A Guide to the Council Bluffs Art Scene

Take it from us, you don't need to search far to find amazing art in Council Bluffs. Whether you're a fan of public art or want to wield the paintbrush yourself, Council Bluffs boasts a variety of venues to see original artwork by up-and-coming, emerging and established artists – giving the artful traveler access to enough paintings, sculptures and installations to fill an entire day.


The pour-over coffee and exposed brick have all the makings of an modern coffeehouse, but don't be fooled – (drips) isn't your next indie Starbucks. Tucked away on the fringes of the Haymarket District, this art gallery and shared-use space hosts anything from study sessions and art shows to yoga classes and adult-themed literary readings. Doubling as a studio for the owner to paint and showcase his own art, (drips) welcomes art denizens of all trades to come hang out, hear new ideas and create.  

Grant Wood Murals + Paintings

Before Grant Wood became a household name for his iconic American Gothic, a Council Bluffs hotel commissioned the now internationally-renowned artist to paint a handful of murals in 1927. Take a peek in the Pottawattamie County Courthouse lobby to see a few remaining fragments of this early work, where you can learn the story of the mural’s creation and its lasting legacy in Council Bluffs culture. Can't get enough? Another original Grant Wood painting, "The Early Days of Kanesville," hangs in the lobby of Looft Hall on the Iowa Western Community College campus.

Louis Grell Paintings

Joining Grant Wood's homage in the county courthouse is an exhibit celebrating the work of Louis Grell, an acclaimed Council Bluffs-born muralist and portrait artist. After attending Europe's finest art institutes in his childhood, Grell later returned to the United States to take up an art instructor position in Chicago, where he went on to influence an unknown and very young art student by the name of Walt Disney.

Sidewalk Mosaics & Broadway Streetscape Tiles

To see some engaging art in a non-museum setting, look no further than downtown on Pearl and Main streets between First and Ninth avenues, where 34 mosaic tiles illustrate historical scenes from Council Bluffs' past. History buffs will also enjoy the streetscape tiles replicating postcards from the 1800s, located on West Broadway between First and Second streets.

Iowa West Public Art Sites

From dramatic bridge installations and dynamic park performance pavilions to interactive light displays and mixed media sculptures, Council Bluffs is home to an impressive public art collection created by artists who have made their mark worldwide. Experience how urban art has energized the community firsthand by calling 712.212.9088 to begin a personal audio tour of any of the Iowa West public art sites.

Canvas Concoctions Art Studio

The first “paint and sip” studio experience in Council Bluffs, Canvas Concoctions challenges you to channel your inner artist while indulging in a glass of wine (or two). No worries if you're no Picasso – instructors will lead you step by step through the process of creating a masterpiece of your own.
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