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On a cultural mission

March 13, 2019

Many say Andre Perry sparked a cultural Renaissance in Iowa City in 2006. 

That’s when he co-founded the Mission Creek Festival – a wildly popular annual event that celebrates performance, literature and community one week every April in locations throughout Iowa City. The festival touts itself as a “cross-medium” experience, where music lovers gain appreciation for new literature and writers find new music. 

“My goal is to have an impact on the broader community through the arts,” said Perry, who also serves as executive director of Iowa City’s 105-year-old Englert Theatre. “I’m driven by how we can leverage what’s happening culturally in pockets of Iowa and expand it into rural areas throughout the state.” 

Perry arrived on the scene in 2005 as a graduate student in the University of Iowa’s non-fiction writing program. He brought with him a well-rounded perspective formed by his D.C. upbringing and experiences in the San Francisco arts community. 

“No matter where you live,” Perry said, “events like arts festivals, plays and concerts bring people together. We need more of that.” 

Perry is an unabashed advocate for expanding access to the arts in Iowa City and throughout the state. Since taking the reins at Englert, he’s nearly doubled the number of events the venue hosts and added many free shows to help increase access to the arts. 

“I want everyone to feel welcome here,” Perry said. 

“The arts are for all, not just a portion of the population. In many ways, I see Iowa leading the way in access to the arts, and I’m proud to be a part of it.” 

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