Screening - Standing Strong: Elizabeth Catlett

Apr 15, 2023

01:00 PM

FilmScene (Chauncey),

404 East College Street, Iowa City, IA 52240

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Celebrate visionary artist and UIowa MFA alum Elizabeth Catlett's birthday with the premiere and encore screening of Standing Strong: Elizabeth Catlett at FilmScene. Standing Strong has been awarded two laurels for film festivals—one from the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival, and one from the Luleå International Film Festival.

Screenings will take place April 15 at 1 p.m. and April 16 at 1 p.m. Both screenings to be followed by a post-show discussion with the filmmaking team and other experts

All weekend, a selection of works by Elizabeth Catlett will be on view in the Stanley Museum of Art's Visual Laboratory. View details for that event here

Artist and activist Elizabeth Catlett was a pioneer of The Black Arts Movement who lived and worked in Mexico after being the first artist to receive an MFA from the University of Iowa in Studio Arts in 1941, where she studied under Grant Wood. Her connection to human rights led to her imprisonment during the McCarthy era and the declaration of her as an "undesirable alien," after which she renounced her U.S. citizenship. As a Mexican citizen she exhibited her work worldwide and continued to buoy her efforts in activism fueled by the Black Power and feminist movements of the ’70s. Her monumental works of Mahalia Jackson and Ralph Ellison are awe inspiring, but her most iconic works are those of Black women and mothers, which speak to obstacles she battled throughout her life.

For more information, visit FilmScene's website. View the film's trailer here

Saturday Panelists: 

Chris Kramer - director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs will give opening welcome

Lauren Lessing - director of UI Stanley Museum of Art

Melanie Herzog - author of Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico; Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Edgewood College

Kevin Kelley - filmmaker, Emmy award winner, and co-founder of New Mile Media Arts, 

Phillip Jones - author of Nothing Beats Failure but a Try, former UI VP of Student Services and Dean of Students (worked tirelessly recruiting minority students to UI)

Jo Jones - former business manager at the UI Museum of Art (22 years) served on the board of directors for: Hawkeye Area Chapter Iowa Civil Liberties Union, Visiting Nurse Association, Domestic Violence Project, United Way of Johnson County, United Action for Youth, Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities, Iowa Arts Festival, and the Englert Theatre. She was also active with the local NAACP and served on Johnson County Healthy People 2000. Currently she serves on a United Way committee and is a member of Noon Pilot Club of Johnson County.

Sunday Panelists: 

Melanie Herzog (see above)

Kevin Kelley (see above)

Anita Jung -  UI Art Department, professor - printmaking. 

Marie Wilkes - producer, co-founder of New Mile Media Arts, educator, artist

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at