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Meet the 2024 Judge


Kent Shankle

Kent Shankle is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa holding a degree in art with an emphasis in studio art/photography and art history. He has spent over 35 years working in community arts administration, first at the James and Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts and beginning in 1995, at the Waterloo Center for the Arts (WCA). Having initially served

as Curator and Assistant Director at that institution, Shankle was appointed to the position of Director in 2013, overseeing cultural and arts programming for the City of Waterloo, Iowa.

Under his tenure, WCA’s collection of Haitian art expanded from 200 pieces to over 1,700 works, making it the largest public collection of its kind in the world. WCA also established a Mexican Folk Art Collection which grew from less than half a dozen to over 1,000 objects over a period of three years and the center has greatly expanded its collection of works by American Regionalist masters including Grant Wood. In 1998, he was awarded an International Partnership Among Museums (IPAM) grant by the American Association of Museums to take part in a museum exchange project with the Musee d’Art du College St. Pierre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Beginning in 2005, Shankle helped lead a planning team for the Phelps Youth Pavilion, a 39,000 square foot children’s museum expansion to the Waterloo Center for the Arts. The award-winning facility, which opened in April 2008, has since served hundreds of thousands of visitors. 

Additionally, Shankle has served on numerous boards and committees holding positions including Past President and member of the Board of Directors for the Haitian Art Society, former Iowa Museum Association Board Member, Chair of the Waterloo Public Art Committee, Officer of the Waterloo Cultural Arts Commission and Friends of the Art Center, and member of the Board of Directors for the Haitian American Museum of Chicago.


A frequent lecturer, Shankle has also served as juror for exhibitions and art fairs including Artapalooza, College Hill Arts Festival, and Polk County Heritage Gallery, among others.


Retiring from his position at the Waterloo Center for the Arts last year, he is currently serving as Interim Director of the Waldemar A. Schmidt Art Gallery at Wartburg College.

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