The Muscatine Art Center has received funding from Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to host the presentation, "Grass Between the Rails", by Denny Rehder at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, Muscatine Art Center, 1314 Mulberry Avenue, Muscatine. A cultural resource for Iowans since 1971, Humanities Iowa offers many cultural and historical programs and grants to Iowa's communities. The performance is free and open to the public.

Denny Rehder created this program as an official Iowa Sesquicentennial event in 1996. His appearances around the state have been funded by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities ever since. This will be his 89th performance.

Rehder has been a musician all his life. He has combined that ability with his love of Iowa history to produce "Grass Between the Rails," a celebration of Iowa's railroad heritage in words and original music. His songs cover the gamut of Iowa railroad history from the race for Council Bluffs to the Burlington Zephyr. Through his music, he visits the worst wreck ever, Iowa's best-known railroad hero, the road through Paradise, the one elephant circus and his family's ties to the Illinois Central.

He has been involved in the publication of several books on Iowa history. Four were published by his own Waukon & Mississippi Press, including his first book, "Grass Between the Rails," the history of the Waukon, Iowa, branch of the Milwaukee Road. He also wrote and published "The Shampoo King," the history of the F. W. Fitch Company and the famous Fitch Bandwagon radio show.

Now retired, he has been a professional writer and photographer for more than fifty years.  His work has received local, regional and national awards. Rehder grew up on a farm near Gladbrook overlooking the Chicago Great Western mainline.

All Aboard!  Join local railroad enthusiast, Bill Lindsay, for a talk and guided-tour of the exhibition, "Railroads of Muscatine County". Bill will share his knowledge of the seven main lines which serviced Muscatine such as the Rock Island Line; Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern; Muscatine North & South; and the Muscatine City Railway. This program is FREE.  This event is coming up on Sunday, August 17, 2014 from 2:00 - 3:00 PM at the Muscatine Art Center.  Lindsay will begin in the Music room of the Muscatine Art Center.

Admission to this event is FREE.

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Please contact Deidre Pearson, Program Coordinator, with any questions at 563-263-8282 or by email at

Kick off your Fourth of July celebrations at the Annual Ice Cream Social presented by the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center. The event will be held on Sunday, June 29th from 1 to 5 p.m. As always, there will be plenty of ice cream, desserts, live music, family-friendly fun and an art fair.

Families are encouraged to bike to the Art Center as part of the Family Bike Ride organized by the Melon City Bike Club and Harper's Cycling & Fitness. The group will depart from Discovery Park at 1 p.m. and will have the option of a short 3-mile round-trip ride or a longer 10-mile ride. Both rides will stop at the Art Center, and participants will receive a coupon for a free ice cream.

The musical line-up for this year begins with the family group "Tammy and the Fyffe's" at 1 p.m. "Indigo Quartet" will take the stage at 2 p.m., and Muscatine favorite, "The Creepin' Charlies," will perform at 3:15 p.m.

Returning this year is a book sale and art fair. Local artists Carol Steinmetz, Joseph Barnard, Brad Nord, Chris Clark, and Ashley Hogenson and Iowa City artists, Yelena Mass and Connie Schumm, will offer their works for sale.

New this year is a Puppet Building Project with "Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre" of West Liberty. Kids can help Eulenspiegel build and decorate a giant "Pearl of the Mississippi" puppet. Also new are activities presented by the Citizens for an Off-Leash Muscatine Park, including a chance for children to read to a therapy dog and pose for a photograph in a decorated dog house.

Freddie the Fire Truck will make an appearance, thanks to the City of Muscatine Fire Department. Kids' games, sponsored by Central State Bank, will include some annual favorites plus activities that relate to railroad history as a compliment to the exhibition, "Railroads of Muscatine County". In the studio, kids will create a "Thomas & Friends" finger puppet from felt.

The railroad exhibition features interesting artifacts and photographs and engaging components for the young and the 'young at heart' including a toy train table, a step-on caboose, and working "O and S Gauge" model railroads. Among the railroads featured in the exhibition are the Rock Island Lines, the Muscatine City Railway Company, and the Muscatine & Iowa City Railway, which did not survive its first year of incorporation. In the early 1900s, Muscatine had four active railroads, two inter-urbans and a city trolley system.

Also opening at the Ice Cream Social is an exhibition of Wood Carvings by Muscatine's own Norman Bunn. Norman is the nephew of William Bunn, the Muscatine artist who is famous for WPA Post Office Murals and Mississippi River boats and scenes. In his retirement, Norman began carving figures, birds, and animals which delight people of all ages. The wood carvings will be on exhibit in the Musser Mansion Gallery from June 1 through August 28, 2014.

Admission to the Ice Cream Social (and related events) is free. All proceeds from sales of ice cream, desserts, beverages and books will go to the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center. Each year, the Friends of the Muscatine Art Center financially contributes towards the educational programs offered at the Art Center, provides scholarships for students to attend studio classes offered through the Art Center and pays for busing for area schools to visit the Art Center.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.

Muscatine, Iowa (May 12, 2014) - The Muscatine Art Center has been selected to participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP). Through guided self-study and on-site consultation with a museum professional, participation in MAP will empower the Muscatine Art Center to better serve the citizens of Muscatine by facilitating its meeting and exceeding the highest professional standards of the museum field.

The program is funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and throughout its 30 years has been administered by the American Association of Museums (AAM). As part of the IMLS National Leadership program, MAP advances best practices and fosters improvement in museums.  MAP is a self-motivated program; application to and participation in MAP is initiated by each local institution, and those accepted invest considerable human and institutional resources into the assessment.

By completing the MAP study, the Muscatine Art Center hopes to better understand the audiences that it serves or could potentially serve through audience evaluations and learn how to better respond to the needs of these audiences. Other goals include increasing the visibility of the Art Center in the Muscatine area and within a 60-mile radius and improve the Art Center's ability to identify and develop community partners.

MAP is a confidential process of self-study, peer review and implementation.  Museums use the assessment process to strengthen operations, build capacity, and enhance communication throughout the organization and in response to community needs.  Participant museums choose one of three categories for its assessment: Collections Stewardship Organizational, Community Engagement. The Muscatine Art Center will take part in the Community Engagement assessment process.  Small and mid-sized museums of all types, including art, history, science and technology, children's, natural history, historic houses, nature centers, botanical gardens, and zoos participate in the program.

"Choosing to be part of the MAP program is indicative of the commitment to civic involvement, public service and overall excellence on the part of the Muscatine Art Center," said Ford W. Bell, president of AAM. "Studies have shown America's museums to be among the country's most trusted and valued institutions. MAP is designed to make them even better."

Since its creation in 1981, the MAP program has served over 4,300 museums. MAP is supported through a cooperative agreement with IMLS. For more information, including a complete list of museums participating in MAP, please visit, call 202/289-9118 or e-mail

AAM is the only organization representing the nation's entire museum community and has been dedicated to promoting excellence within the museum field for over 100 years. For more information about AAM, visit The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. To learn more about the Institute, please visit:

For more information, please call Melanie Alexander, Director of the Muscatine Art Center, at (563) 263-8282 or e-mail

Marvin Cone: Quiet Integrity art talk will be given on the third Thursday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. at Muscatine Art Center. The program will provide information about the life of Marvin Cone, including his long friendship with Grant Wood. The two met in high school, traveled to Paris, attended the Art Institute of Chicago, and joined forces in the summer of 1932 and 1933 to create Stone City Art Colony. As people they were opposites and each followed a different path, but they did influence each other.

Cone and Wood were both active in the Cedar Rapids Art Association, one of the oldest art organizations in Iowa, which later becomes the Cedar Rapids Art Museum. The program will include the history of the association and many images from the Muscatine Art Center, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Coe College and Figge Art Museum  The cultural environment of Cedar Rapids provided both Cone and Wood with exposure to well known artists and the inspiration to become artists.

Marvin Cone lived in Cedar Rapids, married, raised a family, and taught at Coe College. Although, he does not have the fame of Grant Wood, it is clear that he was a skilled artist and an important figure in American painting.

After graduating from Coe College with liberal arts degree, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago with Grant Wood. Both joined the army during World War I. Because Marvin Cone could speak French, he was selected to attend the University of Montpellier, France, in February of 1919 before returning home. Marvin returned to Cedar Rapids to teach French at Coe College. The following summer Cone and Wood traveled to Paris, London, Liverpool, and Antwerp. Both painted in the Impressionistic style and held an exhibition of their artworks on the ship as they return to Cedar Rapids.

On the same return trip home, Grant Wood introduced Marvin to Winnifred Swift whom Marvin married in 1921. Winifred and Marvin had one daughter, Doris.

During the 1920s, Cone's activities included starting the art department at Coe College and keeping an active schedule of exhibitions with the Cedar Rapids Art Association. At the time, Cedar Rapids was a thriving atmosphere for the arts and in 1928, the American Federation of Arts and Carnegie Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to open The Little Gallery, and Edward Rowan was hired as a trained museum administrator. Rowan arranged for Cone and his wife to go back to Paris in 1929. In 1930, Grant Wood, received the Art Institute award for American Gothic and became famous.

1932, Marvin Cone and Grant Wood taught at the Stone City Colony and Art School. Background information and images of the Stone City Colony are included in the program. Courses at the Stone City Colony were accredited by Coe College. Unfortunately, the Depression caused the Colony to close after two summers. Grant Wood went on to teach at the University of Iowa, while Cone was appointed professor of painting at Coe College.

The art talk will take you through Marvin Cone's styles: landscapes, haunting interiors, barns, circus scenes, and finally abstract images. Unlike artists associated with regionalist and American scene painting of the 1930s, Marvin Cone would integrate his firsthand observation and move from realism to abstraction. Cone's work includes more than rural Midwest scenes.

On May 18, 1965, Marvin Cone died. As a tribute to his forty years of teaching, Coe College established the Marvin Cone Collection and the Marvin Cone Alumni collection with his artwork on display. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art provided images for the program as the museum has one of the largest collection of Marvin Cone's works in the United States.




"Stories and Cuentos", a puppet show presented in both English and Spanish by Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre, will offered for FREE on Thursday, May 8, at 5:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Muscatine Art Center. The public is encouraged to bring blankets and/or lawn chairs as the performance will be held in the E. Bradford Burns Performing Arts Park (just west of the Musser House on Mulberry). In case of rain, the performance will be moved to Central Auditorium.

Developed and performed by Monica Leo and Mexican puppeteer Eli Portugal, co-founder of Mojiganga Arte Escenico, this performance includes two classic Mexican animal tales. "The Rabbit in the Moon", a well-known myth, gives a whimsical explanation for the shadows we see in the moon, while delighting audiences with the age old battle of wits between rabbit and coyote. "The Musical Ant", a less known tale, follows Hormiguita (little ant) as he learns to play the piano and brings peace to his ant colony through music. The production uses hand puppets, rod puppets, masked characters, and music.

Monica Leo has been creating and performing as founder and principal puppeteer of Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre since 1975. Eulenspiegel has toured in 28 states and four other countries and is a former winner of the Iowa Arts Award. Eli Portugal of Jalapa, Mexico, studied music, theatre, and dance at the University of Veracruz in Mexico. In addition to her performance and design skills, she has extensive experience teaching workshops to children as well as to teachers.

Reservations are not required to attend the puppet performance.


The public is invited to join the Muscatine Art Center on Sunday, April 27th at 2:00 p.m. as it hosts Humanities Iowa Speaker, Loren Horton. Horton will give a 45 minute presentation on the changes in Iowa life over the past 150 years. His presentation will include the origins of the people, the technology, and the occupations and social customs of Iowans. Horton will also touch on the history of the state's economy and politics and explore the changes that have shaped Iowa's present and changes that will continue to shape Iowa's future and the future of its residents.

Loren Horton began his employment with the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1972. Since his retirement in 1996, Horton has concentrated on research in 19th century social history and comparative funeral and burial customs in the United States.

This program is funded by Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A cultural resource for Iowans since 1971, Humanities Iowa brings humanities programs into the heart of Iowa communities.

The humanities are fields of study that help us to discover and remember who we are and how we came to be, as individuals and as part of the world. Humanities Iowa offers funding for this Speakers Bureau event and for grants in support of public programs to non-profit organizations in the state of Iowa.

Please contact Melanie Alexander, Director, with any questions or concerns at 563-263-8282 or by email at For more information about Humanities Iowa, visit

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Join the staff of the Muscatine Art Center in an exploration of Iowa's past. The "Once Upon A Time in Iowa" Family Festival is a free event to be held on Sunday, April 27th from 1 to 4 p.m.

Children and their families will explore the exhibition, "The Art of Living Well," including several works by Iowa artist, Grant Wood. Children can then create a shadow box and are encouraged to bring family photographs to include in the creation of their family heirloom. Children can also decorate a flower pot by cutting and gluing images to decoupage to the pot.

Storytelling will start at 1:30 p.m. in the Stanley Gallery. Featured will be several books about the past including the children's book, "Apples to Oregon." This book will be the base for an outdoor adventure (weather permitting) for children to make their own pioneer trek. As part of the adventure, children will make butter and plant a seed to put in their flower pot.

While at the Art Center, visitors will also sample many different varieties of apples and vote for their favorites. Other light refreshments will be provided.

At 2:00 p.m., adults and older children can attend the presentation, "This is Your Hertitage" by Humanities Iowa Speaker, Loren Horton. The presentation is sponsored by Humanities Iowa.

The art activities offered as part of the "Once Upon a Time in Iowa" family festival are supported through a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a section of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Please contact Melanie Alexander, Director, with any questions or concerns at

563-263-8282 or by email at For more information about Humanities Iowa, visit For more information about the Iowa Arts Council, visit

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.


Activity: "Once Upon a Time in Iowa" Family Festival

When: Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time: 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Where: Muscatine Art Center

Grant Wood

The Tree Planting Group



Gift of the Muscatine County Museum and Fine Arts Association

Collection Muscatine Art Center


On view in the exhibition,

The Art of Living Well,

through June 15, 2014

Admission to this event is FREE.


A decoupage flower pot - an example of the one children will make during the "Once Upon a Time in Iowa" Family Festival on April 27th from 1 to 4 p.m.

Xi-Ma, an instructor from the Confucius Institute, a branch of the University of Iowa's International Programs, will conduct a class at the Muscatine Art Center on the ancient art of calligraphy. Assisting Ma will be Erin Mullins of the Confucius Institute.  There is no experience necessary and all supplies will be included in the registration fee. Class size is limited so be sure to register now!

The Chinese Calligraphy class will be held on Thursday, April 3, 2014. Class will run from 5:15 through 6:45.  The registration fee is $10.00.  All class supplies will be provided however,  you may also purchase your own brush for the class for $5.00. Both instructors were here last year for the class. Call us at 563.263.8282 to get signed up now!

Chinese calligraphy is one of the most ancient forms of written communication. It has developed over thousands of years, and is a very fluid language. Chinese calligraphy, unlike the letters based on the Roman system of writing, does not separate each individual character that forms a word. Chinese writing uses the painted character to express an idea or word in its entirety. This calligraphy must be both functional and beautiful. It is a true art form.

Xi Ma is the Curriculum Coordinator at the Confucius Institute.  Ma also teaches Confucius Institute courses. She is a returning Iowa Alumnus, moving to Iowa City in 2012 from Bronx, New York where she coordinated the Mandarin Language Program for Fordham University.  Ma holds an MA in Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Iowa, an MA in Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics and a BA in English from Anhui University.

Erin Mullins is the Program Coordinator at the Confucius Institute. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Mullins holds an M.A. in Counselor Education and a B.A. in Elementary Education.  Joining the Confucius Institute at the University of Iowa in 2011, Mullins previously provided outreach education and services to area schools and community agencies.


What: Chinese Calligraphy Class

Who: Xi Ma of the Confucius institute

When: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Time: 5:15-6:45 PM

Where: The Muscatine Art Center

Admission to this program is FREE. Please contact, Lynn Bartenhagen, Office Coordinator, with any questions or concerns at 563-263-8282 or by email

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday,Wednesday and Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.

Join the Muscatine Art Center staff in shaking off the winter "blahs"! The Spring Fever Family Festival is a FREE event on Saturday, March 15th from 1 to 4 p.m. Kids of all ages will create a variety of art projects, watch an artist work on a still life painting, enjoy an indoor picnic with healthy fruits and vegetables and learn about the Blue Zones Project Muscatine. Storytelling will take place at 1:30 p.m.

At the core of the event is the exhibition, "The Art of Living Well". Presented in five sections -Relax, Play, Work, Eat and Belong, the exhibition is a journey into the past so people today can discover some ways to live healthier, happier lives. The exhibition also features a range of artwork, artifacts and photographs. Represented in the exhibition is the work of Grant Wood, John Bloom and Oscar Grossheim.

The Spring Fever Family Festival is funded in part through a grant from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Admission is FREE on Saturday March 15.  The event will start at 1:00 p.m. and run until 4:00 p.m.


  • Indoor picnic
  • Grant Wood landscapes
  • Collage self portraits
  • Still life demonstration with artist Bao Thien
  • Storytelling at 1:30 p.m.
  • Booth by Blue Zones Project Muscatine


What: Spring Fever!

Who: Hosted by Muscatine Art Center Staff

When: Saturday, March 15, 2014

Time: 1:00-4:00 PM

Where: The Muscatine Art Center

Admission to this program is FREE.

Please contact, Melanie Alexander, Director, with any questions or concerns at 563-263-8282 or by email at

The Muscatine Art Center is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from

10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 PM Admission is FREE.