Artist Finalist Selected for Public Art at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center

Proposed sculpture by Stephen Johnson of a musical themed sculpture


The Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Foundation and the Marshalltown Community School District/High School, in partnership with the Arts & Culture Alliance, are excited to announce Stephen T. Johnson was chosen as the finalist for his work of art “Scherzo” to be permanently installed at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center later this fall.

The “Scherzo” sculpture will consist of colorful abstract forms based on musical notations such as the bass clef, the forte f and musical notes, plus three kinetic mouth-shaped forms at the top that celebrate the rhythms, sounds and ideas generated within this outstanding performing arts venue. The title “Scherzo” refers to a short orchestral piece of music, especially in the second or third movement of a symphony or sonata. Scherzos are vigorously composed and are typically light and playful in character with intensely interesting, fresh, and familiar themes.

“It is with great eagerness and excitement that I begin the process of creating a lasting artwork for the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center.  The dynamic twists and turns along with kinetic features is my most ambitious sculptural work to date. I must also acknowledge the care and attention that Executive Director Amber Danielson and community members have shown in our conversations regarding this commission and look forward to many more over the coming months as the work unfolds.  I hope that my piece titled “Scherzo” will make the city proud, serve its function as a beacon of light and joy for the Center and will contribute in its way, to the rich tapestry of public artwork in Marshalltown,” states artist Stephen Johnson.

Stephen Johnson’s rich body of work forges connections between words, objects, and ideas. His art spans a broad range of concepts and contexts and can be seen in site-specific public art commissions, gallery and museum exhibitions, and original award-winning children’s books such as Alphabet City, a Caldecott Honor, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

Among Johnson’s public art is a 70-foot mosaic mural at the DeKalb Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, New York, a 60-foot mosaic mural at the Universal City Metro Station in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, and 33 glass panels for the Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas. His latest commission was three large glass mosaic murals for the Lenexa City Center Library in metropolitan Kansas City.

“A special thank you to the selection committee members consisting of: Marshalltown community members; Marshalltown Community School District students, staff, and board members; Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Foundation; and the Marshalltown Public Art Committee. This project exemplifies a collaborative effort to support public art in places of social gatherings, creating a sense of community for all to enjoy,” states Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson.

The Marshalltown Performing Arts Center regularly includes performances by the Marshalltown High School Show Choir, Orchestra, Chorus, Band, Jazz Band, annual dance studios’ performances, and by Live on Stage, which hosts world-class performing artists from all over the world. The Marshalltown Performing Arts Center is a pride point for showcasing and amplifying the arts and culture in Marshalltown.


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