The Japanese block prints in the Davenport Museum of Art's wonderful current exhibit took me back to the late '60s and early '70s, when I almost got kicked out of art school for suggesting that comic books were art.

Dawn Brick doesn't consider herself an artist. She prefers to call herself a "technician." But you only need to glance at the intricacy of the beaded pouches she makes to know that she's more than she claims to be.

"Forty years ago, if an American man or woman meant to have an artistic career, you got on the train to New York. Today, you can be a violinist in North Carolina, a writer in Iowa, a painter in Utah."

- Garrison Keillor, March 29, 1990

Like many businesses here, the Reader is participating in an exciting mission to help position our Quad Cities community as a top-tier Midwestern destination for people to live, work, and play.

The unruly and inconsiderate Mississippi River finally freed LeClaire Park from its muddy grip this week, but events scheduled for the venue for the rest of the summer still might need to look for new locations.

The Mississippi River is wreaking havoc with the summer festival schedule this year, but last year it was rain that washed out Moline's annual Riverfest event, with several inches drowning the event and forcing its cancellation.

Tom Newport's sculptures are a great counterpoint to Steven Anderson's paintings; the sculptures are completely abstract, while the paintings range from photo-realistic renderings of automobiles to Grant Wood-ish landscapes.

The two artists featured in the current exhibit at Quad City Arts in downtown Rock Island aren't what you might expect after reading their statements. Matt Pulford wrote a longer exposition of his work that suggests a literate artistic style.

More than $2,000 in awards will be presented on Friday, April 6, at the opening reception of the 25th Annual Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, which will be on display in the Augustana College Art Gallery through April 29.

Two wildly different shows are currently on display at the Augustana College Art Gallery in Rock Island: From a Borderless World: Works of Enrique Chagoya (through March 28) and John Beckelman: Recent Works in Clay (through March 20).

No doubt the current Lure of the West: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit in Iowa City contains some blockbusters. At the opening, crowds pressed around such paintings as Albert Bierstadt's In the Sierra Nevadas, marveling at the sense of depth and clarity of the water and the reflected mountains.

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