Friday, January 29, 2010

On the web this week..."Board to Vote on Gothic House"

This week an article appeared in the Ottumwa Courier by Cindy Toopes titled "Board to vote on Gothic House." The article begins as follows:

"Rather than create an entity to operate and maintain the American Gothic House Center, the Wapello County Board of Supervisors and the Eldon City Council have decided they can do it together."


This statement created a bit of confusion in the community, so I decided to write about it this week to set your minds at ease. In short, this really isn't anything new.

The Wapello County Board of Supervisors and the City of Eldon established a 28E Agreement back in 2006/2007 just prior to the opening of the American Gothic House Center. What the Board voted on this last week was a revised draft of that same agreement. The City of Eldon is set to vote on it in February.

After two and half years of operation, it was discovered that the City and County were not interpreting certain parts of the agreement the same way. The original 28E Agreement wasn't able to clearly answer certain questions that came up, so it was decided to have a committee review the agreement and make the necessary changes.

The revised draft not only cleared up these issues, it also put into effect the establishment of a fund that both Wapello County and the City of Eldon will contribute to annually for future major building repair and maintenance needs.

Other issues that were resolved are as follows: the City will plow the driveway and parking lot, the County will be responsible for all special landscaping needs (think flowers, bushes and trees), the City will mow the lawn on a regular schedule, and the County will pay the City water / garbage utility.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On the web this week...Grant Wood's Studio

This week I want to bring your attention to an article written several years ago called "Where Grant Wood Lived and Worked" by Michael Judge of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Michael did such a great job describing 5 Turner Alley, Grant Wood's stuio and home for several years, I decided to share it with you.

"Once inside the studio, visitors are greeted by gentle arches and an abundance of natural light pouring in from oversized dormer windows and a magnificent cupola above. In perhaps the most dramatic modification to the hayloft, Wood replaced the metal vents of the cupola with six arched windows, adding height, a flood of light from above, and a cathedral-like appearance to the center of the small studio. The walls, a rustic plaster complete with trowel marks, bathe in light. "


I found the article above as I was searching for information to help me put together this years bus trip. This year we travel north to Grant Wood's roots.

On Saturday, April 24 at 9:00 am, we will travel on Ottumwa Transit buses to Cedar Rapids, Anamosa and Stone Ctiy, Iowa. The itinerary is as follows:

Discover Grant Wood Country Bus Trip Itinerary
Saturday, April 24, 2010, 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM

9:00 AM – Leave from the American Gothic House Center.

11:00 AM – Eat sack lunch on bus. Bring a sandwich, and if you like, something to share for a sack lunch on the bus.

11:30 AM – Cedar Rapids Museum of Art for a docent-led tour of the following exhibits:

Grant Wood: In Focus
Permanent Collection
This single-gallery installation traces Wood’s entire career from his youthful creations until his death in 1942. It will serve as an overview of the artistic achievements of this important American painter.

The American Century
Permanent Collection
This exhibit demonstrates many of the movements and interests of art in America in the twentieth century, the century in which American art came to dominate the art world.

Less is More: The Vogel Gift of Minimal and Conceptual Art
January 23 - May 2, 2010
He was a postal clerk. She was a librarian. With their modest means, the couple built an important contemporary art collection—best known for its minimal and conceptual works. In 2008, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art was selected by the Vogels to be the Iowa recipient of a collection of 50 works as a part of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States initiative. Less is More will exhibit the entire Vogel gift to Iowa for the first time.

12:30 PM – Travel Time

12:45 PM – Grant Wood Studio with docent-led tour of studio:
Grant Wood’s home and studio was located at 5 Turner Alley from 1924 to 1935. Near downtown Cedar Rapids the studio is owned and operated by the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which houses the world’s largest collection of works by Grant Wood. Grant Wood (1891-1942) was a prominent member of the Regionalist movement. His most famous painting, American Gothic, was painted in this studio in 1930.

1:45 PM – Travel Time

2:30 PM – Grant Wood Gallery: Photos of the Grant Wood Art Colony in Stone City and framed illustrations from Farm On The Hill are on display. An original chair designed by Grant Wood sits in one corner. A large collection of American Gothic parodies are on display as well as a life size cut out of American Gothic offering a fun photo op. The film “Early Life of Grant Wood” is available for viewing in a room that seats twenty. (Larger groups can be divided with a tour guide talking about his life and works in the main room.) The Gallery is staffed completely by volunteers.

3:05 PM – Travel Time

3:15 PM – Antioch Country School: Visit the school where Grant Wood attended until fourth grade. See a completely restored country school. Once ubiquitous across Iowa's landscape, one-room country schools are quickly disappearing. Luckily, many have been reused as country school museums, giving us a lesson in Iowa's educational history.

3:45 PM – Travel Time

3:50 PM – Anamosa Riverside Cemetery: See the burial sites of Grant Wood, his sister Nan Wood Graham and their parents Francis Maryville Wood and Hattie Weaver Wood.

4:00 PM – Travel Time

4:10 PM – St. Joseph’s Church & Stone City Quarry: A guide will tell you the story of the church and Stone City—its beginning as a company town to serve the needs of the quarry and its connection to native artist Grant Wood. From the church, tour the Stone City Quarry. See how the dolomite limestone quarried here is mined and find out why it’s so unique. If time permits we will visit some of the old buildings in Stone City.

5:30 PM – Dinner at the General Store and Pub: Enjoy a wonderful buffet style dinner in this historically restored General Store. Dinner is all-you-can-eat, and will include Chicken Marsalis, Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, Rolls & Butter, Chocolate Cake, Coffee and Tea.

6:30 PM – Travel Time

9:30 PM – Arrive back in Eldon

Trip Fee: $45.00 - Fee includes Ottumwa Transit bus fare, bus driver gratuity, entry fees for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Grant Wood's Stuio, Grant Wood Gallery of Anamosa, Antioch Country School, St. Joseph's Church, Stone City Quarry, Anamosa/Stone City area on-bus tour guide, dinner at the General Store and Pub in Stone City, which includes meal, drink, tax and gratuity.

Reservations will be accepted as long as space allows, but please sign up by Friday, April 9 if you can.

Maximum Group Size = 40 people

Friday, January 8, 2010

On the web this week...Recreating the Apron

This week we revisit an old story--the story of the American Gothic Ad--with a deeper look into the creation of the costumes.

"The problem of matching the pinafore fabric was also solved by Jessica, as she supplied me with a recreated swatch of the print and suggested a company called Spoonflower, who create custom fabric, to reproduce it for me. The resulting fabric was brilliant. Jessica also supplied us with photographs of the Gothic House in exchange for the completed black dress and pinafore...."


Also found on-line this week is a review of one of our favorite Grant Wood books, "Grant Wood and Little Sister Nan." This book, which can be found in our gift shop, provides you with a better understanding of Grant Wood's sister, Nan--the female model for his painting "American Gothic."

"This book adds a dimension to the woman in American Gothic. At age eighty three, Nan said the painting saved her life from being drab. Even though she didn't think the 'painted' lady looked anything like her when it was first displayed, she had now decided that: 'We look a lot alike. She's really become me.'"