Iowa’s park system began 100 years ago when Backbone State Park was dedicated on May 28, 1920, and has grown to encompass 72 parks and forests across the state. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks in 2020, 20 faculty and graduate student artists from three of Iowa State University’s colleges — Design, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences — were matched with 20 state parks and created artwork during summer residencies from April through August 2019.
State parks selected for the project represent diverse ecological, geological and cultural experiences that make Iowa unique. Exhibitions featuring the paintings, sculptures, textiles and other art forms inspired by the parks toured the state throughout 2020-2021.
"20 Artists, 20 Parks" is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University College of Design, and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.