The Waterloo Center for the Arts stands front and center along the riverfront. Surprisingly, this compact Iowa museum houses the largest public collection of Haitian art in the country, seeded by a local family’s collection and expanded through the past 30 years. Bold colors, stylized figures and unbelievably intricate wall hangings sparkling with thousands of tiny beads characterize the evolving collection. There are works from regional artists and the museum’s Grant Wood collection, and a quick glance at the calendar of events reveals a slew of festivals and special events throughout the year.
Families are more than welcome at the Phelps Youth Pavilion connected to the main museum. This is a fun, noisy, hands-on atmosphere where children can create masterpieces in a room filled with art supplies, practice milking skills on a very patient “cow,” put on a puppet show and explore other interactive stations.
A small airy gift shop sells works of art, including pottery and jewelry, and the ArtHouse Cafe serves lunches and desserts. Note: These facilities (and most area museums) are closed Mondays. The youth pavilion area charges a worth-the-money $5 per person admission fee; half-price Sundays make it more affordable to bring the whole family.