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2015 Celebration of the Arts!
Posted: 9/28/2015

Celebration of the Arts

Annual meeting and luncheon

The program will celebrate ICCA’s 10th Anniversary and include the presentation of Collaborative and Reaching Out awards, as well as recognition of the Larry Eckholt and Peggy Whitworth Award honorees.

Larry Eckholt Award Sponsor: Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Peggy Whitworth Award Sponsor: Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Celebration Sponsor: Hills Bank and Trust Company 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Cedar Ridge Vineyards in Swisher


Keynote Speaker: Diana Nollen, arts & entertainment writer for The Gazette

Epic surge, epic change: Thoughts on arts and culture in the corridor over the last 10 years


Diana Nollen came to Cedar Rapids in 1982, with a thousand dollars in the pocket of her brand new suit. She got her first paycheck from Frank N. Magid and Associates when she was down to her last two cents, and moments later, left to work at The Gazette.

She joined the Marion Musical Literary Club and the Marion Community Band that first year, and a year or so later, the siren song of the stage lured her to the Cedar Rapids Community Theatre, where she landed a role in “Working” – and 14 more musicals -- as well as to The Follies, Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale, Jazz Inc., Chorale Midwest, her own “Kidz Korner” TV show on Cox Cable, and lots of local voiceover and commercial training film work.

Fast forward: Nollen has been with The Gazette in various capacities for 33 years, finally landing her dream job as arts & entertainment reporter about 5 years ago. She hasn’t kept count, but with some rudimentary math and educated guesstimating, has reviewed about 2,000 entertainment events since 1983.

She spent four years as Youtheatre director and 10 years as the resident costume designer at Theatre Cedar Rapids, giving new meaning to the term “resident,” since she often felt like she lived there -- and she taught Youtheatre classes for about 20 years. She also directed plays at Franklin Middle School; taught an interim course in creative dramatics for the classroom at Mount Mercy; led creative dramatics workshops for Very Special Arts and ArtsVenture at the Riverside Roundhouse; was a co-presenter for the Governor’s Conference on Special Education; and helped develop and tour a problem-solving workshop in area elementaries for eight years.

She earned a degree in communications and theater at Central College in Pella; started working at her hometown newspaper at age 19; has designed costumes for more than 100 shows; studied piano, organ, alto sax and voice;  performed with her college choir in the Netherlands, Germany and France; played with the Marion Community Band in the Austrian National Band Festival and the World’s Fair in Seville, Spain; sang with Chorale Midwest in Russia and the British Isles; and is a travel junkie in general, visiting as many museums, performances and cultural shows as possible, from Australia to Russia.

In her spare time, she sleeps.

All ICCA partners, business partners, friends and community members are invited to attend. Tickets are $25; tables of eight are $200. Register online by October 30 or contact ICCA at: or 319.849.8ART (8278).

Attached File:
2015 Celebration of the Arts Flier.pdf  ,(pdf)546k

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