Roadtripping your way through the SW Iowa Art Tour (2023)

Sept 15, 16, and 17th marks the 10th anniversary of the Southwest Iowa Art Tour. It’s a self-guided tour, meaning you can choose from any of the 18 art destinations. It’s the perfect road trip adventure, as you stop anywhere you’d like, not just the art locations, but also other destinations and roadside adventures, as well as some great dining options!

Where is the SW Iowa Art Tour?

The Southwest Iowa Art Tour takes place at 18 different locations across SW Iowa during the weekend of Sept 15, 16, and 17. Here’s a link to the road map for the 2023 SW Iowa Art Tour:

How did the SW Iowa Art Tour start?

In 2014, a group of 21 artists planned out the original SW Iowa Art Tour as a way to get folks to travel between the stops, or what they call gathering spaces. Today, 8 of the original participants are still on the tour: Zack Jones, Paul Koch, Phil Lamb, Cece Lock, Curt Adams, Cherie Miner, Tom Harnack, and Fred Bolton.

Two of the original locations/stops are also still being featured: The Art Church in Malvern and The Painted Camel Gallery in Macedonia.

Can I see ahead of time what’s at each stop on the SW Iowa Art Tour?

Yes, their website lists the artists and shows a few visuals for what to expect at each of the gathering places:

I’d like to mix some other roadside attractions with the art tour, what does Iowa Road Trip recommend?

First of all, we highly recommend stopping at The Painted Camel in Macedonia and The Art Church in Malvern, they are both worthwhile stops. The Art Church is celebrating its Sesquicentennial with a major exterior renovation, so you’ll want to check that out.

Malvern is known for two things: cycling on the Wabash Trace, a railroad-turned-biking trail running through town and for being an artsy town. Malvern features the tree sculptures of Woody Jones and the Art Church, run by Zach Jones, along with other art destinations and sculptures. Despite a population of around one thousand people, Malvern will host 3 gathering spaces during the 2023 SW Iowa Art Tour. In prior years when I visited, they had closed off the main street to provide food and live music to attract not only the art seekers but also the cyclists from the trail. Malvern even has its own walking art tour:

Here are a few items to check out:

The Malvern Town Welcome sign, located at the intersection Highway 34 and 315th Street, which features one of Woody Jones’ tree sculptures.
The Bike Tree, another tree sculpture adorned by bicycles made by Woody Jones, sits just west of the post office on 4th Street
The Bike Sculpture also sits alongside the Wabash Trace near the intersection of Main and E 2nd St.
Additional tree sculptures by Woody Jones can be seen along Main Street which runs through Malvern, Iowa

Glenwood is also home to the three stops on the SW Iowa Art Tour. Potential stops include:

  • Keg Creek Brewing Company at 22381 221st. Approximately 30 beers on tap. You’re welcome to bring your own food in, as they do not serve food.
  • Bodega Victoriana Winery at 60397 Rd. Serves wine and tapas.
  • Sacrilegious Ciderword at 17 N Vine St, featuring seasonal flavored hard ciders.
  • Adriano’s Brick Oven Pizza at 18 N Walnut St.
  • Sugar Makery at 204 East Sharp St. featuring ice cream and candies.
  • Venture out to travel the best level b backroads including Hastie Hollow or Lake Hill or check out the full list of the best level b roads in the loess hills.


  • Glenn Mill Birthplace Home & Museum
  • Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum

Avoca has one stop on the SW Iowa Art Tour and while you are in town, be sure to check out the giant Volkswagen Beetle Spider on Chestnut Ave.

Council Bluffs has a lengthy list of other attractions to mix in with your art tour, including:

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