a portrait of Stephen smiling with arms crossed in front of a colorful abstract painting
Artist Name

Stephen T. Johnson

Artist Info



Performing Arts Center
1602 S 2nd Ave

Project Sponsor(s)

Marshalltown Performing Arts Center

Installation Date

June 2022

Project Category
  • Public Art
  • Sculpture/3D


Scherzo consists 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. The piece is 18’ tall and is painted steel by Riggs Fabrication.

The selection committee was made up of representatives from the Marshalltown Community School District staff and school board, Marshalltown Performing Arts Center foundation, Marshalltown Public Art Committee, students and community at large. The call to artist received almost 50 applications from all over the United States. The committee narrowed it down to 3 finalists and after extensive community engagement, Stephen T. Johnson of Lawrence, Kansas was selected.

“I am deeply passionate about the collaborative nature of public art: art that transforms what may be considered mundane space into an emblematic and meaningful site which strengthens a sense of community and of place.” – Stephen T. Johnson

Project Goals: 

  • Celebrate, ignite and amplify the arts
  • Provide a ‘wow factor’ which invites people to enter the facility
  • Pay tribute to the long-standing history and talented artists who have performed in the facility
  • Balance and exemplify the support for the arts alongside the existing support of athletics on the Marshalltown High School Campus


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