With the opening of MidCoast Gallery West, the arts energy in the Rock Island District is, as Emeril Lagasse says, bam: taken up a notch. The gallery is located at the corner of 17th Street and 2nd Avenue and is paired with the ArtFX Gallery, and both sit a mere half-block from the Glass Impact glassblowing studio.

The Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition gets better each year, and this year's show is not to be missed when it opens on April 5 in Augustana College's Centennial Hall Gallery.

There were 280 entries from 149 artists in this year's edition of the annual regional competition, and only 66 works made the show, including 10 from Iowa City, nine from Davenport, seven from Rock Island, and five each from Moline and Bettendorf.

MidCoast Fine Arts will be celebrating the opening of its new gallery this Friday, and it's meant to be part of the continued growth of Rock Island's downtown. The MidCoast Gallery West, at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 16 ½ Street, will be opening its doors on March 8, sharing its space with ArtFX, a commercial gallery run by artist Donna Lee.

In the two-person exhibit at the MidCoast Fine Arts Gallery in LeClaire, visitors can see one artist who is in awe of his medium and subject matter, and another who enjoys manipulating her medium to fit her subject matter.

Should the point of a visual-art exhibition be intuitively obvious based on viewing it? Or is it appropriate that one has to read significant commentary to get the exhibitors' point? Whatever your view, to fully appreciate the new exhibit at Augustana College, you need to read the narratives.

The two artists currently showing at Quad City Arts in The District take their art very seriously. The artist statements of Eric Mart and Christopher Bradshaw suggest that these men have a higher purpose in their work; they seem to create art not with joy but out of a sense of responsibility.

"Painting flowers is my passion. It is my way to express life with a belief in goodness, life with hope." With that first line from her artist statement, Davenport resident Caroline England shows that she's articulate in addition to being a talented watercolorist.

According to urban legend, the young schoolteacher from Texas stormed into the powerful man's office and demanded, "How dare you display my drawings without my permission!" At 56 years old, Alfred Stieglitz was already taken with Georgia O'Keeffe's abstract charcoal drawings; now he would fall in love with the woman.

The new exhibit Objects of the Spirit: African Art from the Collection of Janice Simon opens November 30 at the Augustana College Art Gallery & Museum. Some of the pieces date from the 18th Century, but most come from the 20th Century, including masks, figures, beadwork, rugs, shields, and jewelry.

Just in time for the holidays, a variety of arts and not-for-profit groups have released new stocking-stuffers. KUNI public radio has just put out its fourth murder novel, Orchestrated Murder: An Iowa Mystery.

Pages