Art on the River

AOTR 2021 outlined

Art on the River Returns for 2021-22

Resiliency Flows is the theme for the 2021-22 exhibit, encouraging proposals that speak to the resiliency and fortitude needed to rebuild better as communities worldwide continue to rebound from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and grow in the ongoing fight for social justice.
Art on the River 2021-22

What is Art on the River?

It is access to art 

The Art on the River public art exhibit is located along the Mississippi Riverwalk in the Port of Dubuque. Anyone can stroll the picturesque walkway that stretches from the Star Brewery to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium past the Grand River Center on the shores of the mighty Mississippi to view a juried collection of sculptures that are changed out every year in late July. 

The works by talented artists from near and far are best-viewed from sunrise to sunset and can be accessed on foot or with mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. The exhibit is free to experience and informational brochures are available at informational kiosks located near the middle and the south end of the Riverwalk.  

It is an investment in our community

The City Council approved the creation of the Art on the River program In November 2005 with an initial CIP investment of $300,000 to sustain the project for 10 years. This innovative initiative has garnered community-wide support and national recognition from the arts and tourism industries, drawing creatives and visitors from around the country to Dubuque. The annual exhibit is now a permanent part of the City’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs operating budget and City Council added Art on the River Initiatives as a high priority in the 2020-2022 policy agenda. 

It is an opportunity for artists 

Each year we consult with industry experts and the City’s Arts and Culture Affairs Advisory Commission to select ten finalists from a highly competitive field of local and national artists. The final selections are unveiled at a Grand Opening in early August and are displayed for the entire year in one of Dubuque’s most visited locations, the Port of Dubuque. Selected artists receive $1,800 for exhibition of their artwork. Two cash awards are also available; a $1,000 Best of Show selected by the year’s juror and a $200 People’s Choice Award voted on by the public.

Sculptures can be for sale, with the Port of Dubuque functioning as an open-air, year-round sales gallery. Each piece for sale must remain on display for the entire year while the City actively works with local businesses and developers to find permanent homes for the works. The City retains 25% of the proceeds to support future Art on the River exhibitions and outreach programming. View and download the current sales sheet for contact the Arts and Cultural Affairs Coordinator for more information at 563-690-6059 or jbrant@cityofdubuque.org

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Contact Us

  1. Arts & Cultural Affairs


    Economic Development Office
    City Hall Annex
    1300 Main St
    Dubuque, IA 52001
    Ph: 563.589.4393

    Jenni Petersen-Brant
    Arts & Cultural Affairs Coordinator
    Ph: 563.690.6059
    Email