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Shaw Center

Discover Southern Iowa’s regional arts hub

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Shining Brightly for Three Decades and Counting

From the day the 1982 Homecoming play The Music Man premiered as the first major production in The Shaw Center for the Performing Arts to the long-anticipated dedication of the new Shaw at the 2012 Homecoming, the vision of the Shaw family has transformed how the people of southern Iowa and northern Missouri experience the arts.

Many years and thousands of plays, concerts, exhibitions, recitals, performances, church services, baccalaureates, lectures and forums later, the Shaw Center continues to shine as the cultural hub where Gracelanders and many others gather to be entertained, to rejoice and to celebrate.

JR ’56 and Carol Shaw have made the 2012 expansion of the Shaw Center possible. The original Shaw Center was a major project that other members of the Shaw family were involved in. The late Leslie E. “Les” Shaw ‘50 (JR’s brother), his wife Lois Phelps ’50 Shaw and The Shaw Family Foundation provided major funding for what has become a great landmark on Graceland’s Lamoni campus.

It was the wish of Les, JR, and sisters Dolly Shaw ’50 MacDonald and Bertha Shaw that The Shaw Center for the Performing Arts be named to honor their parents, Francis and Lottie Shaw, founders of the Shaw Family Foundation, whose bronze busts adorn the Shaw atrium. Over the years, this icon of the Shaw family has welcomed guests to myriad events, students to classes and workshops, and faculty and staff to a splendid workplace.

Our Mission

The Shaw Center serves as a teaching environment offering superior professional experiences that complement the fine arts academic program while providing meaningful content and connections that prepare and develop students for lifelong participation in the arts.

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What You’ll Find at the Shaw Center

The expanded Shaw Center was dedicated Homecoming weekend 2012 after a 15-month, multi-million-dollar transformation into one of the top performing arts venues in the Midwest. The expansion included the state-of-the-art JR Theatre, a black box theatre equipped with lighting, sound and multi-functional qualities equal to the best such theatres in the country. The expanded facility also includes the acoustically-perfect, 150-seat Carol Hall recital facility; a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre; a stunning atrium/lobby; the 500-seat Shaw Family Auditorium; and a long, north-facing corridor gallery showcasing contemporary still lifes and landscapes of Canada, home to JR ’56 and Carol Shaw, the donors who made the Shaw Center expansion possible.

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Upcoming Performances and Events

View our calendar of performances and events taking place both at the Shaw Center and around campus. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted differently.

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Contact Us

Want to learn more about the Visual and Performing Arts at Graceland?