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Drake University graduate’s artwork paints Iowa Water Festival as “symbol of hope”


Drake University graduate Hannah Zuber wanted to convey a “symbol of hope” when she was selected to create the image that would represent the inaugural Iowa Water Festival.

Zuber’s vivid, colorful painting, features a paper origami boat floating down a stream that begins in an industrial setting. As the boat travels farther from pollutants, it is flanked by rainbow-colored banks of flowers and fields.

“The paper boat symbolizes the spread of understanding how to care for and preserve our water sources, leading us to a clean stream and a bright and beautiful landscape,” she said.

The image is featured on the festival’s Facebook page, postcards, posters, banners and other printed images. Zuber’s original painting, acrylic on canvas, will be displayed on stage at the festival.

Art has long been a method of communication, which is why it has such a strong emphasis at the Iowa Water Festival. The festival is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23 at the Izaak Walton League, 4343 George Flagg Parkway. The musical performance WaterJam will take place following the panel discussion and last until 8:30 p.m.


“Art, like water, encompasses every aspect of our lives, and both have been a central part of our humanity since the beginning of time,” organizers Christine Curry and Sarah Spain said. “Celebrating the ‘voice of water’ through art opens the floodgates to an all-encompassing dialogue.”

Zuber, 22, says her design was inspired by Drake professor Peter Levi and his students’ water research data. Levi, an assistant professor of environmental science and sustainability, has studied ecosystems and their function in streams, rivers and reservoirs. He will serve on the panel discussion at the Iowa Water Festival. See the full festival schedule and a list of speakers at

The Iowa Water Festival will unite educators, scientists, and other speakers to bring awareness to Iowa’s water quality issues through education, art and music. Experts will share information about how to promote waterway health and methods to restore Iowa’s land fertility using climate-smart agricultural practices.

The festival also features related artwork, music, dance and educational activities. This includes origami boats, water testing, Japanese fish painting, indigenous drumming, an authentic teepee, a dunk tank and more.

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