The University of Iowa

New Center for Afrofuturist Studies brings Iowa City to the intersection of art, race and technology

Octavia Butler. Jean-Michel Basquiat. Nicki Minaj. You don’t often see these disparate names in the same context — but when you do, recent transplant to Iowa City, poet, performer and artist Anaïs Duplan is right there with them. Duplan, in conjunction with Public Space One, is founding a Center for Afrofuturist Studies in Iowa City. Structured as an artist residency program, the CAS will bring in some of the most exciting current voices in future-focused black art, to engage with the community.

According to the project’s Kickstarter page, its “public programming seeks to engage both local Iowans and people across the world in a building conversation about the intersections of race, technology and the diaspora.” This is evident in the amazing donation-level perks, which are representative of the wide-ranging support and influences that Duplan has for this project. In addition to the Kickstarter, the Center for Afrofuturist Studies will be holding a kickoff event and fundraiser at The Mill. This Interstellar Dance Party on Thursday, Jan. 28 starts at 9 p.m. and promises “a DJ, lush tunes, dancing, stars.” Cinquepalmi, an Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, will be the evening’s DJ, and admission is $10. Little Village is a sponsor of the event, and tickets are available at

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