RC&D awarded funding for art along scenic byways

     On July 20, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Iowa Arts Council recently awarded Northeast Iowa RC&D grant funding to work with renowned Northeast Iowa artist Mary Ann Gloe to immortalize public natural areas along scenic byways in Northeast Iowa. Paintings developed through the project will be used to develop iconic postcards and posters. Through the project, the RC&D will work with Gloe to identify six locations in Iowa State Parks from across the region. Local partners are working with the RC&D to provide match for the project which was inspired by similar work completed for the National Parks Service.

     Northeast Iowa RC&D Executive Director, Lora Friest, noted, “This year I visited Acadia National Park in Maine and was delighted and inspired by the original paintings of the park that had been turned into beautiful wooden postcards and posters. I thought, ‘why can’t we do that in Iowa? We have beautiful natural areas and amazing artists.’ Given the style of the art, I immediately thought of Mary Ann Gloe, who was gracious enough to partner with us on the project. We could not be more excited!”

     She also noted that all four of the Iowa Scenic Byway Boards that the RC&D works with were excited about the project. Northeast Iowa RC&D coordinates work on the Driftless Area, River Bluffs, Grant Wood and Delaware Crossing Scenic Byways.

     Gloe’s work is well known and loved throughout the region. She is a member of the Iowa Artists organization and the Iowa Watercolor Society and has won many awards in their annual art show. She is also an artist participant in the Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour and sells her art in both Iowa and Minnesota galleries. Friest noted that public natural areas, including Pikes Peak, Yellow River Forest, Maquoketa Caves and other places are under consideration.

     She said, “There are really three factors in the final selection: The site needs be located in a public natural area in an Iowa Scenic Byway Corridor. There needs to be a local sponsoring partner, which can be a friends group or a nearby community. The site must inspire the artist. Ms. Gloe has the final say about which sites are selected and exactly what and how she will paint them. We want her to love the places she paints because we know that ultimately the best art occurs when the artist is inspired.”

     The project is scheduled to start in August and run through June of 2019. Friest noted that the partners are still working to finalize distribution locations for the postcards and posters developed through the project.

     Northeast Iowa RC&D Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit. More information about the RC&D and their work is available at www.NortheastIowaRCD.org.


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