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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release November 02, 2012

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

SHSI's "History for Lunch" lecture series returns Wednesday

Professor Laura Rigal discusses "Moen and the Mural" and urban renewal history

DES MOINES – The State Historical Society of Iowa’s “History for Lunch” lecture series returns next week with a discussion about urban renewal in Iowa City during the past 40 years.

University of Iowa Associate Professor Laura Rigal will discuss “Moen and the Mural: From Urban Renewal to Occupy Iowa City, 1972-2012,” noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, at the State Historical Society of Iowa, Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Call 319-335-3911 for more information.

This fall, construction began in downtown Iowa City on a 14-story, multi-use building designed by the Moen Group and located beside a historic public space known as “Black Hawk Mini-Park.”

Reclaimed from the rubble of urban renewal in the early 1970s, Black Hawk Mini-Park took its name from the Sauk leader, Black Hawk, whose image, in the form of a large mural, gave political and social meaning to the site.

Today, the Moen project at Black Hawk Mini-Park opens important questions about the differences between the urban renewal that roiled American cities (and produced the Black Hawk mural) in the 1960s and 1970s versus urban redevelopment projects today, when new construction is sponsored by municipal, rather than federal, programs, and public art has new roles.

The Moen construction site also reopened questions about historic preservation when bulldozers revealed an intact remnant of the 1972 Black Hawk mural consisting of three buffalo facing the park’s central image, which is now lost.

In her discussion, Rigal will examine the cultural and political legacy of urban renewal today as downtown redevelopment assumes new meanings and functions under changing economic and aesthetic conditions.

Rigal is associate professor in the departments of English and American Studies at the University of Iowa. She is currently working on the environmental and cultural history of Ralston Creek in Iowa City.



The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.


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