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items tagged with Art in Plain Sight

Art in Plain Sight: Schwiebert Riverfront Park and the Davenport Skatepark
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2015-10-07 14:56:07

The fountain area at Schwiebert Riverfront Park. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Playgrounds can be innovative, bold environments with intriguing sculptural forms: their colors bright and exciting; their designs active – imprinted with the rhythms of jumping, climbing, running, and hanging. They can capture our imagination as fully as abstract works of fine art.

The fountain and playground area in Schwiebert Riverfront Park and the Davenport Skatepark in its entirety are among the most compelling and visually exciting environments created for play in the Quad Cities. There are other wonderful places in the Quad Cities for children to play, learn, and socialize, such as the Family Museum in Bettendorf and the Fejervary Learning Center in Davenport. (Happily, the Mother Goose entrance to the latter is restored.) But they are inside or fenced in – not necessarily “in plain sight.”

The groups of playground equipment at Schwiebert Riverfront Park, on the Mississippi riverfront between 17th and 20th streets in downtown Rock Island, are like islands on a sea of blue padded tiles – crazy geometric shapes with Dr. Seuss-like chutes and ladders on metal stilts. Each has multiple entries and unique nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. Integrated into the playground are digital electronic games without instructions.


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Art in Plain Sight: The Giant Wheel
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2015-06-24 14:59:04

Photo by Bruce Walters

The Giant Wheel rises to a height of 110 feet above Modern Woodmen Park’s baseball field in Davenport. This exciting addition to the Quad Cities’ riverfront is part viewing platform, part light display, part landmark. It is also a part of our regional history.

As an observation platform, the Giant Wheel offers an impressive view of the river and surrounding landscape – experienced simultaneously by the thrill of ascending the wheel’s arc to its towering height and then, after a moment at the apex, descending forward over the circle’s arc. Passengers travel at a rate of 2.5 revolutions per minute.

The wheel is impressive in the daytime. But at night – when lit by its 57,600 individual LED lights – it is all the more spectacular. The changing patterns of colors are mesmerizing, whether seen as a passenger or observed from the ground. In one sequence, a ring of blue lights radiates outward over bright yellow and red lights on the wheel’s spokes to light the wheel’s rim, then it races back to the wheel’s center. The bright blue lights then spiral outward like a pinwheel.


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Art in Plain Sight: Black Hawk Mural
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2015-02-12 16:21:47

Photo by Bruce Walters

The height of the five-story Black Hawk mural in the Rock Island District is what first catches our eye. Our attention continues to be held as we begin to realize that much of the mural is a painted illusion of three-dimensional space – blended seamlessly with actual architectural forms. Its most compelling aspect, however, may be the clash of values between Native American culture and ours that can be discovered in the work.


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Art in Plain Sight: Halloween Decorations
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2014-10-29 14:45:51

1109 East Rusholme Street in Davenport. Photo by Bruce Walters.

Against the unknown, Halloween is our brave face. It confronts the lengthening nights and approaching cold of winter. It laughs loudly in the face of death.

Today, Halloween is often perceived simply as a kid-friendly celebration for costume parties and collecting candy. Though the holiday suits our contemporary world, many of its traditions are surprisingly old. Trick-or-treating, for example, became widespread in America in the 1940s. However, the custom of dressing in costumes and begging door-to-door dates back to the Middle Ages. Wearing costumes to ward off harmful spirits at this time of year is even more ancient. This practice evolved over the centuries, yet the core intent to transform one’s identity still captivates us.


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Art in Plain Sight: The Arsenal and Wells Fargo Clocks
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2014-08-21 18:40:21

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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