When I walked into MidCoast Gallery West in Rock Island to see the current exhibit featuring works by B. Thomas Lytle and Steve Banks, my senses were bombarded. I was overwhelmed by the number and disparateness of pieces on display, and didn't really know where to begin.

The Quad City Arts Center's Garden Show is a bright and cheerful exhibit that invites spring to come and stay a while. All participating artists were juried by Quad City Arts after a call for entry. The seven artists selected for the Garden Show were invited to take part because of the common theme in their art - flowers and nature.

Hella is a band from Sacramento, California. But Zach Hill wants you to know that Hella is also a person. Sort of.

Hella is "a musical thing that became a person unto itself," Hill said. "There's such an evolution.

I was greeted by myriad colors and shapes as I entered the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery in LeClaire to see its current exhibit. Lisa Mahar's three-dimensional, functional art is unfettered and bold, while Leslie Bell's more muted portraits and figure paintings are sensual and evocative.

Iowa's agricultural abundance, natural landscapes, and teeming wildlife are themes that tie together the work of Iowa artists Larsh Bristol, Douglas Eckheart, and Brian Roberts, currently on exhibit at Quad City Arts in Rock Island.

As I walked into MidCoast Gallery West in downtown Rock Island, I was immediately transported back in time to my grandfather's garage in upstate New York. The image was complete, from the old dusty equipment whose purpose and use were a mystery, to the used license plates adorning the walls where the grimy pegboard paneling didn't quite cover.

A small brick building, crowned with a chipped and peeling white painted cupola, sits at the back of the Turner Funeral Home parking lot in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At first glance, one mistakes it for a large garage with an apartment overtop.

In taking a tour of three art shows this weekend, the pick of the litter is Sheri Seggerman's and Elizabeth Shriver's show at MidCoast Gallery West in downtown Rock Island. The Quad City Arts Center is presenting The Artist in You, an exhibition juried by Nick DiGioria, Kunhild Blacklock, and Gloria Burlingame.

Classic figure studies and traditional pottery grace the showroom at the Quad City Arts gallery in downtown Rock Island, and John Beckelman's pottery displayed with Priscilla Steele's drawings represent a return to style, shapes, and techniques that existed long before bits and bytes created the digital era.

The River Cities' Reader's photo contest is getting bigger. Much bigger. In its inaugural edition last year, the contest received roughly 80 entries. This year, we got 105. And while we published 12 winners a year ago, we're giving you 15 in this issue.

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