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Who’s exhibiting and opportunities for artists

Art on the Prairie

When:  November 8 & 9, 2014

Where: Downtown Perry, IA 

Hotel Pattee, Town Craft Building, Carnegie Library Museum, Security Bank Building, Perry Public Library, WhiteSpace, and La Poste

Experience the rebirth of culture in a small town set on the prairie. On November 8th and 9th  over 100 Iowa artists, musicians, poets, authors, and performers will gather in Perry’s downtown Cultural and Historic District to celebrate the arts with the fifth annual Art on the Prairie. This nonprofit art festival is a collaboration of creativity that layers art, music, and words from a foundation of small town community spirit and ingenuity. It is free to the public and facilitated by a dedicated volunteer team.

Art on the Prairie is located in seven buildings, each brimming with culture and all within walking distance in downtown Perry. All participants are from Iowa and display a wealth of different talents and wares.

Art on the Prairie hosts artists of a variety of media:  pottery, painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, fiber arts, letterpress, glass, wood, and more. These artists include:  Rick Van Oel, painter from Des Moines; Brian Duffy, watercolorist and cartoonist from Des Moines; folk artist Betsy Peterson and potter Eric Peterson from Perry; and Melissa Stukenholtz, photographer from Jamaica. Donna Young, well-known sculptor and protégé of Isabel Bloom from Davenport, will demonstrate her art in the Hotel Pattee as a guest artist. 

In addition to visual talents, Art on the Prairie presents the musical talents of over 30 musicians throughout the two-day festival, including Bella Soul, The High Crest, and Rob Lumbard.  Over 70 hours of live acoustic, unplugged music will fill venues for the two-day event.

The Poet’s Corner, located inside the Hotel Pattee, offers poetry readings by Iowa poets, while authors will read from their works in the Perry Public Library. With thanks to the Friends of the Library, the public library is also hosting youth activities and art exhibits, as well as the work of area artisans.

In the lower level of the Town Craft Building, visitors to Art on the Prairie have a unique opportunity to view the home of the Fullhart/Carnegie Charitable Trust collection, which includes regional art, historical and archival research, 600 oral histories, 60 video interviews, 16,000 historical photo images, and local genealogical records. On display will be memorabilia of Snick Hamlin, formerly of the Perry Chief who later created the cartoon strip, “Alley Oop”.

La Poste will host three performances over the weekend through grants awarded to Art on the Prairie by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, On Saturday, Nov. 8 at 11:00, actor Tom Milligan will portray Henry Wallace in a one-act play. Later Saturday afternoon at 2:00, Michael Zahs will present a country school program, including song, puppetry, and dialogue. Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2:00 will bring an Iowa Railroad Heritage performance to La Poste by Denny Rehder.

Stroll down 2nd Street north to Warford Street to discover Perry’s New Arts District.  WhiteSpace, an art gallery in the Citizens State Bank Building and Dillenbeck Building, is currently under renovation and will host an exhibit of drawings by ISU College of Design students. In addition, visitors may not only watch pottery and airbrush demonstrations, but take part in the creative process. With thanks to a grant from the Bock Family Foundation, the public will have the opportunity to texture clay tiles themselves in the creation of a collaborative public art mural designed by sculptors Ryk Weiss and Pam Dennis from Ogden. This public art mural will later be installed as a streetscape on the corner of La Poste.

At the intersection of 2nd and Warford, find another opportunity to take part in the creative process with artist Tom Harnack, originally from Carroll and now owner of Omaha Clay Works. Glaze a piece of pottery and fire it in Tom’s portable raku kiln.

Continue along Warford Street in Perry’s New Arts District to La Poste, originally the post office built in 1914 and now restored as a cultural arts and event center, In addition to performances and art on the main floor of La Poste, an exhibit of Mail Art with postmarks from around the world will be displayed in the Cellar of La Poste. It is appropriate that this unique exhibit, which features artworks exchanged worldwide by artists through the postal service, is displayed in the former post office.

The community of Perry is also having its annual Holiday Open Houses at the downtown retailers the same weekend with bargains and treats at many locations. Stay overnight at the historic Hotel Pattee,, for both shopping and a memorable cultural adventure. 

A full schedule and detailed information regarding artists, musicians, the Poets’ Corner, authors, youth activities, speakers, and performers are available at

Dates and timesNovember 8 (10:00 - 5:00) and November 9 (10:00 – 4:00), 2014         

For more information contact:

Mary Rose Nichols

Art on the Prairie