The Artisan Studio at Brucemore

Art Should Be Supported Here

January 30th, 2020

cedar-rapids-evening-gazette-Oct-14-1915-p-1-zz4zbp.png“Art Should Be Supported Here.”

Boldly proclaimed from the front page of the October 14, 1915 edition of TheCedar Rapids Evening Gazette, this headline makes a statement which continues to resonate more than 100 years later. Art should be supported here.

 Not written as an indictment of the people of Cedar Rapids but as encouragement, this headline urged more people to be involved in supporting art and to give a voice to those already involved. Among those involved in championing art in Cedar Rapids during the early 20th century was Irene Douglas. Irene and husband, George, were the second owners of Brucemore. As committed philanthropists, they were involved in many local charitable groups. Of special interest to Irene was the cultivation of art in its many forms.

While she was living at Brucemore, Irene filled her home with music and the arts. She hosted concerts and theater within her home and on the grounds of Brucemore. She sponsored events throughout the city and supported local artists by purchasing and commissioning works for her home. In the 1920s, Irene was involved with the Cedar Rapids Art Association, providing opportunities for artists such as Frank Dudley, Marvin Cone, and Grant Wood (all of whom have work you can view hanging on the walls at Brucemore to this day).

Irene, along with so many other early patrons of the arts, helped establish Cedar Rapids’ cultural scene and provided a foundation for the modern arts organizations. At Brucemore, we are proud to continue the tradition which Irene Douglas started. Our programs celebrate theater, arts, and music, and support local organizations, artists, and performers. We are excited to share that Brucemore has created a new opportunity to support art: the Artisan Studio.

The Artisan Studio, which launched in October 2019, is an opportunity for Brucemore, through its Artisan in Residence program, to foster and cultivate local talent. A group of gifted artists who have previously performed on the estate were selected by the Artisan Studio to return and make music under the guidance of Brucemore’s Artisan in Residence, Gerard Estella. Gerard and his team at GMix East bring their backgrounds and expertise to the Artisan Studio, working with artists to write, develop, produce, record, and mix original work. Those selected for this unique opportunity are showcasing their art in Brucemore’s Live from the Artisan Studio series in 2020.

One hundred years before the Artisan Studio, Irene Douglas worked with other dedicated patrons of the arts to support home-grown talent, putting on concerts, performances, and exhibits. She supported artists like Marvin Cone and Grant Wood as they showed their community and the world their art. A century later the names have changed, but the goal is the same: to support art here.


Do I need to pay to enter the estate and walk on the grounds?

No. Visiting the Brucemore estate during grounds hours is free. Tickets are only required for scheduled tours and events, and they can be purchased in advance online.

Is a reservation needed to visit Brucemore?

You do not need a reservation to visit the grounds on your own. You do need a ticket to go inside the mansion. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance online or by calling 319-362-7375 for any of our mansion tours or other scheduled special themed tours due to limited capacity. Please visit our calendar to see upcoming opportunities and to purchase your tickets.

Touring the Mansion

Can I take pictures inside the mansion?

Yes. Photography is allowed during tours for personal, non-professional use. Tripods, selfie-sticks, or other photography equipment will not be permitted. Photographs should not distract from others’ enjoyment.

How large is the mansion?

Brucemore is approximately 15,000 square feet.

How many fireplaces, rooms, and floors does Brucemore have?

There are 21 “main” rooms, 14 fireplaces and four floors plus an attic.

Is all of the furniture original to the house and families?

Much of the furniture you will see on display belonged to the second or third families to live at Brucemore; however, some pieces had to be replaced with replicas or similar antiques.

Is the mansion handicap accessible?

The Brucemore mansion includes multiple floors and several staircases. Because of the historic architecture, some spaces are not accessible. Due to preservation work, the wheelchair lift that offers accessibility to the first floor is not available at this time. An elevator is not available from the first floor to the other floors at any time. Learn more about accessibility at Brucemore.

Group and School Tours

Is there an age requirement for students visiting Brucemore?

You do not have to be a certain age to visit or attend a program at Brucemore. Different programs are best suited for different ages. Tours of the mansion are recommended for 4th grade students and older.

Where do we park?

Parking is available on site a short walk from the mansion or carriage house. Buses must follow special instructions. Large events may not be able to accommodate on-site parking; please see the event calendar information for exceptions.

Is bus parking available?

Yes. Bus parking is available near the carriage house. Buses must arrive via special directions as they are unable to fit in our historic gates.

Is there a lunch area at Brucemore?

There are a couple of small picnic tables in the orchard and Adirondack chairs in pairs across the property to utilize during the warmer months. You are also welcome to bring your own blanket or chair to picnic on the grounds. Please carry out any trash to help our small staff keep the grounds beautiful.

Does my group have to arrive together?

Your group does not have to arrive together, however, parking on site is limited.

What is your payment policy?

Brucemore admission for group tours is often requested to be paid prior to the visit and a deposit may be required. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card and should be paid in one sum.

Do I need to make an appointment to tour the mansion?

You must have a ticket to a tour or program inside the mansion. Many tours do sell out in advance; purchase online or by calling 319-362-7375 in advance of your visit to guarantee your spot. See the schedule here.

Is the mansion wheelchair accessible?

The mansion is not currently accessible to wheelchairs due to preservation work. The mansion includes multiple flights of stairs. Most of the outdoor areas of the site are accessible. See our full accessibility information and contact us with additional questions regarding your visit.

Can I walk on the property?

Yes, the grounds and gardens are open daily most of the year. Several self-guided interpretive panels are available. See hours here.

What is Brucemore’s ticket policy?

Tickets are non-refundable, but may be rescheduled for comparable programs as space allows. Learn more.

I’m attending a large event at Brucemore. Where do I park?

Large events may require you to park offsite. Please read the event details on the calendar for specific information for each event.

Are weapons allowed at Brucemore?

We prohibit weapons on the property and at programs to ensure the safety and security of all employees and people visiting Brucemore.