You can be an ICON.

CO-Ed private boarding and day
performing arts school serving grades
8 - 12 and postgraduate gap year

Be Seen. Be Valued. Be Heard.

Unlock your artistic potential in Iowa City, IA

ICON OFFERS AN IN-PERSON, INTENSIVE ARTS EDUCATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AGES 14-19, COMPLEMENTED WITH AN ONLINE ACADEMIC COURSE OF STUDY.

Education

ICON Arts Academy embraces Project-based learning (PBL) at the heart of our curricular design.

This 21st-century approach to learning is student-centered and brings real world applications to arts education. The teacher acts as a facilitator for student learning, scaffolding deep engagement in artistic content as students engage in collaborative and interdisciplinary learning opportunities.

At the heart of PBL is a deep understanding of content, mastery of skills and personally satisfying, relevant student project outcomes. We strive to facilitate authentic arts experiences, growing students’ skill and expertise through hands-on, innovative projects, centered both within their own discipline and across majors. Arts-rich PBL contexts build 21st century skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

CLASS SCHEDULE

Students attend ICON from 9AM – 4PM Monday-Friday, with more than 20 hours of arts education weekly. We offer studies in the areas of classical and contemporary dance, vocal/percussive music and composition, theatre/musical theatre, and design and production.

Students take core classes within their chosen arts major to pursue their interests in depth, and select electives to round out their arts education. Opportunities for collaboration within and across majors are built into our programming daily, and our faculty is committed to facilitating interdisciplinary artistic projects with rich outcomes for every student-artist.

Campus

Students have the option to commute daily to ICON from their home or live on campus in apartment-style co-op living within three blocks of the school. All boarding students have live-in chaperones, with low chaperone-to-student ratios.

According to Livability.com, Iowa City packs a ton of cultural and recreational opportunities within a safe, caring town for the education and arts.

Iowa City systematically provides diverse, gifted artists from around the world ample opportunities to engage schools, venues, audiences, and souls with what they create. Tradition blends with innovation and the inspiring mentor the aspiring. Farmers’ markets, vibrant murals, and downtown festivals all thrive in Iowa City because of intention. The canvas is ever-changing, but the commitment to growth and creativity endures.

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Dance

Dance

A program for high school students who are suited for and dedicated to the study of dance.

Theatre Arts

Theatre Arts

A program for high school students looking for a deeper experience in all aspects of theatre education.

Music

Music

A program for high school students interested in growing their individual musicianship with non-traditional music-making opportunities.

Design & Production/ Visual Arts

Design & Production

A program for high school students who engage in the visual and fabric arts and want to take their work to the stage.

Dance

A program for high school students who are suited for and dedicated to the study of dance.

Theatre Arts

A program for high school students looking for a deeper experience in all aspects of theatre education.

Music

A program for high school students interested in growing their individual musicianship with non-traditional music-making opportunities.

Design & Production/Visual Arts

A program for high school students who engage in the visual and fabric arts and want to take their work to the stage.

Audition live at a location near you!

Live Auditions held in January THROUGH April 2023

Iowa City, IA
January 14th 2023 8:00AM-5:00PM CST
The James Theater 🔗
Iowa City, IA
January 14th 2023
8:00AM-5:00PM CST
The James Theater 🔗
St. Louis, MO
January 21st 2023 9:00AM-6:00PM CST
Center of Creative Arts (COCA) 🔗
St. Louis, MO
January 21st 2023
9:00AM-6:00PM CST
Center of Creative Arts (COCA) 🔗
Chicago, IL
January 28th 2023 1:00PM-6:00PM CST
Visceral Dance Center 🔗
Chicago, IL
January 28th 2023
1:00PM-6:00PM CST
Visceral Dance Center 🔗
Austin, TX
January 29th 2023 10:00AM-4:00PM CST
The Vortex 🔗
Austin, TX
January 29th 2023
10:00AM-4:00PM CST
The Vortex 🔗
Des Moines, IA
February 10th 2023 8:00AM-4:00PM CST
Iowa Ballet Academy 🔗
Des Moines, IA
February 10th 2023
8:00AM-4:00PM CST
Iowa Ballet Academy 🔗
Omaha, NE
February 12th 2023 11:00AM-7:00PM CST
Mary Lorraine's Dance Center 🔗
Omaha, NE
February 12th 2023
11:00AM-7:00PM CST
Mary Lorraine's Dance Center 🔗
Denver, CO
February 18th 2023 12:00PM-5:00PM CST
Denver Arts and Venues 🔗
Denver, CO
February 18th 2023
12:00PM-5:00PM CST
Denver Arts and Venues 🔗
New York, NY
March 11th 2023 10:00AM-6:00PM EST
Gibney Center 🔗
New York, NY
March 11th 2023
10:00AM-6:00PM EST
Gibney Center 🔗

Audition virtually* from anywhere!

Virtual auditions on April 1st and April 2nd, or by appointment!

*Required for Design & Production/Visual Arts majors and optional for Music (Composition)

ICON's core values...

Caring

At ICON, our first priority is developing a community of caring human beings. This means giving attention to all aspects of ourselves and others in our community: body, mind, and heart. To be caring requires a mindful approach. We make time, we listen, and we engage with one another with respect and integrity. We allow space for reflection and remember that every day is a new day.

Approaching our work together with care sets the stage for healthy collaborations and reminds us we are supported by our fellow community members.

Innovating

As artists, we are most often engaged in creative practices. Within creativity there are new insights, pathways, and perspectives to be found. This is a core value at ICON, as we believe innovation is what propels us forward in our growth as artists. We may be reimagining something that has been done before, developing something entirely new, or refreshing strategies for problem-solving. Sometimes an unexpected outcome –maybe even something that feels like a failure–can bring about an exciting shift in our awareness and expression.

Persevering

Part of our journey as artists and humans is developing resilience. We know that at times we all face difficulties. This is a part of life.

At ICON, we work through all kinds of challenges together, as collaborators in the arts, as friends, as colleagues, and as responsible citizens. Remaining steadfast in our commitments helps us to maintain academic rigor, reach our educational goals and develop our artistry.

ICON Team Members

Leslie Nolte

Art is an essential expression of life, and I have spent my career championing myriad aspects of the arts. As Founder and Head of School, my role is to celebrate and guide our institution, helping to realize goals and build a world-class platform for our students and faculty.

Dr. Timothy Williams

As artists, we are most often engaged in creative practices. Within creativity there are new insights, pathways, and perspectives to be found. This is a core value at ICON, as we believe innovation is what propels us forward in our growth as artists. We may be reimagining something that has been done before, developing something entirely new, or refreshing strategies for problem-solving. Sometimes an unexpected outcome –maybe even something that feels like a failure–can bring about an exciting shift in our awareness and expression.

Dr. Jessica Frerich

I am committed to Iowa Conservatory's pursuit of advocating for the significance of education in the performing and visual arts. I strongly believe in offering students a wide range of opportunities and a top-notch education that encourages self-expression, interdisciplinary connections, active involvement, and readiness for future pursuits. Dream big and never give up!

ICON Audition Panelists

Judging panelists will be made up of a six-person audition panel from the following collection of visiting or full-time faculty:

Quotes & Accolades

Have Questions?

  • All
  • Auditions FAQ
  • Financial

What are your school hours?

Classes begin at 9:00am until 5:00pm on Mondays through Thursdays and 9:00am – 4:30pm on Fridays. Our half day students join us in the afternoons beginning at 1:00pm!

What does Iowa City have to offer?

Find your place in Iowa City. Home of the Hawkeyes, Iowa’s first capital, and the University of Iowa.  Iowa City tradition blends small-town charm with big city opportunities, keeping students, arts and culture at the forefront of the community.  ICON’s campus is peppered with coffee shops, restaurants, shops, theaters, and more. Iowa City is known as the greatest small city for the arts!   Iowa City was named one of the best American cities for creatives! Iowa City was ranked on of the best places to live in the United States! Iowa Q & A with staff and students What was your view of Iowa before moving here?  Field of Dreams, Cornfields and tornados.   What surprised you most after moving to Iowa City? The amount of arts culture is incredible and exceeded my expectations; the theatre scene is abounding and full of talent equal to that in other major cities! It seems like every weekend there is a festival of sorts and a theatrical production happening all the time.   Why should others move to Iowa City? There is always something to do and getting to do these things is always convenient. Iowa City is an arts forward city with lots of opportunities for artists to perform and take in. The city is beautiful!   Check out our Iowa City Staging Parters (scroll to the bottom)!

Why should I consider sending my child to boarding school?

This is a common question for all parents as you consider the best fit for your family, and we want to be sure that you feel confident in trusting us with your child!   There are several reasons boarding schools are a staple in private school instruction: higher focus on the arts, small class sizes, individualized attention, college prep, academics, and much, much more.  At ICON, we believe in caring for the whole child. Our Student Life Team and Dean of Students oversee every aspect of student life, including opportunities to interact with the local arts community, social events for the student body, skill-building for successful independent living, and social-emotional learning. The Student Life Team includes live-in residential assistants, school counselors, and learning coaches, all trained to respond to the unique needs of adolescent learners in a boarding school setting.  “After a busy day of singing, dancing, acting, painting, designing, rehearsing and studying is over, I get to go home to cook healthy meals with my roommates and RA.  We usually just relax on the couch in our awesome apartment unless it’s grocery day or laundry day then my RA’s or Student Life Director take me where I need to go and help me.  We have a nurse practitioner on campus but The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics have really accessible care in their clinics that are close by.  Plus, there’s lots of coffee places and restaurants close by!  We are a family!”  – Senior 2025  

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Stay Up to date with the latest news from Iowa Conservatory

Accepting auditions for 2023-24!

JANUARY 7th - FEBRUARY 18th 2023

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