Ten years later, and Art on the Prairie is still going strong.
“When we started 10 years ago, we were in three buildings with about 30 artists and a few musicians. To now, we're in nine to 10 buildings with 65 artists, 24 musicians and 13 poets. We jumped from this little thing to this, how can you not be proud?” Art on the Prairie President Jenny Eklund said of the annual festival.
Art on the Prairie will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10.
Artists, musicians and poets will be located in Atelier at 1109, Carnegie Library, Hotel Pattee, La Poste, Perry Public Library, Peterson Gallery, Studio on Second, Security Bank and Town Craft.
“Every year we try to outdo the previous year. But the thing about this year is because it's number 10, how in the world are we going to be better?” Eklund said.
One way, she said, is with the addition of Atelier at 1109. The new business will serve as the headquarters for Art on the Prairie, as well as a place for area artists to display their work.
One of the featured artists, Mel Stockwell, will have her work on display at Atelier. She will also teach a workshop about letterpress and printmaking. T-shirts, featuring a design from another featured artist, Jimmy Navarro, will be printed in the shop and given away. Posters and bags will also be printed with Navarro's Art on the Prairie design.
Navarro will have his paintings and drawings on display in the Cellar at La Poste. Eklund said Navarro is no stranger to Perry as he has been featured during La Poste's gallery events.
The last featured artist is one Eklund has been trying to bring to Perry for the past two years. Mark Marturello is an illustrator, who worked for the Des Moines Register for a number of years. He will have his work on display at the Hotel Pattee, along with books that he has helped illustrate.
Another way Art on the Prairie has grown, Eklund said is through the streetscapes and murals. Streetscapes were the focus of last year's event, while murals are the focus this year. Prairie Lane, between Mary Rose Collection and Perry Perk, was completed before last year's event. Since then, Shawn Palek has completed murals inside Perry Perk and on the Sinclair building. He is currently working on a patriotic mural in Josh Davis Memorial Plaza.
In addition to the murals, an art dedication will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Perry Public Library. Three new art exhibits will be dedicated during the ceremony. The first is Betsy Peterson's painted wood frame around the children's bulletin boards. The project was completed as a memorial to Rick “Dick” Ehlers.
The second is a hanging sculpture entitled “Free Spirit,” which was made by artists Brad Kiefer, Doug Nichols, Mary Rose Nichols and Jenny Eklund. The sculpture is a memorial to Lorraine Winger. The last exhibit is of framed quilt squares created by the Perry Piecemakers Quilt Guild. The squares will hang in the library's large meeting room.
Also on Sunday, Betsy Peterson will be reading from “The Orphans and the Oak” at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. at the library. The children's book was illustrated by Peterson and written by her sister-in-law Katie/Kathi Owen Mable. A book signing will also be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Betsy Peterson Designs.
Eklund is looking forward to Art on the Prairie celebrating 10 years. Though she said the anniversary wouldn't be possible without the volunteers, sponsors, community members, the city, the schools and more.
“I just feel with Art on the Prairie this year, it being our 10th year, it's successful because of those people,” she said.