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Different Paths to Similar Ends: Megan and Kristin Quinn Honored with Riverssance’s Harley Award PDF Print E-mail
Art - 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
Art - 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.

 
Hearts of Glass: Artisans and Students Make Hot Glass in a New Davenport Studio PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 06:00

Hot Glass art, photo by Meghan McLaughlinWhen you first walk in the doors of downtown Davenport’s recently opened Hot Glass art studio, there are a few things you might notice right off the bat.

Initially, your eye is drawn to the vibrant splashes of color on the shelving units to the left: multi-hued glass bowls, vases, and paperweights, all located beneath a striking, meticulously assembled, golden glass chandelier that wouldn’t look out of place in the ballroom of Beauty & the Beast.

To your right, you see much of the studio’s equipment: a workbench and containers of colored glass and a pair of sizable furnaces, one of whose indicators reveals its interior temperature to be just over 2,300 degrees.

On the opposite side of the studio, through the windows facing River Drive, you’re treated to a view of Modern Woodmen Park so picture-perfect that the ballpark should consider using it on souvenir postcards. (Hot Glass is located at 104 Western Avenue, in the rear of the Davenport Printing Company facility.)

But if you turn around and face the direction you came in, you’ll find what is the most beautiful sight in the entire studio, at least for Hot Glass Executive Director Joel Ryser and his co-founder son Logan: a large sign on the wall listing the names of local organizations, businesses, and individuals who provided the money, equipment, and experience necessary to make their dream studio a reality.

 
Art in Plain Sight: “Cadence of Diversity” PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:19

Photo by Bruce Walters

Cadence of Diversity is a joyful mural – rich with expressions of many cultures that are balanced with an underlying theme of connectedness.

The 100-foot-long mural is painted on a concrete wall just south of Seventh Avenue on 38th Street in Rock Island. Working with more than 50 Augustana students, Peter Xiao – a professor of art at the college – led the mural’s development and execution throughout much of 2009, completing the work in the spring of 2010.

 
Art in Plain Sight: Blues Brothers and “Watching the Ferry” PDF Print E-mail
Art - Feature Stories
Written by Bruce Walters   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 05:20

The Blues Brothers. Photo by Bruce Walters.

On May 2, the life-sized sculptures of the Blues Brothers were back on public display in the Rock Island District after months of storage and repairs. The sculptures are seated in chairs near the corner of Second Avenue and 18th Street.

On the same day, Watching the Ferry – a sculpture of two boys seated on a park bench – was unveiled at its new site in Davenport’s Lindsay Park near the riverfront. This sculpture had been out of public view for five years, since its removal from near the Iowa American Water treatment plant when construction began on a floodwall.

Although the timing was a coincidence, the two sculptures share some similarities. Both depict two young men seated side-by-side and convey a sense of camaraderie. Both look to a past associated with the Quad Cities. Both are based on works in other media: television and film with the Blues Brothers and a lithograph with Watching the Ferry.

A comparison between the two pieces is intriguing because of this difference in their sources – as well as in their attitudes, materials, and locations.

 
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