What's The Story?

By Katelyn McBride for Iowa Now

Carnaval workshops will turn Iowa stories into massive works of art

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.


DeFreitas’ Lionfish King carnaval costume was featured as part of the artist’s six-month installation at the Seattle Art Museum.

Award-winning carnaval costume designer Fitzgerald DeFreitas will lead two workshops to introduce sculpting and wire bending techniques, which form the structure of the 15-20 feet costumes, puppets, and masks that are typical of carnaval. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, DeFreitas has over 50 years of costume creation and design experience and is dedicated to promoting the art of costuming through his presentations across North America.

To kick off this wave of carnaval-related events, Steve McGuire will lead a workshop to illuminate the importance of storytelling in our lives and in human societies. McGuire is a professor of 3D design and metal arts, head of dimensional practice, and studio division coordinator in the School of Art and Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The following events are all free and open to the public (See the event poster):

  • “What's The Story?” storytelling workshop with Steve McGuire – 4-6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, 1117 University Capitol Centre (R.S.V.P. to sarolta-graves@uiowa.edu if attending)
  • Open mic event: 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, The Yacht Club, 13 S Linn Street, Iowa City
  • Carnaval sculpting/wire bending and carnaval costume construction workshop with Fitzgerald DeFreitas, 4-8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26, North Hall, Room B1
  • Fitzgerald DeFreitas: presentation of his work as a carnaval designer – 10-11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 27,1117 University Capitol Centre
  • Carnaval Workshop – 12-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, North Hall, Room B1 (R.S.V.P. to sarolta-graves@uiowa.edu if attending)
  • Open mic event: storytelling hosted by Dawn Price – 7-9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, Prairie Lights, 15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City
  • Carnaval costume construction workshop, continued – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28,North Hall, Room B1
  • Presentation of finished workshop costumes and theatre performance by the Department of Theatre Arts’ Darwin Turner Action Theatre Company of "Carnaval Time is Here For You And Me or How Hummingbird Saved Carnaval" – 1:30-2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, The Iowa Children’s Museum, Coral Ridge Mall

This project is supported by an International Programs Major Projects Award and a University of Iowa Arts and Humanities Initiative grant.

To stay updated on future Iowa City carnaval activities, visit Iowa City Carnaval Project.

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