The University of Iowa

WorldCanvass - Wellspring: The Power of Partnerships

WorldCAnvass Wellspring: The Power of Partnerships with stone fish statue

Hancher, the performing arts jewel at the University of Iowa, hosted WorldCanvass on September 10 for an outdoor celebration of community. Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague joined Chuck Swanson of Hancher, Russell Ganim of International Programs, and a host of performers and artists including Brian Williams of Step Afrika! and sculptor Colette Hosmer in an exploration of the power of partnerships to enrich and enliven community life. 

The event officially introduced the 30 granite fish that have been installed in the grassy expanse near the entrance to Hancher.  The fish are the central element of Hancher’s Wellspring project.  Conceived in America and made in China, the fish now live near the banks of the Iowa River and speak to the connective power of art. We talked with sculptor Colette Hosmer and "Fishtastic!" author Tess Weaver (Terri Gullickson) and heard how area school children became involved in making the fish feel at home.  The fish installation was celebrated in performances by Chinese dance and choral groups as well as the UI School of Music’s drum ensemble.

Hancher’s long dedication to partnerships that build community continues with Step Afrika! The driving rhythms and brilliant artistry of the dancers in Step Afrika! thrilled Iowa audiences during their recent appearance, so much so that Hancher invited Step Afrika! to participate in a week-long residency prior to this year’s Hancher performance on September 11. Those who attended heard a conversation between Brian Williams of Step Afrika!, Mayor Teague, and Hancher director Swanson before a special performance by Step Afrika! and the Oak Hill Elementary School Marimba Players from Clear Creek Amana.

Date: September 10, 2021

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Location: Outside Hancher Auditorium
141 Park Road, Iowa City

Free and open to the public.  The University of Iowa encourages the use of face masks and social distancing while on campus.

5:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Chinese Drum Ensemble, UI School of Music; director, Dan Moore

5:30 p.m. - 5:40 p.m. 

How partnerships bring a community together

Chuck Swanson—director, Hancher

Bruce Teague—mayor, City of Iowa City

Russell Ganim—dean, International Programs, University of Iowa

5:40 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Choral and dance performances sponsored by the Iowa City Area Chinese Association

Iowa City LanTin Cheongsam Club

Classic Chinese Dance Group

Sam HUANG Hao—opera singer

6:00 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.

Wellspring project

Chuck Swanson—director, Hancher

Colette Hosmer—sculptor

Tess Weaver (Terri Gullickson)—author

Mallory Hellman—director, Iowa Youth Writing Project

Lily Landolt—student, Borlaug Elementary School, Iowa City

6:20 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Traditional dances performed by Chinese Folk Dance Lovers

6:30 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.

Embracing diversity, building community

Chuck Swanson—director, Hancher

Brian Williams—Step Afrika!

Bruce Teague—mayor, City of Iowa City 

6:50 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Performance by Step Afrika! and Oak Hill Elementary School Marimba Players, Clear Creek Amana

International Programs thanks our partners in the production of this program: Hancher, UI School of Music, Welcoming Week sponsored by the City of Iowa City and the Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City Channel 4, Iowa City Area Chinese Association, Chinese Folk Dance Lovers, Iowa Youth Writing Project, Oak Hill Elementary School, and Step Afrika!  WorldCanvass programs are recorded as audio podcasts and are available on iTunes, the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), and the WorldCanvass website.  Videos are available on YouTube. WorldCanvass is produced by University of Iowa International Programs.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Amy Green in advance at or 319-335-1433.