“Not So Ordinary: Iowa Regionalists and Scenes of Rural Life” on View through July 30, 2017

Iowa prairie is fertile ground for both farmers and artists. As a world-famous artist and the son of a farmer, Grant Wood captured the everyday beauty of Iowa’s land and people. As a child, he taught himself how to draw with charcoal sticks from the kitchen stove. At age 14, he entered a lifelike drawing of oak leaves in a national contest and won third prize. As a teacher and one of the founders of the Stone City Art Colony, Grant Wood inspired many fellow Iowa artists to tell the stories of rural America.

“Not So Ordinary” is an exhibition featuring the Muscatine Art Center’s remarkable Iowa Regionalist collection. Visitors to the exhibition can compare paintings and prints by Grant Wood to works by Marvin Cone, John Bloom, Alma Held, Arnold Pyle, Juanita Jamison, Harold Allison, and others, including Muscatine’s own, William Bunn. Some of these artists are connected to Grant Wood through the Stone City Art Colony, while others overlapped at the University of Iowa’s School of Art. Some completed Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) murals under the supervision of Grant Wood, while others also exhibited in the Iowa Art Salon in the 1930s.

Muscatine Art Center Director, Melanie Alexander explains, “The exhibition highlights the connections these Iowa artists shared with Grant Wood and one another. I hope visitors who have an appreciation for the work of Grant Wood will take the time to learn about his fellow Iowa artists who were active during the same time period.”

The artwork exhibited in “Not So Ordinary” captures everyday scenes such as a girl playing the piano, cows in a feedlot, the Iowa landscape, and farmers working the earth. “What makes the exhibition ‘not so ordinary’ is that these works were part of a movement towards a distinctive American method promoted by Grant Wood,” states Alexander. “Back in the 1930s, Wood was urging artists to create works based on what they knew. Visitors to the exhibition will discover many artists who took his advice.”

“Not So Ordinary” is on view through July 30, 2017. Admission to the exhibition is free. Donations are appreciated.

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. Visit www.muscatineartcenter.org for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.

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