Monday, June 16, 2008

Tom Milligan as Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel

Eldon—The American Gothic House Center received funding from Humanities Iowa, a private, non-profit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to host a free presentation called Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel by Tom Milligan at 2:00 pm on Sunday, June 22 at the American Gothic House Center. A cultural resource for Iowans since 1971, Humanities Iowa offers many cultural and historical programs and grants to Iowa’s communities.

In this 45 minute, one-man show, Grant Wood chats with the audience as if he were talking to an old friend across a backyard fence or in his home at Five Turner Alley in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He talks with the audience about his life and how he changed the art world forever with his work. It is the man behind that we see and hear in this prize-winning play and the story of how he took the moments, the memories, and the people of the plains and the prairies, and showed the whole world the special ness that is the Midwest.

Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel brings to life Iowa artist Grant Wood, the creator of one of the two most recognized paintings in the world, today, American Gothic. Growing up in rural Iowa, far away from the professional art scene, Woods' love for painting was created and nurtured by the people and things around him. In defiance of what he was told an artist should be by the New York critics, Wood faced down years of poverty and rejection to stay his own personal course. Ultimately, his was the triumph, with both the international success of his painting and the emergence of the Regionalist Movement, the style that he pioneered and that still influences artists to this day.

In Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel, the audience experiences Wood's struggles first hand, and witnesses as well, the inner spirit of the artists that refused to be crushed by either outside world, or the inner demons that arrived with success. Finally, and ultimately, the audience realizes with Wood, that the most meaningful events of our lives happen not in the big arena, but in the small and simple experiences and traditions of every day.

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