The eighth annual Art on the Prairie two-day event will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12 this year. Over 60 artists, 20 plus musicians, and 6 poets - all from Iowa - will take up shop in a variety of businesses during the two-day juried show.
“We’re all about local, Iowa, our hometown, our community,” explains Jenny Eklund, President of Art on the Prairie.
Artists and fellow creators will be stationed among eight buildings in Perry’s downtown: Perry Public Library, Security Bank Building, Hotel Pattee, Town/Craft, Carnegie Library, Peterson Designs, Citizens Bank Gallery and La Poste.
“We don’t want it such a huge rambling show that it loses its charm,” said Mary Rose Nichols, owner of Mary Rose Collection. “It’s so unique that all of these buildings are filled with art and music; a lot of them [art festivals] have been in conventional halls and ours is so unique in that it’s in each building.”
“We’re blessed with the buildings that we have due to Roberta [Ahmanson],” Eklund commented.
With new artists coming to this year’s Art on the Prairie, planning for the two-day event begins fairly early.
“We meet on Sunday night [after the event finishes] because we’re all so excited and want to share our parts of where we all were,” Nichols laughs. “Also we have the artists give us a survey and right away you go through those; you’re just so excited and it’s fun to share and rehash the whole festival.”
The new applications for artists begins in Jan. on the Art on the Prairie website.
“It takes a year to plan something like this with its size,” Eklund explains. “With a juried show, it just takes a year to do it.”
The featured artist this year is Paul Micich, an author who “tells stories without swords through his art and music,” according to the Art on the Prairie guide. Micich’s illustrated work has graced the pages of The Littlest Angel, and the original paintings from the story, as well as his gallery series, Paper Airplanes, will also be displayed.
“We’re going to sell them really all over town,” Eklund said about The Littlest Angel book.
Micich, who also illustrated popular Where the Red Fern Grows, will be signing books during the two-day event.
To kick-off the festival, the “Iowa Girl” sculpture, the second of the four-part sculpture series will be unveiled on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Artist John Brommel’s work will honor Roberta Ahmanson and represent the theme of art embedded in the Perry community. The eleven-foot-tall sculpture made of aluminum will exhibit a “color-changing lighting that slowly progresses through the color spectrum,” according to information provided by Art on the Prairie.
As the festival inches closer, Eklund wants to extend gratitude to those who have volunteered their time and assisted in sponsorship’s to make the event possible.
“When it comes down to the event, if we don’t have the volunteers and the sponsors it just doesn’t happen, and of course the eight buildings,” said Jenny Eklund, President of Art on the Prairie
Be sure to check out the next issue of The Perry Chief to view the full schedule for the two-day Art on the Prairie event.