Free Educational Curriculum Featuring Public Art Giants Available Nationwide

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Council Bluffs, Iowa is a Midwestern city with a growing repuation for public art. Through a series of art education posters, this public arts initiative is now sharing its ambitious public art collection with teachers and students nationwide. Teachers say art work by Jonathan Borofsky, Jun Kaneko, Brower Hatcher, William King and Deborah Masuoka is a great tool to inspire creativity in young people.

IWPA poster featuring Molecule Man by Jonathan Borofsky

When my students can explore works of art by such important artists, they may see their own creativity in a new way. For an art teacher, these materials are inspiring tools.

School children could soon learn about a towering aluminum giant named “Molecule Man”. The giant sized sculpture is one of five public art sites in Council Bluffs , Iowa, a Midwestern city with a growing reputation for public art by internationally known sculptors. The art is now featured in new educational curriculum from Iowa West Public Art, an initiative of the Iowa West Foundation. The curriculum was developed in partnership with the University of Nebraska at Omaha Center for Innovation in Arts Education (CIAE) and based on standards developed by the Kennedy Center. It is intended to make public art come alive for students with eye-catching, informative visuals and a multi-disciplinary teaching guide.

The expanded education materials include a new poster series now available for use in public and private schools nationwide. Art teachers in Council Bluffs Community Schools are already presenting the series of five posters to stimulate discussion about the works of art and the creative process in classrooms. The posters feature the sculptures of highly respected artists with international reputations including Jun Kaneko, Jonathan Borofsky , Brower Hatcher, William King and Deborah Masuoka.

Each poster presents dramatic views of a public art installation with a curriculum that can be customized for a variety of educational settings such as schools, libraries, museums and art centers. The curriculum exposes young people to the artist's educational and artistic background, the medium and materials, the artist vision, architectural features, key vocabulary and cultural connections. The curriculum provides suggestions for many small group exercises to facilitate student exploration.

Art teachers are happy to share the collection with their students. Carrie Pope teaches sixth grade at Wilson and Kirn Middle Schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “When my students can explore works of art by such important artists, they may see their own creativity in a new way. For an art teacher, these materials are inspiring tools.”

Iowa West Foundation CEO and President Todd Graham says the new curriculum is a natural extension of Council Bluffs ’ growing identity as a home for amazing public art. Graham added, “We want to share our public art collection without boundaries. As an educational tool, the poster series encourages exploration of public art and its connection to a bigger world. Offering educational curriculum is an important part of the vision outlined by Council Bluffs’ Public Art Master Plan of 2004 to nurture an environment in which creativity is ever present in our daily lives.”

Through the IWPA web site, the public art poster series and curriculum is now available for immediate download. School districts, interested teachers and parents may also request free sets of art posters by visiting the IWPA website.To order or download, go to and click on the Educator Resources tab.

Iowa West Public Art (IWPA) is an initiative of the Iowa West Foundation. Founded in 2004, IWPA is guided by a community-driven Public Art Master Plan which designates over fifty public art sites in the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa. IWPA’s vision for the year 2015 is a community with a national and international reputation for high quality art that attracts visitors from all over the world and fuels economic development. Find out more at

The Iowa West Foundation is an independent 501(c) (3) organization that makes grants in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska. The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest community- based private foundations in the Midwest. Its grants have improved the lives of thousands of citizens in more than 100 communities.


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Loretta Carroll
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