MUSCATINE, IOWA (November 15, 2023) — Local and regional artists and crafters are sharing their talents for a good cause this holiday season, and everyone is invited to be part of the fun at the Muscatine Art Center. The Heartfelt Lamp; Handmade Ornament Competition has returned for the first time since 2019. Each ornament purchase benefits Friends of the Muscatine Art Center and its mission to support educational programs at the Art Center.

All entries for the ornament competition are currently on view. The first opportunity to purchase ornaments is during the Holiday Open House on December 7. The Open House is a ticketed event with proceeds also benefiting the Friends organization. The event begins at 5PM with ornament viewing and buying, live music, and hors d’oeuvres with the magnificently decorated historic house as the backdrop.

The event wraps up at 7PM, and those purchasing ornaments can take the ornaments home that evening. Tickets to the Holiday Open House are $25 (or $20 for members of Friends) purchased on or before December 1. All tickets after December 1 are $35. The ticket price includes a glass of wine or beer.

Three guest judges — Mayor Brad Bark, City Administrator Carol Webb, and Tony Loconsole, Director of Communications Camp; Community Engagement for the Muscatine Community School District — have reviewed the ornaments in the competition. Kristy Cox’s paper-quilling ornament received first place while Gracie Cook took second place with a tree made of button blanks and Marie Latta was awarded third place for her knitted goldfinch. The People’s Choice Award is currently open for voting.

All visitors to the Muscatine Art Center are welcome to vote for their favorite through December 1. “We are thrilled to bring the Ornament Competition back,” explains Melanie Alexander, Director of the Muscatine Art Center. “It is such a delight to unpack the handmade ornaments crafted by local people.

This year, there is a little bit of everything from stained glass and felted wool to LEGO minifigures and fairy gardens.”

Each hand-made ornament is available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. After the Holiday Open House on December 7, the general public can purchase the remaining ornaments. Sponsors for the 2023 “Heartfelt and Handmade” Ornament Competition are SSAB, HNI Corporation, and Kay L Chapman CPA PC.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10AM-5PM, Thursday evenings until 7PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5PM. Admission is free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Visit for more information about programs and events and to download a class

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