DAVENPORT, IOWA (September 20, 2021) — Riverssance Festival of Fine Art came back strong in 2021! In its thirty-third year, this outdoor event featured over seventy quality visual artists drawn from a national call for entries, live local music, food vendors, wine-tasting, and a children’s art activity tent. The event took place in scenic Lindsay Park in the Village of East Davenport (Davenport, Iowa). As one of the premier arts festivals in Iowa, Riverssance is designed to showcase and support visual artists in our region while enhancing the cultural vibrancy of our community.

Sherry Case Maurer is the recipient of the 2021 Harley Award for Outstanding Community Art Support. This is an annual award bestowed during the Riverssance Festival of Fine Art that was presented at a 5:30PM reception on Saturday, September 18, in Lindsay Park, Davenport. The event is organized by Quad City Arts and the reception is sponsored by Medix Dental.

Although born in the Midwest, Maurer grew up in New Albany, Indiana and suburbs of Montreal and Toronto, Canada. Always drawing as a child, her mother expressed concern when those drawings began to fill multiple carboard boxes. Maurer notes, “It brought home the realization that art had to matter.” She completed a BFA in printmaking at Miami University, Ohio and attended the prestigious Blossom Summer Program at Kent State University with visiting instructors Elmer Bischoff, Duane Hanson, Harvey Littleton, and Lowell Nesbitt. Post-graduate degrees of an MA in art history and an MFA in painting were concurrently completed at the University of Iowa. There, she was introduced to museum work through an assistantship with the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

Maurer began a career in museum work at the Cedar Rapids Art Center (1979-1982) as it transitioned to become the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, followed by positions at Augustana College (1983-2013), first as gallery curator, then becoming the first director of the Augustana College Art Museum (now Augustana Teaching Museum of Art). In 1988, she was recognized as the college’s outstanding administrator with the Harold T and Violet M Jaeke Award. She brought the Quad Cities to national attention as a board member of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (2008–2013). In 2013, the Argus/Dispatch recognized her as a community leader with an Argpatch Award. She wrote exhibition reviews for River Cities Reader, co-wrote many exhibition catalogs, and co-authored with Kent Olson the article “Puebloan Plates: Innovation Becomes Tradition” for a 2014 issue of American Indian Art Magazine.

As of June 2014, she joined the staff of MidCoast Fine Arts, advancing to director in 2015. MidCoast served the Quad Cities area with three gallery sites, studio and gallery spaces, and visual-art exhibitions and programs, including Riverssance. MidCoast disbanded in 2020, facing COVID-19 shut-downs, and Quad City Arts has taken on the event.

Currently, Maurer teaches Art Appreciation and Art History at Black Hawk Community College. “I love giving local students that first leg-up in higher education,” Maurer said. She is a long-time member of the Rock Island Art Guild, a community group known for organizing the Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, a regional juried art-competition now held biennially at the Figge Art Museum. She was an early board-member of the Rock Island Broadway Neighborhood Association and vice-chair of the mayor’s committee on a public pool in Longview Park. Over the years, in addition to giving numerous local art-talks and participating in area art exhibitions, she has been a visiting artist in the Rock Island elementary schools and taught art at North High School in Davenport and Eastern Iowa Community College, Belmont campus.

Maurer said of this Harley Award: “It is a bit stunning to receive an award that was first presented in 1988 to an artist of such high caliber, John Bloom. The award in every sense also goes to the MidCoast board and staff members who gave so much to the vitality of art in our community.”

Additional award winners include:

Best in Show: Cliff Logan, wood (Booth #53)

People's Choice: Anna Repke, fiber (Booth #11)

Awards of Merit

Bill Robbins, ceramic (Booth #9)

Stuart Roddy, oil (Booth #14)

John VandeWalle, mixed media (Booth #20)

David Zahn, ceramic (Booth #26)

Devin Johnson, jewelry (Booth #37)

Josh Meier, photography (Booth #41)

Stephen Steininger, acrylic (Booth #48)

Liz Robertson, ceramic (Booth #60)

Steve Nowatzki, mixed media (Booth #62)

Jay Stratton, wood (Booth #72)

The Riverssance Festival committee and Quad City Arts would like to thank the artists who participated for making this year the best art event yet. It’s been a year full of unknowns and we couldn’t have asked for a better group of creatives to be part of the show. We would also like to thank our wonderful patrons that came out this weekend for supporting over 70 artists.

Quad City Arts' events would not be possible without the support of our many generous sponsors: Twin States Technical Services, Medix Dental, IMEG, dphilms, KWQC-TV6, Zimmerman Honda, Fireside Winery, iHeart Media, Iowa Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council, City of Davenport, and Village of East Davenport.

Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organization serving a six-county area in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. We are dedicated to the growth and vitality of the Quad City region through the presentation, development, and celebration of the arts by offering the community arts opportunities, programming, and community events. For more information visit www.quadcityarts.com, contact info@quadcityarts.com, or call 309-793-1213.

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