Art on the Prairie receives $10,000 Iowa Arts Council grant

Allison Ullmann Staff
The unveiling of the “Speed Train” sculpture took place on Monday, July 9. PHOTO BY ALLISON ULLMANN/THE PERRY CHIEF

The fourth sculpture in the streetscape project received a boost from an Iowa Arts Council grant.

Art on the Prairie received a $10,000 grant for a public sculpture that will pay tribute to the overlapping history of farming, industry and railroads in Perry.

A press release said the Perry project was one of 200 statewide projects that received more than $2 million in highly competitive grants recently announced through the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Hometown Heritage in Perry also received a $5,000 Capacity Building Grant to support the operating expenses of the organization.

Mary Rose Nichols said the Iowa Arts Council Grant is one Art on the Prairie was really pleased to receive.

“It was a big deal,” she said. The 10,000 grant was the maximum amount awarded for an Art Project Grant.

The grant funds will be going toward the fourth sculpture in the streetscape project. The first three, “Born of Fire,” “Iowa Girl” and “Speed Train” have already been placed on Willis Avenue.

The fourth, “Furrowed Fields,” will join them this fall. Nichols said the unveiling ceremony is tentatively being planned during the annual Art on the Prairie festival in November.

Nichols added that the grant is for more than the actual agriculture-themed sculpture. The funds will also be used to help develop an arts experience and an educational experience.

Artist Jim Russell will be collaborating with DMACC Instructor, Jim VonBehren. VonBehren’s welding students will also be involved with the sculpture process.

“We just wanted to add that educational piece and arts experience piece and trying to provide as many ways as we can to have different collaborations within the community,” Nichols said.

Adding to that experience will be the chance for area residents to interact with Russell during the Art on the Prairie festival in November. Nichols said he will be available to talk about the sculpture process.

Part of the grant, Nichols said, is also to engage the youth. Area kids will have the chance to emboss a metal square inside the Perry Public Library during Art on the Prairie. The squares will fit together to form a mural that will be hung in the library.

Nichols said one recurring idea that she mentioned throughout the grant application was the idea of “Furrowed Fields” serving as the culmination of the sculpture project.

“The sculpture project will provide access to high quality arts experiences for rural Iowa,” Nichols said. “The four sculptures tell the story of the evolution of a rural community.”