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3 Artful Ways to Spend an Afternoon in Iowa
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3 Artful Ways to Spend an Afternoon in Iowa

Art provides the viewer with a cultural connection. An art museum allows visitors to experience a wide genre of art utilizing a broad spectrum of styles and techniques from diverse time periods. The expressive creative skills of artists are on display in museums for interpretation by the individual. The artist communicates through each painting, photograph, sculpture or sketch. The time period, background and emotions of the artist all play a part in the contextual visualization and experience for the viewer. Adults and children alike find art museums a relaxing break from the drudgery of daily tasks. These three Iowa art museums are a delightful way to spend an afternoon.

  1. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art:  Located at 410 3rd Avenue Southeast, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art began in 1905 in the Carnegie Library. In the 1960’s, the Torch Press Building was acquired for the art museum. However, the art museum only remained in this location until the 1980’s when the Carnegie building was vacated by the library. Approximately $10 million dollars were raised for renovations and additional construction on the building. Grant Wood, an Iowa native, assisted with the museum in the early years. Many pieces of his artwork are on display at the museum. Over 7,200 art pieces are on display at a given time, spanning multiple centuries. 
  2. Figge Art Museum in Davenport:  Terry Rathje’s Allinitogether, honeycomb shaped sculpture representing a beehive is currently on exhibit at the museum. The Corn Zone is a popular glass sculpture temporarily on exhibition by suspension from the museum’s ceiling. New acquisitions include Japanese prints by Steven Bartholomew and John Steuart Curry’s oil painting, Threshing. The museum offers guided tours, educational classes and materials. 
  3. John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines:  The sculpture park located at 13th and Grand Avenue covers approximately 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines. Over 22 artists have pieces on display throughout the park. Guided and audio tours are available. Visitors are requested to refrain from touching or climbing on the structures, as this could result in damage. Picnicking is allowed; however, visitors are asked to leave the park free of debris. 


*Photo courtesy of Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines, IA by Jason Mrachina at Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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