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Birds, Bugs, & Wetlands --- Nature Comes to Life Through Art
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Birds, Bugs, & Wetlands --- Nature Comes to Life Through Art

Blue herons are a sight to behold. Whether one is standing with its long, slender legs poking up out of the water of a shallow wetland or one is floating through the sky with its graceful wings spread wide, herons always make people stop and stare.

When Terril-based artist Marisa Sidles stops to look, she ponders on parts of the heron beyond what most people see. She looks at the sunshine glinting off the heron’s feathers, creating a wide spectrum of colors. She sees how its long neck curves. She notices the sharpness of the beak and the fiery orange color.

Most often, inspiration strikes as she paddles her kayak around the Iowa Great Lakes area.

“I get this up-close and personal view,” she said.

Her acrylic paintings of sloughs, found metal sculptures of insects, collages of birds, and more will soon be on display in Iowa. The "Birds, Bugs and Wetlands” themed art will be part of the eARTh exhibit area February-April at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

“I think the nature center and what I’m working on lately go together,” the artist said. “I thought it would be a great honor to display my vision at the nature center and share with people my vision of nature in the area.”

The exhibit will have a variety of acrylic on canvas, found metal sculptures, collages and mixed media pieces done in fanciful colors.

“I want people to see the nature around us here in a more whimsical way and speak to the child in us,” Sidles said.

Her newest work is a continued exploration of the creative nature she has had her entire life. Her family helped foster an appreciation for art at a young age, and she dabbled in everything from painting to metal sculpture. Eventually she made a career out of graphic design while spending her free time with other artistic endeavors.

“I just love creating new things and experimenting with different materials,” she said.

A reception will be held in Sidles’ honor 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Dickinson County Nature Center. She will be on hand to discuss her pieces and how she created them. Art lovers will have the opportunity to ask questions, to sample delicious hors d’oeuvres and to even purchase a piece of the collection. Pieces range in price from $100-$400.

Sidles will also share her newest passion of collage with art students 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Feb. 27, at the nature center. During her class, she will help people create animal silhouettes out of paper and cloth scraps.

They can then take that home with them to create more,” Sidles said, adding that her students can even take their newfound skills home to teach their friends an art form that doesn’t need expensive supplies. “I just want them to have fun and say they enjoyed themselves for a little bit of time.”

The Feb. 27 collage class costs $30, including supplies. Participants need only bring an inspirational photo to use as their subject and copies of pictures or magazine clippings to use in the collage. Students of all ages may pre-register with Sidles by calling 712-363-1307 or e-mailing

View Sidles’ exhibit at the nature center through April during open hours 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information, visit the nature center website or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up with what’s happening at the nature center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    Beautiful! Thanks so much for contributing to the Travel Iowa blog!
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