Quotes & Accolades
The Iowa City arts community provided the support and discipline to prepare me for a career as a professional stage director. Part of why I chose The University of Iowa Theatre Department to study was the vibrancy and diversity of the Iowa City community. I was afforded so many opportunities to grow as an artist, the community was instrumental in shaping the artist that I became.
Over the last ten years I have had the privilege to return and collaborate with Leslie on various theatre productions. She remains one of the most creative, focused, and positive collaborators that I have worked with. Leslie Nolte exemplifies what is best about Iowa City, she is an inspiring arts leader who has cultivated an inclusive array of performers, artists, and educators to train the next generation of artists.
Leslie understands how to train artists for a successful care by personalizing their education to refine their natural abilities and gifts. Leslie empowers her students to embrace what makes them unique, she then trains them to maximize their skills, and cultivate the work ethic to succeed. Coupled with rigorous training in a compassionate and inclusive community, the ICON Arts Academy will empower their students to be successful in the arts and entertainment industry. Part of why I have such enormous respect for Leslie is that she is a dreamer with the skills and enthusiasm to realize her dreams. She instills this determination and passion in her students, which prepares them for the rigors of a very competitive industry.
Leslie Nolte is the bedrock of the Iowa City arts community. Having worked with Leslie’s students, collaborated with her on creative projects, and having visited the footprint and renovation of the building — ICON will, without question, be a hub for arts education and expanding the next generation of creatives who will influence the field for years to come.
My experience working with Leslie Nolte has left me with high admiration for not only her skills as a director and teacher, but as a visionary. The scope of her ambition for young people is broad, yet practical and truly inspired. Leslie knows that the value of art in young lives is priceless. Her mission to enrich those lives through education, nurturing, guidance and motivation has already been successful, as evidenced in the scores of youth who have passed through her school with more confidence, self-worth, empathy for others, physical and mental achievement, and a true love and appreciation for what art is.
The community of Iowa City is immensely lucky to have someone like Leslie with such dedication, wisdom, and integrity.
My first memories include my time with Leslie, at Nolte Academy, where I began dancing at age two. Leslie’s lifelong mentorship has helped shape my career and my life, and to see the growth of her enterprises makes me so excited as I know she will continue to change lives for many more dancers time and time again.
Iowa City is an oasis in the Midwest. Small town friendliness coupled with an amazing arts and culture scene. Leslie and the entire Nolte team have been instrumental in creating a vibrant and thriving community here in Iowa City and ICON promises to take it all to a whole new level!
Having grown up in Manhattan, dancing for Mr. Balanchine in the NYCB, I am not easily impressed by art scenes in other places. But, Iowa City and all Leslie Nolte has done for the dance and theatre scene in Iowa City has really impressed me.
I love my summers participating in the Open Doors festival. Leslie brings exciting and renowned artists to work with the young aspiring students.
The addition of Leslie and Mark Nolte’s James Theater is a great plus for the city. What an opportunity for smaller scale performances. I can speak from personal experience, my story ballet couldn’t have been performed anywhere else. At the James, the dancers performed to sold out crowds.
I am excited about all that is to come with ICON and I look forward to being a part of it. Such a great opportunity for students from near and far to come and study in this vibrant atmosphere. Bravo Leslie, Nolte, and Iowa City!