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The Mooney Art Gallery at the Charles City Public Library
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The Mooney Art Gallery at the Charles City Public Library

Charles City, Iowa offers incredible art for all to see. This small town’s artistic identity all started with the story of an orphaned boy taken in by a local photographer. Inspired by what he saw the boy eventually became a photographer, traveled widely and collected art prints. His name was Arthur Mooney and he left his collection of prints to the Charles City Public Library in 1941. The legacy that Mooney left the town didn’t end there.

Although the 77 old master prints remained in storage for over 50 years they were eventually conserved with archival framing and a gallery was built to display them at the library in 2001. Most recently the library created an online guided tour to make the collection more accessible and to enhance the  understanding of its history, value and the process of printmaking. The collection contains etchings, engravings, woodcuts and lithographs by such well known artists as Rembrandt, Durer and Picasso.

Funded by a Charles City Hotel/Motel Tax grant, the recently completed project features an audio tour for use in the Gallery and a video and image/audio virtual tour for those who cannot visit in person. Informative  signage and devices to utilize the tour were also added. The website with the  tours may be accessed by going to . Even though the tour may be viewed remotely, it really should be seen in person. The Mooney  Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday 10am-5pm and Saturdays 1-5pm. Please call the library with questions at 641-257-6319 or email (

Charles City also supports the arts with a local Art Center where contemporary artists display and sell their works and locals can take art classes, public art sculptures through-out the community and an annual art festival (Artafest) in August. Find out more about the Charles City Art Center by visiting 


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