Art on the River

Point of Reference

Dubuque's 2020-21 Art on the River Exhibit Canceled

The City of Dubuque Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs has announced that the 2020-21 Art on the River public art exhibit has been canceled due to City budget constraints related to COVID-19 revenue impacts. Read the full announcement at, and check back for updates.

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 which are changed out every year in late July. 

The works by talented artists from near and far are best viewed 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 at 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 nationwide 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. 

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. The artists selected receive $1,500 for displaying their artwork for 1-year in one of Dubuque’s most visited locations, the Port of Dubuque. 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.

In addition to being on display, sculptures can be for sale, allowing the Port of Dubuque to function as an open-air, year-round sales gallery. Each piece that is 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 keeps a percentage of the proceeds of each sale to fund future Art on the River exhibitions and outreach programming. Click here to view and download the Sales Sheet for the current exhibit or contact the Arts and Cultural Affairs Coordinator for sale 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: 563.589.4393

    Jenni Petersen-Brant
    Arts & Cultural Affairs Coordinator
    Ph: 563.690.6059