Join your friends for the Winter Blues Gathering and Potluck on Sat. Feb. 7!

The Mississippi String Band

The Mississippi String Band

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council will kick off its 2015 music schedule with a Blues Gathering and Potluck on Saturday February 7 at the First Street Community Center in Mount Vernon. The event , which is a fundraiser for the Arts Council, will feature music by the Mississippi String Band. A donation of $10 per person is requested.

The potluck will begin at 5 pm in the library of the Community Center, with music following at 7 pm in the Uptown Theatre in the Center. Pulled pork sandwiches will be provided and guests are asked to bring a dish of their choosing to share. People are encouraged to bring their own beverage. Beverages consumed in the theatre must be in Uptown Theatre mugs to prevent spillage. The resusable mugs are $5 and available at the event. People who already have a mug should bring it; they don’t have to purchase another.

Donations to the event can be made by credit card through our online payment portal.

The Mississippi String Band is Dale Beeks, Bill “Cricket” Davis, and Dave Hummel. They play a wide variety of music, including, they promise, some blues. The lineup includes guitar, bass, Dobro, fiddle and the best harmonies around. Davis and Hummel are in the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council promotes artists and the arts in all its forms in the local community. Its programs include the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival, scholarships for local high school students, after school programs for local school children, musical events, and grants to local artists. The MVAAC is also a partner in presenting Mount Vernon’s Chalk the Walk Festival. For more information, visit or email


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2015 Lincoln Highway Arts Festival set for September 19

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council has set Saturday, September 19 as the date for the 2015 Lincoln Highway Arts Festival. The ’15 festival will be the event’s 10th anniversary.

“We’re going to make this the best Lincoln Highway Arts Festival ever,” said MVAAC president Steve Maravetz. “We plan to reach out to all our local artists to encourage them to participate next September,” Maravetz said. “We also plan to expand our efforts to recruit artists from around the region, and we’ve created a video to help us do that. We also want to add some additional activities that appeal to families. We want it to be a fun event for everyone.”

Next year’s festival is a week earlier than in the past few years. The date is set after the council reviews the schedule of other events in the area, and with an eye on the Cornell and Iowa football schedules.

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MVAAC invites artists to a reception for Tony Plaut

Friends and colleagues,

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council invites you to a reception we’re having to thank Tony Plaut for his years of service as a member and president of the Arts Council.

The reception will be from 4 to 6 pm Sunday, Nov. 2 at the home of Steve Maravetz and Dixie Collins, 218 Seventh Avenue NW in Mount Vernon.

Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend.

This will be a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and make new ones within the local arts/creative community. There will be some wine, some non-alcoholic beverages, and some gustatory delights.

No RSVP necessary. Come as you are. We hope to see you there on Nov. 2!

Mount Vernon Area Arts Council

Steve Maravetz

Denise Murphy

Danielle Ameling

MB Freeman

Dale Beeks

Carol Dillard

Katrina Garner

Leland Turner

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Black Sheep/Waubeek Trackers show a huge success!

Incredible night last night at the Black Sheep/Waubeek Trackers concert. It was a benefit for the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council. The Trackers were awesome and the Sheep caught magic in a bottle. Thanks to everyone who came out, apologies to those who couldn’t get a ticket, an a HUGE shout out to the bands, and to Dale Beeks and Gabe  Baillargeon who handled the sound board. It was like old home week for the two venerable bands. THANKS!

BS1 CarlisMike CarlisMike1 Dixie1 Dixie2 MVAAC displa y Patty WT

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Black Sheep/Waubeek Trackers show is sold out

We’re happy to announce that the August 9 benefit performance by Black Sheep and the Waubeek Trackers is a sellout. Thanks to everyone who purchased tickets…we’ll see you at the show!

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2014 Lincoln Highway Arts Festival Call for Artists

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Lincoln Highway Arts Festival on Saturday, Sept. 27 in downtown Mount Vernon. The show features original work in many media. The entry fee is again $60, and $30 for emerging artists. More information and online application materials are available by clicking the paint can at right. The downtown is closed to traffic during the arts festival.

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MVAAC Strategic Plan now available

The new MVAAC 2014-15 Strategic Plan has been adopted and is now available to the public. The strategic plan was developed by the MVAAC under the direction of MVAAC Vice President Denise Murphy, a trained strategic planner.

The process began in May 2013 with a community survey. Over the course of the next several months, the MVAAC hammered out changes and clarifications in the document. The plan calls for the MVAAC to focus on six areas over the next two years:

1.       Arts-related opportunities which in turn enhance the community through the arts.
2.       Art Events (Festivals and Shows)
3.       More Art in Public Places
4.       Art Education
5.       Marketing the Arts
6.       Board of Directors and Structure of Organization



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Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Highway Arts Festival announces a call for emerging artists to exhibit

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council, primary organizer of Mount Vernon’s annual Lincoln Highway Arts Festival, is once again offering artists who have never exhibited in an art festival the opportunity to participate in this year’s event, which will be held on Saturday September 27.

“Preparing for your first festival can be a little intimidating for an artist,” says Tony Plaut, of the MVAAC. “The Lincoln Highway Arts Festival has been the first public exhibit for quite a few artists and we’d like to expand that,” says Plaut, who is professor of art at Cornell College in Mount Vernon.

The entry fee for emerging artists will be reduced to $30. The MVAAC website offers information and checklists for artists preparing for their inaugural show. These include tips on preparing and displaying art, preparing marketing information for the public, tents and booth types, and much more.

In addition, Plaut says 10 percent of the festival’s exhibit space will be reserved for emerging artists.

“We’re not the biggest show in eastern Iowa but we attract good crowds and the artists tell us they always have strong sales during the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival. As an art educator, it’s always exciting to see new artists spreading their wings and putting their work out for sale to the public.”

Application materials are available on this page.

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We at the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council are happy that you stopped by. The site’s in the early stages of construction but we’ll make it good really fast. Stay tuned!

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Make your Winter-Blues Gathering donation here


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