Since 1973, dancers, musicians, writers, actors, and visual artists in over 300 residencies have reached more than 2,000,000 Quad City children and adults through the Visiting Artist Series.
The Visiting Artist Series is a unique residency program that brings professional performing artists to the Midwest, offering a six-county, two-state rural and urban region the opportunity to see world-class performers. Every season brings new artists to our community. From theater to music of all types, our audiences experience free or low-cost live performances they could only see if they traveled to major metropolitan areas. Each residency is designed to be interactive. The artists present educational outreach performances in school and community sites, followed by a longer public performance at the end of their stay. To create a substantial and sustained impact, in-depth study guides created for each residency introduce students and teachers to the art form that will be presented. We are the 1999 recipient of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence. The Visiting Artist Series celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013-14, and the series has a strong history of presenting quality arts programming. Our program has been used as a model across the US, and international artists have incorporated segments of our format abroad.
The primary goal of the Visiting Artist Series is to expose and educate residents by broadening their understanding of the arts through interaction with artists from various cultural and artistic backgrounds. Each artist or ensemble participates in a one- to two-week residency, providing in-depth and often repeated contact between the artist and audience. They give 45 minute educational performances in three schools or community sites each day, creating personal interaction between the artists and area residents, from children to senior citizens, the underserved to the socially active. Local artists have the opportunity to learn from professional performers both in how they present themselves on stage and by meeting them in person at outreach activities. Most sites only receive one artist visit per season. Our series is the only one of its kind and number of activities in the region.