Art on the River

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The 2022-23 Exhibit Is Open!

Eleven new sculptures have been selected for the 16th edition of Art on the River. The theme for the 2022-23 exhibit is “Crossing Bridges” and encouraging artworks that speak to physical and metaphorical bridges, and how those ‘bridges’ serve to connect us across divides, help us overcome barriers, and foster economic growth and community prosperity. Read more.

Each year, the new exhibit opening is held on the first Friday in August at the Grand River Center and Mississippi Riverwalk.

If you're interested in applying for a future Art on the River call, subscribe to our Opportunities for Creatives mailing list.

Crossing Bridges Exhibit Information

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

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Contact Us

  1. Arts & Cultural Affairs

    Economic Development Office
    City Hall Annex
    1300 Main St
    Dubuque, IA 52001
    Ph: 563.690.6059


  2. Laura Merrick  |  email
    Communications and Grants Administration Assistant

    Economic Development Office
    City Hall Annex
    1300 Main Street, Dubuque, IA 52001

    Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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