East Central Iowa

The Iowa City Expedition-Part One: Public Art

Johnson County (Our 3rd County!)

What happens when the jock world collides with art world? Well, in the Iowa City area you get Herky on Parade. What happens when the city needs to refinish their public benches? In Iowa City they call on their local artists. What happens when local musicians get inspired to sharpen their musical chops? They head to downtown Iowa City and belly up to one of the public pianos. Welcome to part one of the Iowa City Expedition. Sweet, sweet public art!

Let the great Herky hunt begin! 2014 marks the second round of Herky statues, designed by local artists, that are on display all over the Iowa City area. The last HOP was in 2004 and proved to be very successful. With this only happening every 10 years, you better get here before late August when the statues are auctioned off and will be scattered all over Iowa and the country. The Iowa City-Coralville Area Visitors Bureau makes it very easy to locate Herky. You can go to herkyonparade2.com or stop by the ICCAVB office and pick up a map and shop for authentic HOP gear. Team Goodvin started on the southwest side of Iowa City and ended at The Eastern Iowa Airport near Cedar Rapids. Herky can be found in Iowa City, University Heights, Coralville and North Liberty. They are peppered in all the main business districts and in recreational areas such as malls, city parks, UofI campus and Kinnick stadium. Other than the general traveling expenses, HOP is totally free! Our kids have enjoyed checking off all 83 statues from their maps, and they have learned an incredible amount about art, their community, and a whole new appreciation for the hard work of these great artists that have give so much to this area. Because of them, they have turned Johnson County into one big museum. Remember, HOP ends in late August. Good hunting!

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Somedays you swear you can hear ole Amadeus himself rocking out on one of the public pianos. And sometimes you want to beg for mercy and admit to the the most current crime you didn’t commit just to get the dead cat to stop crying. All in a typical day in the summer of Iowa City.


You can take a nap on someone’s painting? Yes you can! Read a book, blog your butt off or inhale burrito! We don’t mind and neither do the artists. Each summer, the IC benches are re-primed and contracted out to anyone who has an artistic itch that needs scratched. It’s always sad to your favorite bench get painted over but it’s also great to see what comes next!


This family knows how to pick their spot! You can play the piano, enjoy the bench and listen to Tooty Fruity all at the same time! The spot is just outside the public library and around tons of places to eat, play and splash in the public fountain or enjoy a snack from the nearby public gardens.


The Herky’s, benches and pianos are only a taste of the art scene here in Iowa City. Get to IC and take it all in! Here endeth part one of the IC Expedition….


Please take time to visit……

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