes the Brazil Carnival winter study abroad program.
The energy and exuberance of carnaval’s vibrant music, joyful dance, and exhilarating visual displays will soon make its way into our city – and community members are encouraged to get involved in the action.
Several events in late October will allow Iowans to come together, share their unique stories, and participate in hands-on workshops to turn those stories into large-scale artistic masterpieces for the 2013 Iowa City Carnaval Parade.
What’s your favorite Iowa place? A University of Iowa professor is encouraging Iowans to bring their heritage, memories, and fondness for the state to a creative process that will inspire floats, costumes, and more for an Iowa City Carnaval Parade planned for June 2013.
“A carnaval parade is art on parade to celebrate both individuality and community,” says Carnaval organizer Loyce Arthur, who is also head of design, director of undergraduate studies, and associate professor in the UI Theatre Arts Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “In an increasingly technological and impersonal world, the carnaval arts can be used to bridge differences and celebrate human resilience and creativity.”
As a costume designer in the theater, I feel that my work often is a re-creation of memories. The actors and I create a life for the costumes and the characters, partly based in fact, and partly in imagination.
Working with other theater artists, we construct a world for the audience that they inhabit with the performers during a performance. That is the magic of theater — a shared existence in real time made up of memories and the suspension of disbelief.
There is great sweetness in remembering a work of art, particularly when it is an experience like a theater performance and you are surrounded by a crowd, a community of focused participants all sharing the same time and place.
That is why it is so vital to have theaters, museums and concert halls, both humble and grand, to experience art in community.