Late Jean Seberg honored during first night of festival

Art exhibit opens, student receives drama award

As is tradition, the Jean Seberg Drama Award was presented, sponsored by the Marshalltown High School Drama Department and the festival. This year’s recipient is 2017 MHS grad and current Marshalltown Community College freshman, Isabella Pedersen, left, pictured with MHS instructor Heather Lee, right

As is tradition, the Jean Seberg Drama Award was presented, sponsored by the Marshalltown High School Drama Department and the festival. This year’s recipient is 2017 MHS grad and current Marshalltown Community College freshman, Isabella Pedersen, left, pictured with MHS instructor Heather Lee, right

The seventh annual Jean Seberg Festival of the Arts encompasses a variety of aspects related to the late actress’ legacy — art, film, music, theater, social activism, and more, during this three-day event held at the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center.

The event began at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night when doors opened to reveal an art exhibit, featuring 19 works by 17 artists from all over the globe, inspired by Seberg in some way. The public is asked to vote for best in show, with the People’s Choice Award being presented Sunday afternoon at the end of the festivities.

Husband-wife singing duo Amy & Adams performed in the Black Box theater, where attendees got to mingle, sample hors d’oeuvres, and look through the scrapbooks filled with Seberg memorabilia. Mark Adams-Westin of the singing duo was a personal friend of the Sebergs, having been employed in Ed Seberg’s pharmacy as a teenager. He and his wife have been festival staples for many years.

As is tradition, the Jean Seberg Drama Award was presented, sponsored by the Marshalltown High School Drama Department and the festival. This year’s recipient is 2017 MHS grad and current Marshalltown Community College freshman, Isabella Pedersen.

“Bella was especially adept at guiding other younger students in their roles both on and off stage, and was always willing to lend a hand,” said her former instructor and award presenter, Heather Lee.

Pedersen, who plans to study social work at the University of Northern Iowa next year, had this to say about the honor: “I wasn’t expecting it. Growing up, I knew Jean was such an icon internationally, and was from here. She was such a large inspiration for me. But she was more than just an actress, and that’s what inspires me about Jean.”

Liz Gilman also earned an award, “for her outstanding service in honoring and promoting Jean Seberg’s legacy as an actress, humanitarian and endless source of inspiration.”

Seberg’s sister, MaryAnn Shuey, who is a regular attendee of the festival, also thanked the public for coming each year to honor her sister’s legacy.

Friday’s festivities concluded with a Reader’s Theater performance of “Sabrina Fair” and “Stardust” (plays in which Seberg performed in high school), directed by MCC Professor David Engel.

Festivities continue today with a 10 a.m. roundtable discussion “Jean Forever Relevant” hosted by British writer Cedric Pulford, in the Black Box theater. From 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Guided Legacy Tour of 12 key Seberg sites in Marshalltown will take place. Also going on at that time will be “Memories of Jean,” held at the theater. MCC’s Steve Muntz will film attendees who care to share their thoughts and memories of Seberg — whether or not they knew her personally or are merely fans. From 1:15-2:15 p.m., British musician/filmmaker/writer Jude Rawlins will lead a symposium in the Black Box theater, entitled “Rebel Without a Pause” discussing Seberg’s social activism, followed by a showing of the 1965 Seberg film “Diamonds Are Brittle” at 2:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Nicolas Gessner, who is traveling from Europe to make the appearance. The musical “Paint Your Wagon” will be screened at 6 p.m. The activities will wind down on Sunday, with doors opening at 9:30 a.m.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com