Connie Gibbons' office at DavenportOne is small to begin with, but it's positively cramped now, with boards and papers showing layouts, logos, and artist renderings of the River Music Experience, set to open June 11 next year across the street, in the Redstone building on Second Street between Main and Brady in downtown Davenport.

Last year, mixed-media artist Terry Rathje won second-place honors at the Rock Island Fine Arts competition with his sculpture Cubus. He now has 11 sculptures in an exhibit (running through November) at the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery at the Iowa Welcome Center near LeClaire, but I'm not as excited about the works chosen for this show as I was by Cubus.

We received nearly 80 entries in response to the first-ever River Cities' Reader photo contest, and we couldn't be more pleased with the results. We divided the contest into three categories - people, Quad Cities places, and digitally altered - and the diversity of the entries shows the wide range of possibilities for the photographic arts.

It has to be old, broken, rotting, or decayed for something to make it as Jon Stuckenschneider subject matter. I don't think the travel and tourism bureaus will want to hire him to do their photos, because his black-and-white gelatin prints evoke bleakness.

The River Cities' Reader is conducting its spring photo contest, so get out your cameras and start shooting. Winners will be published in the April 12, 2006, issue of the River Cities' Reader.

We are accepting entries in three categories: (1) comfort, (2) mystique, and (3) waste.

The Illinois Arts Council, along with teachers and artists from around the state, celebrated the completion of the second year of the Illinois Mississippi River Valley Project with a festival weekend August 15 through 17 in Galena, Illinois.

The steel that's rising from the ground along River Driver between Harrison and Main streets in Davenport is the physical skeleton of the $34.4-million Figge Arts Center, but it also stands as a symbol of a new framework for doing business for the Davenport Museum of Art (DMA).

Artist Les Bell has a document from September 1999 that lists artists' complaints about the Davenport Museum of Art (DMA). They include the museum not publishing its mission statement, not welcoming local artists, and not making studio visits.

Ghostlight Theatre can thank World War II, at least in part, for the patronage of Dr. Walter E. Neiswanger.

The theatre company's upcoming production of Das Barbecü will happen largely because of Neiswanger.

Kathleen Van Hyfte says her work is in a stage of transition, but I don't agree.

There is a strong cubist element that runs through most of the works currently on display in a two-person show at the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery near LeClaire.

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