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ROOTS – A New Play Festival at the Uptown Theatre

Tonight @7:30, running from March 8th – 10th

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre’s new play festival centers around the theme of Roots. This idea has been expressed in numerous ways from the roots of evil to familial roots to the foundations of community theatre itself.

With eleven different plays from eleven different local Eastern Iowa writers, Roots: A New Play Festival is sure to be grounded in great midwestern theatre and stem plenty of theatrical ingenuity.

Each play is listed below with their cast.

Please come out and support your favorite local actors, writers and directors!

All Evil Inc by Kelli Massey
The dashing and daring Captain Man is in a dastardly duel with the Root of All Evil, but all is not what it seems.
CAST:  Lisa Smith, Elijah Webster

Home by Eva Giacomo
Past becomes present as an event draws two ex’s together.
CAST:  Jordan Ray Hogan, Kate Margheim

Past Tense by Barbara Lau
CAST:  Michelle Hinz

Some Surprise by Amy White
A birthday doesn’t go quite as planned against the backdrop of the 1920s … with Puppets
CAST:  Allyssa Jubeck, Maria McAlexander, Amy White

Not Doing Christmas by Kristin Schneider
Sisters discuss plans for Christmas, but the talk quickly veers into the news of the day.
CAST:  Amanda Bishop, Nicole McAlexander

Loving Addison and Dealing with Teenage Angst in 1946: The Musical by Tristan Maynard
The show must go on even when a disgruntled actor steps in.
CAST:  Kaylynn Burgin, Jasper Rood, Elijah Webster

Weeding by Brian Tanner
Life Lessons in Gardening.
CAST:  Michelle Hinz, Jordan Ray Hogan, Jasper Rood, Boede Stoops, Steve Weiss

Mock Trial/Real Error by Elijah Jones
A father & son confront the past.
CAST:  Craig Jarvie, Tristan Maynard

This is a Bad Idea by Grant Freeman
A wacky and weird community theatre selects their final show for their upcoming season.
CAST:  Kim Benesh, Bill Croghan, Grant Freeman, Braden JP Rood, Amy White

Memory by Chris Okishi
Memory is a fickle beast, especially when you’re losing it.
CAST:  Shauna Daub, Lisa Smith

Untitled Interview by Tony Craine
An elderly woman learns of her family’s history.


For more information please see their website:

MVLCT Logo

MVLCT – Auditions for Roots – A New Play Festival

Auditions are coming up for MVLCT’s Roots: A New Play Festival. 

When: January 20 & 21 at 7:00 PM

Where:  Uptown Theatre in Mount Vernon’s First Street Community Center

What to bring:  Yourself!  All auditions will consist of cold reading and performing A/B scenes.

Show Dates: March 7,8,9, & 10

What is the Roots Festival? 

This year’s new play festival centers around the theme of Roots.  This idea has been expressed in numerous ways from the roots of evil to familial roots to the foundations of community theatre itself.  With eleven different plays from eleven different local Eastern Iowa writers, Roots: A New Play Festival is sure to be grounded in great midwestern theatre and stem plenty of theatrical ingenuity.  A breakdown of plays and characters is listed below:


All Evil Inc by Kelli Massey 

The dashing and daring Captain Man is in a dastardly duel with the Root of All Evil, but all is not what it seems.

1 Male Actor

1 Female Actor


Home by Eva Giacomo

Past becomes present as an event draws two ex’s together.

1 Male Actor

1 Female Actor


Ping Pong by Barbara Lau

Gender and race come to the forefront when an adopted daughter learns about her heritage.

1 Male Actor

2 Female Actor


Some Surprise by Amy White

A birthday doesn’t go quite as planned against the backdrop of the1920s … with Puppets

1 Actor


Not Doing Christmas by Kristin Schneider 

Sisters discuss plans for Christmas, but the talk quickly veers into the news of the day.

2 Female Actors

1 Male Actor


Loving Addison and Dealing with Teenage Angst in 1946: The Musical by Tristan Maynard

The show must go on even when a disgruntled actor steps in.

2 Male Actor

1 Female Actor


Weeding by Brian Tanner

Life Lessons in Gardening.

3 Male Actors (all 12 years old)

2 Female Actors


Mock Trial/Real Error by Elijah Jones

A father & son confront the past.

2 Male Actors


This is a Bad Idea by Grant Freeman

A wacky and weird community theatre selects their final show for their upcoming season.

2 Male Actors

3 Female Actors


Untitled Interview by Tony Craine 

An elderly woman learns of her family’s history.

I Male Actor

1 Female Actor


Memory by Chris Okishi 

Memory is a fickle beast, especially when you’re losing it.

2 Female Actors


2018 Uptown Theatre Honors – Gala Celebrating the Arts

Collage of Johnny Krob, Mickey Woods, James & Catherine Kennedy, Beryl O’Connor and Damon Cole
Johnny Krob, Mickey Woods, James & Catherine Kennedy, Beryl O’Connor and Damon Cole


The A-Go-Gos, a Mount Vernon Volunteer Organization, proudly present the 2018 Uptown Theatre Honors – An Evening Gala Celebrating the Arts on Saturday, October 20, 2018 starting with a 6:30 pm cocktail hour and 7:30 pm for the show.

This year’s honorees are Johnny Krob, Mickey Woods, James & Catherine Kennedy, Beryl O’Connor and Damon Cole.

Tickets are $20 and an be purchased ahead of time at Bauman’s in Mount Vernon, or you call the Reservation Line (319) 895-8060. Tickets are also available at the door.

Come join us to celebrate these wonderful people and their contributions to the arts!


Your Art Project Paradise – MY Studio – Made by You

My Studio art sign

MY Studio (Made by You Studio) opened for fun creative projects in June 2018.  It is a cozy little space stocked with an extensive variety of art supplies and materials just for you!

MY Studio has already hosted several birthday parties, ladies nights, creative friend gatherings, couple’s art dates, as well as partnered with Cornell College as part of their new student orientation activities. MY Studio has walk in open studio hours on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Saturdays, and can be reserved any other time for private events.

MY Studio started as a dream of Andi Spencer’s.  She wanted to have an intentional creative space to make art that could be shared with others.  But a seed of an idea/dream is just a seed until it’s planted.  Enter Andi’s friend Braden. When asked by Joe Jennison about what her ideal business would be, she said “Andi’s Art Studio idea!”

The two friends began having a more serious conversation about the possibilities of bringing this vision to life and in late 2017 the seed was “planted”.  With encouragement from family and friends and a newly available space opening up in the First Street Community Center, MY Studio was born!

MY Studio is a Make it Yourself arts and crafts studio with all the tools and supplies you need to make your creative vision a reality.

MY Studio is the place for you IF:

  • You are feeling inspired and looking for a designated space with a good, creative vibe
  • You’d like to try a new craft, but don’t want to buy all of the equipment you need to get started
  • You need a place to make that Pintrest project that you got all the stuff for and but haven’t gotten around to making yet
  • You’d like to make a personalized gift
  • You’d like to have an art-inspired gathering: birthday parties, team bonding, family projects, time with friends, date night
  • Come with an idea, Andi & Braden are ready to help you make it happen…AND take care of the clean up!

MY Studio is located on the basement level near Yoga Studio C and is easily accessed via the entrance via the North Parking lot.  For more information phone: (319) 331-6205.


Andi Spencer

Andi Spencer and kids working on an art project at MY Studio

Andi Spencer has lived in Mount Vernon with her husband Jaime and their two children, Connor and Fiona, for 11 years.

Her love of art started at a very early age. She grew up in Grinnell where she took as many art classes as she could while in school and then as a student at Grinnell College and the University of Iowa. She loved to draw and paint and make things with her dad’s wood working tools.

She was also fortunate to have access to a variety of art experiences with artists in Grinnell who opened their studios to her and encouraged her and helped to develop her artistic abilities. The idea for MY Studio really stems from that experience. Andi’s desire to have an intentional space to make art as well as a space that could be shared so that others could have that experience as well.


Braden JP Rood

Braden Rood at MY Studio in Mount Vernon Iowa

Braden JP Rood hails from Mount Vernon. After graduating from MVHS she went to University of Northern Iowa and majored in Theatre Performance. She lived in New York for four years to pursue an acting career.  In 2002 she moved back to Iowa and married her husband, Anton and they settled in Mount Vernon with their three boys: Jasper, Atticus & Chester.

Along with MY Studio, Braden also works at the University of Iowa as a teacher and Standardized Patient. She is heavily involved with Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre as well as volunteers for various community groups including: MVL CDG, Mount Vernon Schools, Hallmark and MVAAC. She is proud to call Mount Vernon her home and is thrilled with the prospects of MY Studio.

First Friday Art Reception and Exhibit for Sue Penn

This building will be buzzing with activity this Friday!  Not only will we have the variety show and silent auction going on, but, wait there’s more!

East End Art cordially invites you to their First Friday Art Reception for Sue Penn, Friday, April 7th from 5:30-7:30pm.

The event is held in the Library (upstairs, adjacent to the gallery) of the First Street Community Center.  Refreshments and wine served for this casual reception.

Come meet Sue and see her exhibit of Mixed Media paintings.

Sue describes her interest in art:

“My passion is color, I love movement and texture. When I began painting again ten years ago and discovered Mixed Media, I was in Art Heaven! Nothing makes me happier than spending a day playing with my acrylics, stencils, stamps, and papers to see what materializes. I’m always learning, changing and refining what I’m creating. I never know what I’m going to do next.” SP


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For info about all of the events at the First Street Community Center check out our Events page.

First Friday Art Reception and Book Signing, Robert Campagna

picture of photo from the book In Great Spirit - David Young Bear
“David Young Bear” – photography by Robert Campagna

You are invited to attend our First Friday Art Reception and Book signing for Robert Campagna, Friday, February 3rd, 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

Refreshments will be served, in the Library (adjacent to the gallery) of the First Street Community Center.

Campagna will have 24 Native American framed images on exhibit and will also be signing his new book “In Great Spirit”. ( Exhibit pieces and books will be available to purchase).

Campagna’s 52 page, 6″ x 9″ spiral bound book features photos of the Taos Pueblo, Meskwaki Nation, and a Karuk basket weaver.

There are approximately 50 images in the book with added text from Black Elk, Ohiyesa, Black Hawk, and others.

It’s important to emphasize that this is an exhibit catalogue, not a coffee table book (important for tribal political reasons), and it reflects, in part, Campagna’s personal journey.


This from East End Art’s Facebook page:

We are super excited about hosting Bob’s exhibit of Native American photos. At 6:15 he will speak about the collection, so make sure you are here by then. Bob will also be signing his book thru the evening as well. And, because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner…. our refreshments will include chocolate, and you already know that we always serve wine.

This event is open to the public and is brought to you by:



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Get the First Street Community Center News in your Inbox.


For info about all of the events at the First Street Community Center check out our Events page.

MVAAC Community Mural Project – Public Meeting

The MVAAC Board invites you to participate in a mural discussion at 7 pm, Thursday, January 26, 2017, at the First Street Community Center’s (old Middle School) library.

picture of the MVAAC Community Mural

The Mount Vernon Area Arts Council (MVAAC) is sponsoring a Community Mural, a project that includes soliciting input from students and residents.

The purpose of the meeting is to generate ideas and themes for the mural, which will be located on the concrete wall that separates the parking lots south of Main Street. Currently you can see temporary signage at this location; you may have seen “Coming Spring 2017 Community Mural” on this wall just off Hwy 1.

Mount Vernon High School graduate Strider Patton, now an educator and muralist in San Francisco, is facilitating the project. Strider has met with Mount Vernon art teachers as well as students and will lead the January discussion. He’ll turn resident and student ideas & concepts into the mural design. Painting is scheduled for May 2017.

Community murals have been shown to underscore economic development as well as enhance community spirit and cohesiveness. Your input and participation are valued. It’ll be fun!

If you prefer, or if you will not be able to attend January 26, email your ideas, comments and/or questions to marie.devries@gmail.com or steve@aol.com. And, please, invite friends & neighbors to the event. All are welcome.

For more information see the MVAAC.org website.


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For info about all of the events at the First Street Community Center check out our Events page.

Home for the Holidays – A Christmas Cabaret with Amy Stoner

The First Street Community Center’s Uptown Theatre is proud to be hosting a wonderful musical performer, Amy Stoner on Friday, December 9th @ 7:30pm.

home-for-the-holidaysx1080

We invite you to join cabaret chanteuse Amy Friedl Stoner for an evening of holiday music and laughter.

Mixing traditional Christmas songs with contemporary holiday tunes, Amy and her band will remind you of your favorite songs and introduce you to new ones.

For the performance in the Uptown Theatre this evening Amy is thrilled to be joined by Cameron Sullenberger, Luke Viertel, John Hall & Tim Crumley.

The Uptown Theatre with it’s intimate layout almost erases the separation of stage and audience to let you really feel the performance and not just watch it from a distance.

Get your tickets early before this popular event sells out!

Tickets are available at:



Get the Latest News!

Get the First Street Community Center News in your Inbox.


For info about all of the events at the First Street Community Center check out our Events page.