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  • Featured Images from the Quad Cities Photography Club PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Administrator   
    Wednesday, 22 October 2014 20:58

    (Editor’s note: The River Cities’ Reader each month will feature an image or images from the Quad Cities Photography Club. Click on the images for a larger version.)

    In addition to workshops and other learning opportunities, the Quad Cities Photography Club has monthly competitions. This month, Carol Boyles and Denise Greer each had high-scoring images.

    Photo by Carol Boyles

    Boyles showed a panoramic image of the Davenport waterfront. She and her husband had gone down to the riverfront for the rescheduled Red, White, & Boom fireworks display on Labor Day, and she wanted to photograph the fireworks with the bridge – so she was ready with her tripod and widest-angle lens. While watching the sunset, there was a brief, unexpected downpour followed by this beautiful lighting accompanied by a fantastic double rainbow. She happened to be in the spot where the rainbow’s curve mirrored the arch of the bridge – a lucky accident.

    Concentration and Synergy: Despite a Pending Sale, Bucktown Is Poised to Thrive PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
    Thursday, 16 October 2014 05:18

    Jack Wilhoit

    When MidCoast Fine Arts opened the Bucktown Center for the Arts nine years ago, the marketing played up its downtown-Davenport neighborhood’s once-upon-a-time reputation as the “wickedest city in America.”

    Jack Wilhoit of Worldly Views said some artists who leased studios back then followed that lead. “It seemed like there was a lot of partying by emerging artists, but that didn’t sell fine art,” he said.

    From the photography and works in Worldly Views, it’s obvious that Wilhoit’s muses are the doors and bicycles he’s encountered during his extensive travels – hence, his nickname as “The Door Guy.” Entering the space, you see an unusual table with a gleaming-refinished-door top that sits on a metal support of repurposed bicycle parts – arranged to look as if the framework is ready to move. The metal table legs on one end bend at an angle, as if to simulate an animal’s forward sprint. It successfully suggests futuristic robotic speed blended with the craftsmanship of the sturdy door and meticulously machined parts.

    Wilhoit’s studio is the sole remaining original tenant at Bucktown. While the building still provides studio-shop suites for artists, there have been many changes. There’s a greater number of artists teaching classes in their studios; Bucktown artists talk about how their peers inspire and challenge them; and the tenants now include an animation studio and a store selling an unusual line of paints. When I was hired as Bucktown’s building coordinator in June, I was surprised by both the variety and maturity of the artists and artisans.

    Wilhoit also noted that MidCoast reorganized its second-floor gallery to provide artists with more-affordable gallery spaces, starting at $30 a month. “Initially that space was treated as four partitioned studios and a changing-exhibition showroom,” he said. “About five years ago, the changing-exhibition gallery was kept, but the studios were divided into smaller areas for more artists to have a sales space.” Hallway display cases can also be rented.

    That emphasis on sales, said Dee Schricker of Boho Chic Gallery, is critical to artists: “If it wasn’t important to sell the work, I could create my art at home. My clientele base was built from walk-ins to Bucktown.”

    More change is almost certainly coming to the building with a pending sale, but a downsized MidCoast presence in the building will allow Bucktown to continue as an outlet for artists – and it should still thrive.

    Beyond War and Politics and Religion: St. Ambrose Presents the Middle Eastern Film Festival, October 15 through 24 PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Mike Schulz   
    Thursday, 02 October 2014 06:00

    Zero MotivationSt. Ambrose University’s educational initiative the Middle East Institute (MEI), which just began its first school-calendar year of programming, was designed to foster discussion and study of this frequently misunderstood and geopolitically critical region. And as institute director Ryan Dye says, when it came time to create an event schedule for the MEI’s fall semester, “I consulted with our fine-arts department, and they were really excited about the idea of doing a film festival.”

    Through the art department’s Clea Felien, Dye was put in contact with Ghen Zando-Dennis, a cinema-studies professor at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey. An Alaska native and occasional filmmaker herself, Zando-Dennis teaches a course in Middle Eastern films at Ramapo and was eager to curate the MEI’s event. Zando-Dennis admits, however, that the curator position did come with a challenge for her.

    “I didn’t want to show work just because it’s from this place we regard as ‘the Middle East,’” she says. “I didn’t want anyone to come away from it thinking it was a kind of survey, in any sense of the imagination, of Middle Eastern media art. And yet I’m programming a film festival that’s called ‘the Middle Eastern Film Festival.’ So that’s tricky.”

    Different Paths to Similar Ends: Megan and Kristin Quinn Honored with Riverssance’s Harley Award PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Sherry C. Maurer   
    Wednesday, 17 September 2014 08:51

    'Night Caravan,' by Kristin Quinn

    One is a potter, one a painter. Megan and Kristin Quinn are sisters living and teaching on opposite Mississippi River shores of the Quad Cities. Their paths to art were different, and their chosen media put them at polar ends of a visual-arts axis. Kristin said that, in jest, a brother-in-law calls her “Artsy” and Megan “Craftsy.”

    It doesn’t take long in their presence to grasp their deep mutual admiration and friendship. However, Kristin was nine years old when Megan left for college, and the age difference precluded any close relationship in childhood.

    As the Quinn sisters look back at their family of five children, they see just a few shared inspirations from their time growing up in Bowie, Maryland. Their parents were educators. He was a physicist and professor at the University of Maryland who specialized in optics and provided access to visually stimulating apparatuses: prisms, lenses, even early holograms. “We played laser tag with real lasers,” said Megan with a laugh.

    Along with plentiful lessons on the natural world, they were encouraged to ask questions. Kristin explained: “On long car trips, we passed the time with questions to stump Dad: Why was the sky orange, what caused hail, and how were tunnels built under the bay? ... We refer to these questions now as ‘Tunnel Talk’ questions.”

    The inquisitiveness fostered in their youth is readily apparent in their art, and they’ve built similar teaching careers: Megan is a ceramics professor at Augustana College, while Kristin – the painter – is a professor and chairs the art department at St. Ambrose University. They will be jointly honored with the Harley Award at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 20, as part of MidCoast Fine Arts’ Riverssance Festival of the Arts at Lindsay Park in Davenport.

    Art in Plain Sight: The Arsenal and Wells Fargo Clocks PDF Print E-mail
    Feature Stories
    Written by Bruce Walters   
    Thursday, 21 August 2014 12:40

    The Rock Island Clock Tower Building. Photo by Bruce Walters.

    The impressive clocks atop the Rock Island Clock Tower building (at the western point of Arsenal Island) and the Wells Fargo building (at 201 West Third Street in Davenport) are highly visible landmarks – day or night. From a distance, the clocks appear to be about the size of a full moon – and, like the moon, are viewed against the sky.

    The message conveyed by the height, location, and longevity of these towers is that the institutions associated with them are of great importance to our community. Gazing upward to read the time forces us to look up to these institutions.

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