Mission + History


PUBLIC SPACE ONE (PS1) is an artist-led, community-driven, contemporary art center. We aim to:
• provide an independent, innovative, diverse, and inclusive space for making and presenting art
• produce unique programs that stretch boundaries and present diverse perspectives
• provide resources for artists and cultural educational opportunities, and
• advocate for the importance of art in everyday life for any and everyone.

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PS1 was founded in 2002 in a donated space above the Deadwood bar by University of Iowa students in need of an off-campus space to rehearse and perform an original play. Since then, we have maintained a multidisciplinary, experimental space for the Iowa City community to present and experience creative work, moving from our original location to the Jefferson Building (2009-2012) to our current home on the lower level of the Wesley Student Center.

In 2009, our gallery began presenting work from artists around the country and our focus expanded to include workshops, public art projects, and residencies. In 2012, we established Iowa's only community-access printmaking studio (then Zenzic Press, now the Iowa City Press Co-op), and in 2016, the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, a residency and visiting artist program for artists of color.

We have collaborated with the Iowa Youth Writing Project, the University of Iowa Intermedia Department, Hancher Auditorium, Mission Creek Festival, the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, and the Iowa City Downtown District.

Our programming has been supported by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Iowa Arts Council, a Division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation of Johnson County, the City of Iowa City Public Art Program, and the Black Art Futures Fund.

Public Space One is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.