Thursday, May 10, 2012

John Duggleby gets “up close” to Grant Wood

Saturday we were fortunate to host John Duggleby, author of children’s book “Artist in Overalls:  The Life of Grant Wood”.  I found out last fall that John was going to be in the neighborhood giving presentations in Burlington and Mount Pleasant, so I was able to book him to give his program “American Gothic in Your Face:  Grant Wood Up Close”.
We set up in front of the American Gothic House and hoped for a clear day.  John said giving his program in front of THE house was on his bucket list, so I was thrilled the weather cooperated to make his dream a reality!

Duggleby came sauntering out of the American Gothic House and was dressed the part—in overalls and jacket carrying a pitchfork.  John focused a lot of Grant Wood’s childhood and his love of art from an early age.  He spoke about how Wood struggled to find his place in the art world as an adult and his struggle to make art his profession.

John showed a lot of Wood’s paintings during his presentation with assistance from our young volunteer Katelyn.  It was her first day on the job as a volunteer at the Center.  I think the bar was set pretty high for her first volunteer experience.  She asked her mom when they could come back to volunteer next.  I better find something at least half as fun to do next time she’s here!

At the end John demonstrated an easy way to draw a chicken (as Grant Wood enjoyed to do as a child) and everyone in the audience had a chance to follow along.  Here is my finished chicken (and if you knew my usual art skill you would be impressed)!

To see more pictures from Saturday check out our Facebook page.
Thank you to the Ottumwa Area Arts Council for sponsoring this program!

Now that one event is finished its time to prepare for the next!  Please join us Friday, May 18 at 6:00pm for the unveiling of our new outdoor exhibit area.  As many of you know, visitors come to see the house at all hours—and unfortunately we can’t be open 24 hours a day!  This new exhibit will allow us to reach and educate more visitors!  The exhibit will feature a fun new way to interact with visitors.  Each exhibit panel will feature Quick-Response (Q-R) Codes that allows visitors with smart phones to quickly access information on our website as well as go directly to our Facebook page to post pictures from their visit!  We will demonstrate how this new technology works at the exhibit opening.  This exhibit is made possible by grants from Humanities Iowa and Central Iowa Tourism Region.

Upcoming events:
May 18:  New exhibit opening, 6:00-7:00pm
June 8-10:  American Gothic Days
Art Contest
5K Run/Walk
Bike Ride

Holly Berg
American Gothic House Center

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