Reader issue #643 Welcome to the Annual Manual for the Arts.

In years past, the River Cities' Reader has published a music guide each summer. We've expanded our vision this year with this inaugural Annual Manual for the Arts.

The impetus behind the Annual Manual for the Arts is that there has been no single resource for the arts in the Quad Cities, whether you're a consumer of the arts, one of their practitioners, or someone who wants to become one of their practitioners.

Reader issue #617The e-mail query was direct, but the phrasing was careless: "I'm working on an article on making a living as an artist ... ," it began.

The response from writer Maureen Wallner came within half an hour: "Making a living," she wrote. "That's funny. If we count fulfillment, I'm a wealthy lady."

Less sarcastically, photographer Jack Wilhoit said: "I don't know any artist ... who is making a living selling their own art."

artwork by Elizabeth Shriver It has always been a nomadic monster, roaming the Quad Cities (usually Rock Island) in search of arts patrons. In recent years, it has squatted at The Villa, the McKesson building, and (most recently) the Rocket Theatre.

Now, in its 13th year, it has taken up temporary residence across the river in Bucktown, and it has also mutated. What was once a single-minded creature - all about selling art - has now evolved into something of an entertainer. To its already formidable arsenal it has added magic and improvisational comedy and a haunted dungeon.

It is, of course, MidCoast Fine Arts' Great Mask Halloween Bash & Fine Art Auction, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, at the Bucktown Center for the Arts (225 East Second Street in downtown Davenport).

"Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper" by Dick Cooley Glancing at the Dick Cooley metal sculpture that he calls "my Sunbeam, Airstream, Toaster Camper," your first thought is likely to be: Look at that - a toaster on roller skates.

But stare at it a bit longer. Hey - there's a bottle opener for the grill. That's a cheese-grater awning. The lights are actually nuts. And wait a minute ... is that what I think it is?

Yup. "I have a martini shaker on the front for a hitch," Cooley said during a recent phone interview. "I always try to put many different things in a piece."

"Suited Saguaro Sights Migrating Money" by John M. Booth Painter John M. Booth, referencing one of his artworks, says, "Hopefully, it'll put a smile on somebody's wall." The odds are pretty good that it will - in his airbrushed acrylic paintings, there's a lot of smiling going on.

In Booth's Fishin, an enormous red fish grins dementedly as he prepared to devour a small black cat. In Tada, a similar fish - emerald green this time - is balanced on top of a cat, who, in turn, stands upon a dog; their smiles indicate great pride at the feat. (Ta da!) In Good Coffee, a balding, middle-aged man looks frighteningly giddy about taking his first sip.

And throughout Booth's works, many of which can be seen at (http://www.masongraphics.net) and at Riverssance this weekend, his figures - human and animal, smiling and unsmiling alike - are painted in bold, vivid colors, a vibrant array of reds, blues, greens, and purples.

Issue 586 cover Johanne Jakhelln has worked with unorthodox spaces before. As the artistic director for Ballet Quad Cities, Jakhelln, for example, has had to deal with the choir step on the stage at Augustana College's Centennial Hall. "You have to be creative to integrate that into what you're doing," she said.

So the Mississippi River is no big thing. For this Saturday's one-hour performance One River Mississippi, Jakhelln merely needs to choreograph and coordinate more than 60 volunteer performers at seven sites along the river from the Centennial Bridge to the roller dam at Locks & Dam 15. She will just work with dancers, water skiers, boaters, and a Native American medicine woman. And it only needs to be coordinated with six other river sites - Itasca, Minnesota; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Memphis; New Orleans; and Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana - and set to music.

No big deal. Just like at Centennial Hall.

At her house, Katie Kiley is drawing in India ink on a wooden vase created by Steve Sinner. Using magnifying-glass headgear and two of the finest-point pens she could find, she's creating eight panels around the vase, depicting scenes from a California town. The naked eye can't appreciate the level of detail, and each panel takes two weeks to complete, she said.

Sinner expects to sell the piece for $20,000, Kiley said, and she's being extremely careful with the vessel. "I have this resting on a down pillow," she said.

Sinner, of course, is among the most highly regarded artists in the Quad Cities, and Kiley notes that he knows what price his work commands. But she is no slouch, as evidenced by two awards she won in the 181st Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, presented by the National Academy in New York City.
In discussing the Quad Cities’ inaugural Venus Envy last year, festival chair Rachael Mullins said she hoped to draw between 300 and 500 people. Mallarie Zimmer, the founder of Venus Envy who has spread her celebration of women and the arts from St.
Attendance for the 16th annual Riverssance Festival of Fine Art in 2003 - the first year the event was presented in conjunction with MidCoast Fine Arts - was estimated at about 15,000 people. But last year's festival drew roughly 12,000 attendees, a number that Riverssance Director Larry DeVilbiss admits was well below expectations.
At Riverssance, collectors and connoisseurs of art have the opportunity to purchase the works they most love, but their creators are competing with one another for more than just a sale. They're also competing for a share in the festival's $3,000 awards purse.

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