Artistic Iowa

Courtesy of Asphate

Paintings, symphonies, and sculptures have long been considered art forms, but the last century has given way to newer forms of expression that many consider to be artistic.

"Art is something that captures a lot of what we all agree upon is important or beautiful, but what makes it art is something that takes it into that realm of someone's imagination," says Todd Behrens, curator of the Sioux City Art Museum.

MCAD Library

Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Every great architect is — necessarily — a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.”

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on architecture in Iowa. He’s joined by Iowa State University College of Design associate professors Dan Naegele and Cameron Campbell. They explain how building design in Iowa has changed over the decades, what is says about us, and the art of the field.

Michael Leland / Iowa Public Radio

Humans have been making monuments and memorializing events, people, and tragedies for a long time. Do we think about memorials different today than we used to? 

According to David Schmitz, who is Executive Director with the Dubuque Museum of Art, the answer is yes.  Schmidtz has worked cataloging memorials and monuments in the state. 

Andrea Mahoney / Briarwood Healthcare Center

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America says music, when used appropriately, can shift a patient's mood, help with managing stress and agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and help with motor movements. Now, researchers at the University of Iowa are studying the extent of that effect. Alaine Reschke-Hernandez, a music therapist, and Dr.

Paul Stein / Wikimedia Commons

Coloring books published for grown ups have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Mark Muller, an Iowa city based artist who just published his first coloring book through University of Iowa Press, jokes that when he first heard about the trend, he misunderstood what was going on. 

"When I first heard of the adult coloring trend, I thought it was pornographic," he laughs. "Then I realized it meant coloring books for adults. I think it's a really cool thing." 

Every fall, Iowa Public Radio celebrates Iowa week with a series of programs devoted to exploring culture in our state and what it means to be Iowan. The theme for 2016 was “Artistic Iowa,” and as a part of that series, we asked listeners to send us their line drawings depicting what Iowa means to them. We received more than 300 submissions from across the state from artists ranging in age from 8 to 68.

courtesy of Steve Gerberich / gerbomatic.com

What does it take to make it as an artist? When the line between success and failure is so thin, what factors contribute to an artist making it? For some, the old adage “Success is a third talent, a third perseverance, and a third talent” may not apply.

“I’d take ‘a third talent’ out of that, and I’d replace perseverance with attrition,” laughs Halt and Catch Fire actor Toby Huss.

Courtesy of Bill Close

For many students who attended Peet Junior High in Cedar Falls, Bill Close was one of those teachers who was larger than life, just like the art he worked on with his students.

For nearly a quarter century, he designed mega sculptures that he enlisted his art students to help build as a part of his art class.

"The ladies in the cafeteria asked us to make some posters for National School Lunch Week. When I proposed the colored posters for school lunch week, their eyes kind of rolled,” he says about his students at the time.

The act of creating is a powerful one, but you don't have to be a professional artist to tap into that power.  On this "Iowa Week" program about the arts in Iowa, we talk to a number of Iowans about art in their communities, from theater to community bands to the visual arts.