Davenport and the Quad Cities enjoy a thriving arts and culture scene, with artists of every discipline flocking to the area. The arts and all they encompass flourish here, offering everything from theatrical productions to art fairs and galleries and everything in between!
Downtown Davenport continues to expand its already blossoming entertainment and cultural community. The Figge Art Museum, designed by famed architect David Chipperfield, holds a collection of more than 3,500 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, dating from the 16th century to present. Patrons can explore and experience educational spaces, the museum shop and traveling art exhibitions at the museum. A unique aspect of the Figge Art Museum is that over fifty percent of the building is dedicated to education. The museum conducts over 600 public programs annually reaching close to 30,000 children and adults. The Figge recently partnered with the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities and the Riverboat Development Authority to bring the internationally acclaimed traveling art exhibition “Coexistence: The Art of Living Together: Outdoor Exhibition & Community Events,” to downtown Davenport. The exhibit consisted of 45 banners, with images created by artists from all over the world. The exhibit was unitiated and created by Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel.
The beautifully-restored 2,400-seat Adler Theatre in downtown Davenport has hosted celebrity headliners, Broadway greats, comedians, dance and symphony performances. At the Theatre’s opening on November 25, 1931, Davenport and the rest of the country were in the depths of the Great Depression. On that Thanksgiving Eve, the opening night crowd watched a show that included five vaudeville acts and the movie comedy “Suicide Fleet,” starring Bill Boyd, Ginger Rogers, Robert Armstrong, and James Gleason. Ginger Rogers sent a telegraphic signal from Hollywood that began the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the Theatre’s opening. Today, the proud tradition of quality entertainment lives on.
Over two million viewers see art each year as part of their everyday lives in presentations orchestrated by MidCoast Fine Arts. MidCoast, a non-profit, community development arts agency founded by artists, operates six galleries in four cities and orchestrates or partners in nearly two dozen events annually. One of their newer galleries is Bucktown Center for the Arts, located in downtown Davenport. Originally a plain warehouse, Bucktown Center now houses a host of studios, retail shops and the Midwest Writing Center. Patrons enjoy perusing through the center’s array of artwork while watching the artists at work at the same time. Bucktown’s Final Fridays monthly arts party continues to grow in popularity.
Authentic artwork, beautiful handmade furniture, blown glass and other artisans’ wares can be found at many of the area’s festivals and events held throughout the summer and fall months.
The Beaux Arts Fair and ArtStroll in downtown Davenport, and the Riverssance Art Festival in the village of East Davenport are top local events featuring the works of the area’s talented artists.
The District in downtown Rock Island is another hot spot for local artists. Artists in The District display their works at the Quad-City Arts Center and the Left Bank Gallery. The area is also the site of the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse, housed in the historic Fort Armstrong Theatre. With its beginnings as a movie theater, the facility was purchased in August of 1976 for use as a dinner theater. The interior was remodeled, now seating 334, and opened its doors in June of 1977. Since then, the theatre has provided guests in the Quad Cities area with more than 250 productions.
Additional sites for live performances include the Ghostlight Theatre, the Genesius Guild and the Quad-City Music Guild, offering year-round productions. For a good laugh, make sure to check out Comedy Sportz in Rock Island, offering top improv every weekend, and Penguins Comedy Club, with performances by nationally recognized comedians. Ballet Quad Cities and RiverPoint Ballet offer performances not to be missed.