Mooney Art Collection
Located inside the Charles City Public Library is The Mooney Art Collection. It reflects both Arthur Mooney's love of art and of the community where he grew up. The collection features the works of classical artists such as Dali (seen on the left), Picasso, Rembrandt and Goya.
The Mooney Art Collection is open for public viewing whenever the library is open. Brochures detailing the history of a number of these great works of art are available for $2.00 at the circulation desk. Also a package of five Mooney Print Collection note cards is available for $10.00.
History of the collection:
Although Mooney’s art prints were given to the library with his death in 1941 they were not readily available to the public for over 50 years. In addition to lacking appropriate space to display them, the prints needed special framing to protect and preserve them.
In 1994 the Library Board appointed a committee to bring the Mooney Collection to the public. This committee worked to raise money and consulted with Arthur Frick, an art consultant. Since there was no space to display them at the library at that time, the committee commissioned custom crates to be built in order to allow the collection to be displayed at other venues.
In 1998 the Mooney Collection was publicly displayed at the Charles City Art Center for the first time. After that, the collection was loaned to other institutions.
When longtime library supporter, Katherine Zastrow died and bequeathed the library money to build a meeting room plans were made to include a gallery to house the art prints inside the library. At this time, the library applied for and was granted additional funding from the Andres Foundation.
Both the Gallery and Zastrow River Room were completed in 2000. The Mooney Collection is now on permanent display at the library.
Arthur Mooney was born in Rockford, Illinois in 1859 and came to Charles City at the age of eight. He studied under a local photographer, and left Charles City in 1890 to attend art school in Minneapolis. Later, he moved to New York and eventually became a successful executive of the Eastman-Kodak Company. In New York and in Europe, he engaged in collecting fine art prints by artists such as Rembrandt, Picasso, and Salvador Dali to name a few.
Arthur Mooney made his first gift to the Charles City Public Library in 1930.Upon his death in 1941. Mr. Mooney bequeathed the remainder of his art library and print collection to the Charles City Library. Included in this splendid gift are the prints now displayed.
Other Art in Charles City
• The Charles City Arts Center is located in the historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Charles City, Iowa, and is open for free to the public The Charles City Arts Center maintains a monthly exhibition schedule featuring the works of regional artists. Artists Opening Receptions are held the first Friday of the exhibition, from 5 - 7 p.m. Openings create opportunities to meet the artists, and learn more about the exhibitions. The receptions are free, open to the public and refreshments are served.
• Public Art- This innovative collection of “art that you can sit on” is a brainchild of our local Main Street Iowa program, Community Revitalization. These unique pieces, accessible along the recreational trail, make a stunning addition to Charles City 's riverscape. Other unique public art sculptures are located in parks and by various buildings in town.
• Charles Theatre- Originally constructed in the 1930's, this is just one of two art deco theatres in the state. This theatre is run through volunteer efforts & owned by the the Charles City Arts Council. Drive by the theatre, located on Main Street and see if you can figure out what the front of the building was designed to resemble. If you're wondering what's playing while you're here, it may be a new movie or a live performance, and chances are that it's a family show. For current shows call 641-228-3821.