Art, Galleries & Museums
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Lynn Bartenhagen   
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:27

The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center in welcoming Carol Ehlers, art history speaker, as she presents a 45 minute lecture on the art of French painter and sculptor Henri Matisse. The lecture will take place Thursday, May 24 at 5:30 pm in the Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room. Admission is free.

Henri Matisse was an artist known as a draftsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter and for his use of color. Matisse was one of the leaders of the “Fauves”, a group of painters united by their use of fresh color, pure pigments and distortion of form. Years later he would be hailed as a champion of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was born December 31, 1869 in France. He first started to paint in 1889, after his mother brought him art supplies while he recovered from appendicitis. He discovered "a kind of paradise" as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father, who wanted him to study law.

In late 1890’s Matisse was introduced to Post-Impressionism, which changed his style completely. Many of Matisse's paintings from 1898 to 1901 make use of the pointillist technique he adopted from Georges Seurat and Paul Signac.

Later in life and wheelchair-bound, Matisse started creating cut paper collages, called gouaches découpés. He called this technique "painting with scissors". In 1951 he finished a four-year project of designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence, often referred to as the Matisse Chapel. Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of 84 in 1954.

In 1992 the Muscatine Art Center’s collections were significantly enriched by a gift of twenty-seven works of art by Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Degas, Boudin, Chagall, Renoir, and other European artists. The collection was a gift from the estate of Mary Musser Gilmore in honor of her parents, Richard Drew Musser and Sarah Walker Musser. The paintings are on permanent display in the Laura Musser Mansion.


Lecture: “The Wonderful World of Color: Henri Matisse”

Who: Carol Ehlers

When: Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time: 5:30 PM

Where: The Muscatine Art Center’s Music Room

Admission to this program is FREE.


Please contact Katy Doherty, Program Coordinator, with any questions or concerns at  563-263-8282 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Building Brainstorm: Exciting Design Exhibition at the Family Museum PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Elly Gerdts   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 07:47

Bettendorf, IA – Beginning Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Family Museum, kids will be able to visit the Building Brainstorm exhibition – a design studio where you can explore what it’s like to be an architect, designer, and engineer. The exhibit will be on display until September of 2012.

Plan a dream home or a dog house, build a skyscraper model, find the best arrangement of an apartment models’ rooms and furniture, construct a structure you can crawl through, and much more. The exhibition introduces children of all ages to the design process, including collaborative problem-solving planning, revisions, and execution.

The studio environment, inspired by the philosophy and aesthetic of mid-century designers Charles and Ray Eames, is filled with architectural plans, photographs, models, and authentic building elements. The show features interactive workbenches and job sites that equip diminutive designers to brainstorm creative solutions for architectural and engineering challenges. Kids will discover the basics of buildings while exploring the process of creating structures that match the needs of the people inside them.


1.       Shape Search Challenge: find basic geometric shapes in complex buildings

2.       Shapes in Buildings Challenge: replicate unusually shaped structures with wood blocks

3.       Inside Shapes Challenge: make your own crawl-through structure to experience curved, angled, and square building shapes from a different perspective

4.       Window House Challenge: experiment with changeable clear, translucent, and opaque panels

5.       Floor Plan Challenge: create the ideal floor plan for a model home, arrange rooms and miniature furniture

6.       Room Design Challenge: create an inspiration board with real samples

7.       Brainstorm Challenge: generate creative designs for imaginary clients (examples: a dog house or a school for skateboarders).

Brainstorm Challenge.jpg: Beatrix Eckert-Chu, 5, and Carmen Milena Lopez, 5, design a home for a unicorn in the “Brainstorm Challenge” area of the Building Brainstorm design and architecture exhibit. Each day, this area presents visitors with a unique “client” for which they design a suitable structure; the girls’ challenge was to design a house for an animal. Their unicorn pad features high ceilings so it can fly, but it does not need a kitchen since the animal can eat grass outside.


Shapes in Buildings Challenge.jpg: Donovan Bembridge, 10, and Ishmel White, 11, design a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the “Shapes in Buildings Challenge” area of the Building Brainstorm design and architecture exhibit. This area encourages children – and adults – to create buildings from the basic geometric shapes found in structures across the globe. The boys’ design includes an observation platform and skateboard arenas.


Window House Challenge.jpg: The “Window House Challenge” area in the Building Brainstorm exhibit invites kids to test how light and air transform a space by changing out clear, opaque, and translucent panels.


Floor Plan Challenge.jpg: The “Floor Plan Challenge” area in the Building Brainstorms exhibit allows kids to create the ideal floor plan for a model home by arranging rooms and miniature furniture.



Figge Celebrates National Bike Month PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Susan Horan   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 14:39

Davenport, IOWA (May 2012) In celebration of National Bike Month, the Figge has re-installed Lance Armstrong, a photograph by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.  The photo, taken in 1999, depicts the seven time Tour de France champion nude on his bike riding through rain.  The photo is on view in the museum lobby and there is no admission fee to view the work.  The museum encourages bikers on the Mississippi waterfront trail to make a stop at the Figge a part of their ride. A bike rack is available on the east side of the Figge Plaza on 2nd Street.


This installation is offered in partnership with Bicycle Friendly Quad Cities and Bike Month. To learn more about Bicycle Friendly Quad Cities and Bike Month activities, visit


About the Figge Art Museum

The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays 12-5 p.m.  Thursdays the museum is open until 9pm. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit our website,

David Plowden's Iowa Opens at the Figge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Susan Horan   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:43

Davenport, IOWA (May 2012). David Plowden's Iowa will open at the Figge Art Museum on Saturday, May 12 and run through August 19, 2012.   The product of a collaboration between Humanities Iowa, the Figge and several other museums in the state, the exhibition features over fifty black and white photographs that showcase familiar as well as never seen images of Plowden’s beloved Iowa.


Iowa has been a subject of David Plowden’s photography since 1983 when a commission by Smithsonian magazine to photograph corn first introduced the native of the East Coast to Iowa. Since this initial visit, Plowden has returned to Iowa time and again, seeking to convey his impressions and experience of Iowa as a uniquely American “place.”


“The notion that home is a place integral to a person’s sense of self is not a novel concept. Identifying a geographic region as the Middle-West or the heartland implies that it is a place central to a country’s identity – the very heart of America. In Plowden’s own words, it is not possible to understand America without a visit to the Midwest,” says Figge Associate Curator Rima Girnius.


Mr. Plowden will be featured in at 7pm Art Talk at the Figge on Thursday, May 17.  During the Art Talk, Associate Curator Rima Girnius will interview Mr. Plowden about his long career, and his photographs on display in David Plowden's Iowa.  The Figge will host a public reception for the exhibition prior to Mr. Plowden’s talk.  The reception begins at 6pm.  The reception and Art Talk are free with membership or paid admission.


The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, Sundays 12-5 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit our website,



Gallery Opening for Local Photographer, Rita Templeton PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Art, Galleries & Museums
Written by Jake Glimco   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:30

McCausland, IA / May 7th, 2012 – Peaceful River Trading Co. will feature the work of Rita Templeton on May 17th, 2012 with a Gallery Opening from 4-7pm.  The gallery will feature some of Rita’s latest photography work with images focusing on the natural beauty of our surrounding area.

Rita has always enjoyed nature and taking pictures; so it was only natural she took her passion to the next level when she received a SLR camera from her husband. Photography is not her fulltime career, although she hopes it will be some day.  “I love to capture nature at her best.  You only have a split second to achieve that perfect picture.  Many times you have to wait for what seems like hours.” says Rita. “I feel it’s an honor that God has provided me the beauty and I have been able to capture it." And capture it she does. Rita’s work ranges from stunning close ups of animals to beautiful pieces that juxtapose man and nature. When asked what she wants her viewers to get from her work, Rita said, “Life is not measured by breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. That is how I want people to feel when they look at my photos.”

When she wants that perfect shot, timing is everything. Sometimes Rita can capture her shot in an instant and sometimes it can take hours. One particularly long wait she can remember was when photographing a crane (see below). Rita found the perfect framing for this image, but the bird was not quite in the place she wanted, so she sat in the weeds and waited. The whole time she was swatting bugs and hoping her batteries wouldn’t die. Her secret to capturing the perfect image is patience and it sure pays off.

Peaceful River brings visitors back to a simpler time and is housed in a beautiful, circa-1916 bank building, formerly the home of McCausland State Bank. They carry many items from arts and crafts to antiques, gifts, and collectibles. Peaceful River Trading Co. is open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.  McCausland is located about 20 miles northeast of Davenport, just off Utica Ridge Road on F33 and 5 minutes north of Scott County Park.  Explore Peaceful River Trading Co. at




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