American Trade Cards

From Advertising to Art

Join us for an opening reception on Friday, November 22 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. for our current exhibition, From Advertising to Art: 19th Century Trade Cards and the Unfettered American Imagination, on view November 19, 2019-January 5, 2020. Don’t miss the gallery talk with Dr. Lenore Metrick-Chen on at 6:00 p.m. during the reception.

The Hearst Center for the Arts is featuring over two hundred original 19th century American advertising cards in this upcoming exhibition.

The 2-by-6 inch trade cards reflect a time of cultural change and cultural anxiety as America shifted from an agrarian to an industrial economy and into an emerging world power. By 1876, trade cards circulated widely and were becoming the dominant method of advertising. In the course of advertising all sorts of new commodities, card artists created wildly inventive new visual languages of montage and proto-surrealism in which human forms merged with animals, vegetables, machines and fruit.
Trade card advertising coincided with the years surrounding the first Chinese Exclusion Laws banning Chinese immigration. During this time, every ethnic group was considered fair game for satire and stereotyping in advertising. Despite the small population of Chinese people in America, hundreds of trade card images depicted Chinese figures. An underlying theme of the exhibition explores the variety of responses to cultural change during this era, from demonizing and dehumanizing to a carnivalesque sense of magic, alongside a shifting visual culture from the Victorian moralizing realistic style towards Modernism.

From Advertising to Art was originally curated by Dr. Lenore Metrick-Chen. Metrick-Chen’s ongoing study of the impact of Chinese in Western art recently culminated in her publication, Collecting Objects/Excluding People: Chinese Subjects and American Visual Culture, 1830 – 1900 .


Lunchtime Concert

lunchtime concert

Join us in Mae Latta Hall as TetraCor, The Uni horn quartet performs under the direction of Yu-Ting Su. Performance is from noon – 1 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!


Food Co-op Author Talk

John Steinman Authors Talk

Jon Steinman’s only Iowa stop will be here in our community. Find out why “Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants” is making waves across the country, and why the largest grocers exert influence over the global food supply, which impacts all of us here in the Cedar Valley.

Grocery stores exert considerable influence over the global food supply and in the communities we live. How do the largest grocers today maintain their grip on foodmakers, communities, and eaters? As part of his North American book release tour, author Jon Steinman offers up a preview of his new book including disturbing trends emerging among the dominant grocers. As Jon will share, community-owned grocery stores are more important today than ever before.

Doors open at 6:30PM, Speaker at 7:00PM


Poetry @ the Hearst 

Final Thursday Reading Series continues this month on October 24th with Crystal Gibbins, co-editor of Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Poetry Anthology.

About book: Waters Deep: A Great Lakes Poetry Anthology brings together thirty-five contemporary poets that have been inspired and shaped by the Great Lakes. These poems invite and encourage readers to appreciate and explore more deeply this unique and complex region—the woods, watersheds, grassy plains, hills, bluffs, iron and copper ranges, towns, cities, snow belts and rustbelts. From layers of history and human culture to natural landscapes and built environments, the perspectives and styles of the poets in Waters Deep are as varied and powerful as the lakes themselves. 

Additional info about this series: The Final Thursday Reading Series is back with another great slate of featured regional authors and, as always, an open mic where you can share your own creative writing. Q&A follows each reading. Open mic at 7:15 p.m., featured author at 8:00 p.m.. Free and open to the public. Last Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm, Mae Latta Hall


Theatre @ the Hearst 

Red Herring Theatre

Red Herring Reader’s Theatre Presents Compleat Female State Beauty 
Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Written by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by L.C. Kent; Sponsored by the Jones Law Firm

It’s 1661 and the most famous portrayer of female roles on the London stage is a performer named Kynaston. But after Charles II changes the law to allow women to act, Kynaston’s world is turned upside-down. He loses his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. Meanwhile, those around him—
including the King’s mistress, Nell Gwynn—rise to stardom.