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A Comfortable Place for Dialogues: The Figge’s New Executive Director Outlines a Modest but Tangible Vision PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 05:51

Tim SchifferIf you’re looking for excitement from Tim Schiffer – the Figge Art Museum executive director who started on August 1 – don’t talk to him. Instead, just look at the walls.

In our interview on January 25, the soft-spoken Schiffer articulated a modest plan for the Figge, but one that visitors will be able to see for themselves in “clusters” of exhibits that play off each other.

Schiffer’s predecessor, Sean O’Harrow – who left after three years at the Figge to head the University of Iowa Museum of Art in November 2010 – believed that the Figge needed to emphasize education above all else (including being an art museum) and that the endowment needed to be built from $5 million to somewhere between $20 million and $50 million.

Because the process of developing a strategic plan for the Figge is just getting underway, the new executive director didn’t offer measurable goals in those areas. But Schiffer – who had been executive director of California’s Museum of Ventura County since 1999 – has already put his stamp on the museum in a different way.

 
Selections from “Augustana Sights & Sounds,” January 25 through February 22 at Bucktown PDF Print E-mail
Photography
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 09:10

Here you’ll find selections from the photography and video exhibit Augustana Sights & Sounds, which will run from January 25 through February 22 at the Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street in Davenport). An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, January 25, and will feature music by Augustana students along with the visual work.

Photographers featured in the show include students from Augustana College and local high schools.

Angelica Lindqvist, Augustana College class of 2016

 
Art in Plain Sight: “St. Anthony Church Pioneers” PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:55

'St. Anthony Church Pioneers.' Photo by Bruce Walters.

In 1989, Donna Marihart and Ann Opgenorth completed a brazed-copper sculpture for the 150th anniversary of St. Anthony Catholic Church (417 Main Street in Davenport), the oldest standing church building in Iowa. Titled St. Anthony Church Pioneers, the sculpture depicts a group of men and women who contributed to the founding of the church and the City of Davenport. The composition as a whole creates a sense of community.

The figures are gathered behind a portrayal of a seated Antoine LeClaire (1797-1861), who is holding an open plan or map. LeClaire donated the land on which the church was built.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Two Murals by William Gustafson PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Friday, 30 November 2012 14:14

'The Mighty Fine Line,' by William Gustafson. Photo by Bruce Walters.

The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi (at Rock Island) and the establishment of industry in Moline are commemorated in two Quad Cities murals painted by William Gustafson. One can almost feel the wheel of progress beginning to turn in the depiction of these transformative events.

The Mighty Fine Line is a 55-by-45-foot mural on the south side of Steve’s Old Time Tap in the Rock Island District, near the corner of Third Avenue and 17th Street. Painted in 2006, the mural marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first rail bridge to span the Mississippi River. Gustafson, who teaches art at Rock Island High School, worked with Curtis Roseman – a local historian and professor emeritus at the University of Southern California – to provide historic details of the mural’s subjects. As Gustafson told me in an interview, historic accuracy in these works was important to him.

 
Art in Plain Sight: “The Peaceful Warriors” and “No Future – No Past – No You – No Me” PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Monday, 29 October 2012 05:39

The Peaceful Warriors by Skip Willits and No Future – No Past – No You – No Me by Terry Rathje are located in an alley, not displayed prominently at a building’s entrance or in an open location as one might expect for such thoughtful and professionally produced artworks. Both artists, however, created their pieces knowing that they would be displayed alongside graffiti, dumpsters, and loading docks.

'The Peaceful Warriors,' by Skip Willits. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Entering the alley between Second and Third avenues from 17th Street in the Rock Island District – near Theo’s Java Club – one is initially met by Willits’ three metal sculptures mounted high on a brick wall. The welded masks, made from hot rolled-metal sheets, are approximately five feet in height. In the daytime, they feel benign; their gaze is diffident. At night, they feel like armored sentries posted at an entry into darkness.

 
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