Two crowd pleasing exhibits open May 29 at Muscatine Art Center

The Muscatine Art Center opens two crowd-pleasing exhibitions on May 29 that are sure to engage and inspire local residents and visitors alike. The two traveling exhibitions mark a return to more normal operations at the Muscatine Art Center following a period of reduced hours in response to Covid-19.

“Alterations. Tailored solutions to climate change,” an exhibition by artist and environmental educator Nancy Judd features 15 sculptures that appear to be high-fashion couture but are actually made from garbage, litter, and objects found in nature.

“Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray” is an exhibition of photographic portraits of Frida Kahlo, providing an intimate look at Mexico’s most prolific and well-known female artist.

“We continuously seek out exhibitions and special programs that have potential to generate buzz among local residents,” Melanie Alexander, Director of the Muscatine Art Center, said. “After the challenges of the last 14 months, opening these exhibitions feels like an especially bright moment.”

Visitors to the “Alterations” exhibitions will appreciate the testing of the boundaries between fashion and trash by Nancy Judd. Each of her sculptures takes between 100 to 650 hours to create, and her goal is that they will last for 100 years. Judd loves the challenge of making garbage elegant and inspiring people to consider how we use our limited resources by looking differently at waste. In the exhibition, each sculpture is paired with a science-based solution for reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

“Alterations” will be on view at the Muscatine Art Center through October 31, 2021.

Through the Lens (JPG)Meanwhile, in the “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray” exhibition, visitors see Kahlo from the perspective of Muray who was her friend, lover, and confidant. Muray’s photographs bring to light Kahlo’s life, her deep interest in her Mexican heritage, and her connections to those with whom she shared a close friendship. Approximately 40 photographic portraits of Kahlo taken by Muray from 1937 to 1946 comprise the exhibition. The traveling exhibition was organized by the Nickolas Muray Photo Archives and is circulated through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions.

The Muscatine Art Center staff is creating programs that connect with both of the exhibitions.

“We worked closely with Nancy Judd to bring “Alterations” to Muscatine,” Alexander said. “It has been such a privilege to discuss why and how she creates each piece in the exhibition that we are finding ways to connect her directly with local students through online presentations.”

Although details are still being finalized, efforts are underway to bring Judd back to Muscatine for some in-person programs this fall.

The staff is taking requests for group tours and special programs on a first-come, first-served basis. Educators, group tour organizers, and others are encouraged to call the Muscatine Art Center well in advance as the summer schedule is filling up. Likewise, public programs have participation limits, but the audience needs and location for each program factor into the allowable number of participants.

Advanced reservations are not needed to tour the exhibitions so long as the size of the group is fewer than 10 and the group does not require assistance from staff. Each visitor is expected to wear a face covering and observe social distancing. More details about the exhibitions, programs, and operations are provided at

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit or call 563-263-8282 for more information about programs and events.