Iowa PBS presents Story of Us: A PBS American Portrait Special

Iowans from across the state share their lives in the extraordinary new program Story of Us: A PBS American Portrait Special, premiering Friday, March 19 at 8:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa PBS. 

In 2020, PBS asked people to share short stories about their lives to inspire a nationwide conversation about what it really means to be an American today. Thousands of Americans, including Iowans from across the state, responded, lending their voices to the American Portrait project. Iowa PBS highlights some of the submissions from Iowans in this special. Among the featured stories, viewers will hear from:

  • Young women in Cedar Rapids exploring their anger about racism.
  • Vietnamese Americans who are promoting their heritage by re-creating traditional family meals.
  • A young man keeping alive the art of producing music on vinyl records.
  • A woman who is fulfilling her dreams through the ritual of costume design.
  • A nature conservationist in Dubuque who relishes the sounds outside his front door.
  • A Sioux City man struggling to find the best size 15 sneakers.

These experiences, and all of the stories shared in the American Portrait project, yield complex and diverse stories of what brings people together and what keeps them apart as they strive to understand one another.  

Story of Us: A PBS American Portrait Special will also air Sunday, March 21 at 2 p.m. In addition to its statewide broadcast, Iowa PBS .1 is available to livestream on,, the PBS Video App and YouTube TV. Iowa PBS programs, behind-the-scenes extras and more can be enjoyed on, Facebook and YouTube. Viewers can also stream their favorite shows on demand using the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android and many streaming devices.