New Documentary Spotlights Pioneering Iowa Artist

The artist and University of Iowa alumna Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) is the subject of a new film. Photo: Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett, who studied with Grant Wood at the University of Iowa at the start of her own world-famous art career, is the subject of a new documentary.

Standing Strong: Elizabeth Catlett,” by the Iowa City filmmaker Kevin Kelley, will screen at 1 p.m. April 15 at FilmScene at the Chauncey in Iowa City. The documentary tells the story of the artist, whose grandparents were enslaved and who earned the University of Iowa’s first master’s degree in fine arts, in 1941, at a time when she and other Black students were not allowed to live on campus. (In 2017, Catlett Dorm was built in her honor.)

After the film screening, you can stick around for a panel discussion, gala reception and rare showing of Catlett prints in the visual arts classroom at the UI Stanley Museum of Art. Another screening and panel discussion is planned for 1 p.m. April 16.

Funding for the documentary was provided by a Greenlight Grant from Produce Iowa, the state office of film and media, and the Iowa Arts Council, both divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.


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