'20 Artists, 20 Parks' Artists and State Parks
Clark Colby is a backyard chicken farming, vegetable growing, curious artist that bought a cargo van that he is converting into a glorious camper van to re-explore North America from behind the camera lens! He lives and loves to explore, create, and share place with others. He is currently a lecturing professor in the Art and Visual Cultures Department at Iowa State University teaching film, digital and alternative photography classes, a freelance architectural photographer, a ceramics instructor at the Des Moines Art Center, and the Iowa 4-H Arts Communication and Design Program Specialist for the state of Iowa! He has a Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Science, and is currently working on a Master of Art. He has traveled to all 50 states, all provinces except Nunavut, and 42 countries and feels like he is just starting to explore this amazing planet we share. He aspires to inspire curiosity everywhere!
Stephens State Forest in south-central Iowa totals more than 15,500 acres. In the late 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established hardwood and conifer plantings throughout the forest and many of these plantings can still be viewed today. Stephens State Forest continues to offer multiple resources such as forest products, wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Ongoing cultural practices improve the forest ecosystem for wildlife habitat, forest products, erosion control, and watershed protection. The forest was named for Dr. T.C. Stephens, a prominent educator, ornithologist, and conservationist.
"Around the Park" by Clark Colby
The work is a perspective on place and it’s relationship to the individual. We occupy tiny worlds, separate and connected. Our perceptions extend to the boundaries but our dreams, and experiences go beyond. Pause in a place for a moment, absorb its sensations, reflect on its qualities.
Jennifer Drinkwater and Pine Lake State Park, Eldora
Jennifer Drinkwater is an assistant professor of art and visual culture and a community arts specialist in Iowa State University extension and outreach. She has a B.A. in studio art and anthropology from Tulane University and an M.F.A in painting from East Carolina University. Drinkwater explores how we bring artwork from the studio into the world, and accordingly, how this work can both build and shape community. During the past few years, she has partnered with communities in Iowa and Mississippi in various community art projects, programming and theatre productions. She helped to organize a community-wide steamroll printmaking event in Perry, Iowa; created installations in restored prairies in Nebraska; collaborated on public art projects in vacant sites on Iowa main streets; spearheaded a community knit-bombing project; and painted two murals with middle school children on a juke joint in the Mississippi Delta.
Located along the Iowa River in north-central Iowa, Pine Lake State Park is a hidden gem with wooded trails, streams and scenic lake views in the midst of Iowa’s rolling farmland. As one of the oldest state parks in Iowa, numerous historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) are located throughout the park, including the Pine Lodge, beach house and stone cabins, which have been carefully restored. The park is named for containing the southernmost stand of native pine trees in Iowa, and hundreds of caged tree seedlings are scattered throughout the park as part of a reforestation effort.
"Sprout" by Jennifer Drinkwater
On my first visit to Pine Lake State Park, Ranger Andy Place pointed out tiny white pine saplings protected from browsing deer by small cages. He relayed how these tree-teenagers were raised for ten years by a Friends of Pine Lake volunteer who noticed them sprouting on the bank after a massive 2009 hailstorm wiped out 85% of their ancestors in the park. This woman took them home (with permission of the park board) and tended to them for a decade in her home nursery before transplanting them back in the park. Citizen gardener.
Nathan Dean Edwards and Yellow River State Forest, Harpers Ferry
Nathan D. Edwards is a studio artist focusing on mixed media, drawing, and painting. Influenced by the experiential exploration of landscapes, his focus is on a body of work called "Mounds and Thickets." These works use a technique he calls Patched Canvas. Nathan works with intense collage layering, incorporating drawing and painting methods into the compositions. The result of these completed works reveal visceral and dreamlike compositions that intertwine the influential landscapes.
Yellow River State Forest in northeast Iowa is near the Mississippi River corridor and Effigy Mounds National Monument. Tracts of the 8,500-acre forest were first purchased in 1935 to establish forest and woodlands in the area. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing, trout fishing, trail rides, hunting and more.
"Bluff Trail" by Nathan Dean Edwards
My work seeks to capture visceral qualities, to evoke memory, and to reveal expressions of being present within the landscape. Constructed from memory and observation of reference photos, Bluff Trail represents the complexities and beauty of scenic vignettes and vistas that become meshed together in a composition of impressions.
Firat Erdim and Lake Macbride State Park, Solon
Fırat Erdim’s drawings and installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at the Spartanburg Art Museum (SC), the Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz (Rome), Yellow Door Gallery (IA), The Windor (Madrid), and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Copenhagen). He was the co-founder and co-director of Flash Atölye (2012-13), an experimental project space for art and architecture in Izmir, Turkey. His work has been supported by residencies at I-Park (CT), Vermont Studio Center, Babayan Culture House (Turkey), and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest (KY). Awards include the 2014 Founders Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome, and the 2016 Santo Foundation Award for Individual Artists. He is currently an Assistant Professor and the Daniel J. Huberty Faculty Fellow in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University.
Named after Thomas Macbride, the “father” of Iowa conservation, Lake Macbride State Park in northeast Iowa is a popular lakeside destination with family friendly outdoor activities. Several multi-use trails wind around the lake, featuring the sights and sounds of Iowa’s native birds. In the summer, soak up the sun by kayaking, paddling or swimming in the lake.
"Kite Choir" by Firat Erdim
The Kite Choir is an aesthetic practice of attunement with the atmosphere. In older traditions of singing kites, sound-making instruments are carried aloft by the kite, as the “voicebox” of an assemblage brought to life by the wind. The Kite Choir instead utilizes the tow-line and reel of the kite as sites of instrumentation, to promote a collaborative chain of agency between atmosphere and performer. It is a practice for “cultivating an ability to discern the vitality of matter,” which Jane Bennett argues, in Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010), is needed to draw us out of our “attachments to ideas that matter is inanimate and that real agency belongs only to humans,” and to instead “devise new procedures, technologies, and regimes of perception that enable us to consult nonhumans more closely, or to listen and respond more carefully to their outbreaks, objections, and propositions.”
Carol Faber and Stone State Park, Sioux City
Carol Faber is an Associate Professor teaching digital imaging in the Graphic Design department and College of Design at Iowa State University. She received a B.A. degree in studio arts with an emphasis in ceramic sculpture from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA, an M.A. degree in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking, and an M.F.A. degree in Integrated Visual Arts both from Iowa State University. She has exhibited and presented both nationally and internationally including the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA), the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR), the International Digital Media & Arts Association Conference and Exhibition (iDMAa), UCDA Educational Design Summit, and the Conference on the Beginning Design Student.
Her current research includes integrating traditional and digital visual methods; creating a sense of place through visual textures and surfaces; and capturing the qualities of nature through digital technology.
Located in Sioux City along the Loess Hills, Stone State Park is abundant in wildlife and scenic beauty. The park is recognized as an “Urban Wildlife Sanctuary,” and a variety of wildlife is often spotted, including wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and red foxes. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed many of the park’s structures including the entrance portals, the Calumet shelter and rustic stone lodge. Visitors can enjoy exploring the natural history of the park by walking its trails or learning more about the area at the nature center.
"Fall Prairie" by Carol Faber
Nature has an essence, a unique quality that visually captivates the imagination. My artwork is about how I perceive nature from the actual experience to the visual response. I grew up in northwest Iowa where Stone State Park is located and those specific memories play a role in this work now. This image is a reflection of memories and emotions enhanced to evoke the transforming qualities of nature.
Kristen Greteman and Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine
Kristen Greteman is a printmaker, photographer, and historian with a passion for finding beauty and meaning in the everyday. She began to explore printmaking in 2015. Under the topic of subdivisions, she focused on learning the technique, combining color, and arranging composition on the page. Over the past few years, her photography and printmaking have evolved, visually, while maintaining similar subject matter around the idea of sense of place. In 2018, she began to incorporate primary source historical material into her creative practice. She grew up in Iowa, and she loves her home place. She currently lives, works, plays, and learns in Ames, Iowa.
One of the most photographed Iowa state parks, at Wildcat Den State Park in southeast Iowa visitors will find both historical and natural treasures to explore. Trails wind through a variety of terrain, leading to geological formations and the “Fat Man’s Squeeze”—a narrow pathway along the trail’s sandstone bluffs. Visit the Pine Creek Grist Mill, the oldest working grist mill between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains for a glimpse into Iowa’s past
"Wildcat Den State Park: A Deep Map" by Kristen Greteman
Wildcat Den State Park holds a mix of natural beauty and historical features that were exciting to uncover and explore. The deep map form of my piece speaks to the various layers found in the place by pulling the layers apart and vertically elongating each layer on thin strings. My piece tells of the topography, geography, and flora and fauna as well as the many ways people have changed the meaning of the place over time. The various layers of the deep map are meant to be hung in space, so that the viewer can change the perspective as they move around the map.
Amy Harris and Lake of Three Fires State Park, Bedford
Amy Harris is originally from Davenport but has spent most of her adult life in Des Moines. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Drake University, with a studio focus on painting and drawing. She has been teaching studio courses, including drawing and watercolor painting, at Iowa State for the last 23 years. She also works as a studio artist utilizing a wide range of media currently focusing on fiber art and textiles.
A hotspot for equestrian trail riding and camping, Lake of Three Fires State Park in southwest Iowa provides a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The park’s 85-acre lake offers ample opportunity for boating and fishing enthusiasts, and several open picnic areas are available on the lakeshore. Lake of Three Fires was dedicated in 1935 and is named for a segment of the Potawatomi tribe known as the “Fire Nation” who once inhabited the area.
"Without End" by Amy Harris
My intention is to create a work that is reflective of an inner state of peace when visiting Lake of Three Fires State Park. I wanted to capture details of the park such as the lake, trees, vegetation and sky - and place them into a less specific composition. My hope is that viewers have a dynamic and contemplative experience, taking in the wholeness of the mandala from further back and are then drawn close to cipher the textures and imagery within the shapes and perhaps to back up from the work again to view as a whole.
Brent Holland and Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa
Based in Des Moines, Brent Holland is an Iowa artist and educator who combines digital and traditional media applications to create mixed-media paintings and drawings. Using both figurative representation and formal abstraction, his work responds to his fascination with the inexhaustible visual diversity of his surroundings – from the details of the human body to cluttered studio spaces, architectural drawings, and urban graffiti walls. Holland is an Associate Professor in the College of Design at Iowa State University. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Washington, Seattle. His award- winning artwork is exhibited widely and is in public and private collections across the nation. Holland is represented by Olson-Larsen Galleries in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Maquoketa Caves State Park in northeast Iowa is one of Iowa’s most unique outdoor attractions with more caves than any other Iowa state park. Enormous bluffs tower throughout the park, and a six-mile trail system winds through geologic formations and forests brimming with natural beauty. As one of the state’s earliest state parks, Maquoketa Caves has been a popular destination for picnickers and hikers since the 1860s.
"Upper Dance Hall" by Brent Holland
The drawing depicts the opening to the largest gallery, Upper Dance Hall, in the Maquoketa Caves system. The drawing is organized around a dramatic one-point perspective and depicts a major attraction in the park including the large cave, river, and large moss-covered boulders.
Kimberly Moss and Backbone State Park, Dundee
Kimberly Moss, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture and Coordinator of the Biological/Pre-Medical Illustration Program at Iowa State University, works at the intersection of science and art and has a background within the higher education publishing industry. Moss holds an MFA in Medical and Biological Illustration from The University of Michigan and a BFA in Studio Art with a Concentration in Scientific Illustration & Biology from St. Olaf College. Her research interests and creative activities include biomedical public art, sci art, scientific illustration, visualization tools, and the blending of representational and abstract art. The underlying drive in her work is to motivate positive change, stewardship of the natural world, and to make science meaningful and accessible to a broad audience. More of her work can be viewed at kimmossart.com.
Backbone State Park in northeast Iowa was Iowa's first state park, dedicated in May 1920. A steep and narrow ridge of bedrock in the park from the Maquoketa River forms the highest point in northeast Iowa —The Devil’s Backbone—giving the park its legendary name. Take a walk through history by checking out the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) museum, stay in a four-season cabin, explore the rugged 21-mile multi-use trail system or fish in some of Iowa’s best trout streams.
"Backbone Unearthed" by Kimberly Moss
Art is a lens I use to connect with, investigate, and document the natural world and biological processes. When I walk trails of Backbone State Park, I am immediately drawn to try to understand and visualize the small parts I observe as they relate to the landscape. Windows in this piece reveal what I observed during my time in Backbone State Park. In each opening, these organisms and objects are tied to newly generated lines and symbols I created—another visual mechanism radiating energy and significance into the framework of the forest. Backbone State Park affords connections in the ecosystem to continue, to permeate multiple levels, and to have significance to us and it is for us to notice and nurture for another hundred years. Please feel free to carefully remove doors in this piece to take a look within the landscape. Gently replace doors back into the panel when finished.
Joe Muench and Mines of Spain State Park, Dubuque
Joe Muench earned a BA in Craft Design from Iowa State University 1984 and an MFA in metalsmithing from Washington University, St. Louis in 1987. His formed and fabricated metal sculpture, objects and wall pieces are built using his distinctive hybrid working style that aligns historic traditional practice with contemporary industrial based metal shaping approaches. His research is shared with his students, and presented through lectures and technical workshops held at universities and craft programs throughout the United States. Muench’s award-winning work has been exhibited widely and is featured in numerous publications including “Chasing and Repousse: Methods Ancient and Modern”; Lark books “500 Metal Vessels” and “500 Necklaces”; “The Metalsmith’s Book of Boxes and Lockets”; “Jewelry: Contemporary Design and Technique” and Metalsmith magazine. He is currently a Professor of Jewelry/Metalsmithing in the department of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State University.
Rich in history and natural resources, the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area in Dubuque is a National Historic Landmark with thousands of visitors each year. Village sites, rock shelters and trading post sites dot the landscape, and the area was once the location for lead mining until after the Civil War. The Julien Dubuque Monument, honoring the area’s first European settler, sits high above the Mississippi River and serves as a landmark for the Mines of Spain area. This state recreation area in northeast Iowa provides ample opportunity for visitors to explore a variety of trails and learn more about the history of the state.
"Diptych: Passage and Vessel" by Joe Muench
This diptych is based on a specific section of Horseshoe Bluff Trail found deep within the Mines of Spain State Park. Passage is intended to record a visitor's experience as they first encounter a dramatic canyon-like central corridor that is defined by rugged vertical limestone walls, expansive sky, native trees and vegetation. The title is suggestive of both the place and the act of walking through it. To me, this immersive space felt very personal, private and peaceful, one that encouraged engagement and contemplative thought. Vessel hones in on a particularly compelling rock formation found during one of my summer visits. Ironically, this beautiful corridor was created as a by-product of industrial limestone quarrying that occurred there from 1934-37 as part of building lock and dam # 11 in Dubuque for use in the nearby Mississippi river. This fact relates to recurring themes found within my larger body of artwork, that often portray compelling intersections of natural and mechanical worlds.
Deborah Pappenheimer and Walnut Woods State Park, West Des Moines
Deborah Pappenheimer grew up in the mid-west developing a strong fondness for the land and environment there. She has Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO and a Master of Fine Arts from Boston University, School for the Arts, Boston, MA. She also studied painting, drawing and sculpture at the New York Studio School in New York, NY. In addition to her studio work, Deborah co-authored a book called "My Broken Doll" that is currently being published into a play. The book was about her mother's memories of WWII and includes reproductions of Deborah's artwork that depicts those experiences. Deborah moved to Iowa in 1990 and has been a professor at Iowa State University for 27 years primarily teaching drawing and figure drawing. She also maintains a home studio where she explores painting, drawing and textile art.
Walnut Woods State Park in central Iowa is a tranquil destination for anyone seeking the outdoors not far from the state’s capital city. The park is home to Iowa’s largest stand of black walnut trees, with one of the park system’s finest examples of a 1930s CCC-era lodge. Nearby, the new Purple Martin Water Resource Area features a purple martin nesting and viewing area. These fascinating birds have their own unique establishment near the lake, and visitors can learn more about purple martins at a summer naturalist program.
"Architectural Navigators" by Deborah Pappenheimer
Birds play a large part in Walnut Woods State Park due to the environment that is so conducive to many different species. I have intended to capture that natural environment and portray the birds I encountered. While exploring the bird life, I am aware that many birds in our nation have dwindling numbers due to their habitats being encroached upon and damaged by our misuse of the environment.
Anna Segner and Rock Creek State Park, Kellogg
A Minnesota native, Anna Segner is a writer and studio artist focusing in painting, mixed media, and assemblage. In her practice, Anna incorporates critical animal studies and other research to question the human act of “toying” with animals and the artificial approach to replacing the lost wild. Anna earned her MFA from Iowa State University in Spring of 2019, and she graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature with Writing Emphasis and Studio Art. Between studies, she worked as a newspaper reporter in southern Minnesota. She currently teaches drawing in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State University.
Rock Creek State Park is a premier camping destination in central Iowa, offering a variety of outdoor activities, including boating and paddling, year-round fishing and horseback riding. More than 200 campsites comprise the park’s beautiful campground, with several sites available on the water’s edge or in wooded areas.
"Midsummer" by Anna Segner
After the harsh winter of 2019, my visits to Rock Creek State Park felt like nothing short of a midsummer daydream. I experienced the overwhelming sense of summer as I encountered deer and their young on the trails and rested in the grass and wildflowers. Upon learning that the park is one of the most popular camping sites in Iowa, I reminisced about a childhood camping game my family used to play, in which we counted the deer we encountered. This piece attempts to capture the ethereal sense of summer experienced in the natural world.
Celinda Stamy and Palisades-Kepler State Park, Mt. Vernon
Celinda Stamy is a Lecturer at Iowa State University, teaching foundation drawing courses. She has a B.F.A in painting and drawing from Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri, and earned an M.F.A. in painting from Iowa State University. Her personal work investigates how extensive use of technology has disrupted authentic American relationships and experiences with people and the environment.
Located on the Cedar River in northeastern Iowa, Palisades-Kepler State Park is a beautiful outdoor destination. Dramatic river bluffs, deep ravines, majestic hardwood trees and an abundance of wildlife characterize the area, and Native American Indian mounds mark the early history of the park. Palisades-Kepler was established in 1922, and in 1928, Louis H. Kepler donated his estate to the Board of Conservation, nearly doubling its size. Much of the park’s rustic character is seen through several park facilities and structures that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
"Portal" by Celinda Stamy
Portal fixates on the entryway to the Palisades-Kepler State Park. Entryways serve as portals from one space and state of mind to another. I’ve exaggerated the contrast between the park and the farmscape it through movement and color. The park is a retreat from the demands and standards of our modern world, as well as a vibrant change in scenery from the usual city landscape or agriculture fields.
Austin Stewart and Omar De Kok-Mercado, Brushy Creek State Park, Lehigh
Austin Stewart is an American artist and an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. His practice critically considers culture, human behavior, and ecological crises. The work manifests in a variety of different media from video to robotics, performance to software design, and from virtual reality for chickens to vegetated floating islands. He frequently collaborates on projects with other artists, musicians, designers, and scientists.
Omar de Kok-Mercado is a soil microbiologist and modular synthesist working as the program coordinator for STRIPS (Science-based Trails of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) and C-CHANGE (The Consortium for Cultivating Human And Naturally reGenerative Enterprises) at Iowa State University. He uses soils architecture and its temporal and spatial gradients to guide his audio/visual works.
Brushy Creek State Recreation Area in north-central Iowa is one of the largest state parks in the state, showcasing native prairie, grassland, timber and lake habitats across its 6,000 acres. The lake at Brushy Creek is perfect for swimming, fishing and boating. With more than 45 miles of trails, Brushy Creek is a popular destination for horseback riding, including two equestrian campgrounds.
"Steganos" by Austin Stewart and Omar De Kok-Mercado
Steganos was a wind sculpture set in the prairie at Brushy Creek State Park that logged environmental data over a moon cycle. That data was used to manipulate a series of videos collected at the park. Steganos is the medium of unveiling the hidden messages that nature is perpetually communicating. We commemorate 100 years of Iowa state parks by celebrating that our parks provide us with limitless opportunities to explore the natural world that surrounds us.
Paula Streeter and Gull Point Complex State Park, Milford
Paula Streeter, a Northwest Iowa native, has worked, exhibited and or lived on four continents while involved in creative pursuits such as free lance making, historic preservation, and economic development through the establishment of an environmentally friendly paper company in Honduras. She has attained a BFA in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking, a MA in Intramedia and a MFA in Integrated Visual Arts and is currently an Associate Teaching Professor in the College of Design at Iowa State University.
Gull Point State Park in northwest Iowa is a focal point for camping and outdoor exploration. The park is one of several state recreation spots throughout the Iowa Great Lakes Region. Several lakes, including West Okoboji are near the park and offer a variety of lake activities such as paddling, skiing or sail boating.
The Lodge - Gull Point State Park by Paula Streeter
The Lodge at Gull Point State Park is inspired by the Works Progress Administration’s Poster Project of 1936-1943. The project was designed not only to distribute images that enticed public involvement in the parks by recognizing the range of activities and resources the parks provide to the community, but also to combat the effects of the Great Depression by employing artists and craftsmen. Celebrating the largest rustic construction built in Iowa from 1934-35 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Stylistically, this painting draws from naive paintings done by locals as well as vintage postcards sold in souvenir shops of the Iowa Great Lakes region from the late 1800's on and merges with the many commercial images produced to promote the area.
Nancy Thompson and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, Keosauqua
Nancy Thompson is a professional artist and a native of Iowa. For over 30 years she has been devoted to drawing and painting the Iowa landscape. She as a BFA and an MFA in studio art from the College of Design at Iowa State University and has been a full time instructor at ISU, teaching 1st and 2nd year drawing since 2011. She regularly submits her work to regional and national juried shows and has many awards to her credit. Her Iowa landscape projects include: Images from the Whiterock Conservancy near Coon Rapids, a solo show titled "Unexpected Vistas" of the Iowa State Parks, and a group show titled "Common Channels" focusing on Ledges State Park (which she curated) She is currently curating the Iowa Parks 20/20 project, selecting artists from ISU and helping to coordinate the event.
Dedicated in 1921 as Iowa’s second state park, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park in southeast Iowa spans more than 1,500 acres and offers ample opportunity for fishing, hiking, camping and swimming. Oak-hickory bluffs and valleys characterize the park, and a three-mile trail segment takes visitors along the bluffs of the Des Moines River, which is also the site of the river crossing from the Mormon western trek in the mid-19th century. Many of the park’s structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.
"Wesley Creek Triptych" by Nancy Thompson
During my first visit to Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, I asked the park ranger to take me to his favorite place in the park. He took me to Wesley Creek. When I saw this beautiful and unique spot, I knew I had to paint it.
Olivia Valentine and Viking Lake State Park, Stanton
Olivia Valentine is an interdisciplinary visual artist working primarily in textile construction, creating architectural scale installations and collaborative projects that span a variety of media and disciplines incl. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for Installation Art in Turkey and the Brandford/Elliott Award for Excellence in Fiber Arts and has exhibited her work internationally. Olivia received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State University.
Viking Lake State Park is one of the most popular state parks in southwest Iowa due to its accessibility and variety of recreational opportunities. A large portion of the 1,000-acre park has been left in its natural state and is abundant in wildflowers and plants. Wildlife such as beavers, turkey, ducks and white-tailed deer are often spotted at the park. Many of the park’s hills and valleys were once campsites of Native American tribes.
"Field Edgings (Grouping #2)" by Olivia Valentine
Field Edgings is an ongoing series of photographic constructions started in Steuben, Wisconsin in 2011. All of the works involve photographs of the landscape, taken at the edges of the day, combined with sewing thread and sewing “findings” such as clasps, snaps, and pins. These small-scale constructions pursue ideas about boundaries and edges in the landscape and create relationships to the edges found in textiles, clothing, and garments, creating a scale shift that relates the edges of the body to the edges we make and perceive in the land. While working at Viking Lake State Park, the constructed lake that forms the focus of the park was manipulated to lower the level of the water, in an effort to concentrate the fish populations. This resulted in a further manipulated landscape and lake edge that was documented in many of the images taken for this project. This human manipulation of the water, landscape, and wildlife was further manipulated through my constructions, many of which attempted to visualize the changes in the lake levels and edges. Ultimately, understanding Viking Lake as a space of ongoing human manipulation and use is the focus of this body of work.
Robert Wallace and Lake Darling State Park, Brighton
Rob Wallace is a wood artist from Ames, Iowa who creates wooden bowls, vessels, and hollow forms on a wood lathe, with over 25 years of experience with using and teaching woodturning techniques. His turned bowls and vessels have won various awards at juried art exhibitions, and he sells his artwork through consignment at several art venues throughout Iowa. He is affiliated with the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames as a member and past President of its Board of Trustees. Wallace is also an active member of the American Association of Woodturners, and has previously served on its Board of Directors, as well as being current President of the Ames Area Woodturners. He regularly presents woodturning demonstrations and classes at local, regional, and national symposia. When not working on art, he is a biology professor at Iowa State University, teaching courses in plant biology, evolution, and related subjects.
Lake Darling State Park in southeast Iowa provides ample opportunity for family picnics, lake recreation and exploring woodland trails. The park offers winter activities, including snowmobiling and cross country skiing, and visitors are encouraged to cozy up in a year-round cabin for a weekend getaway. A newly renovated park lodge also serves as the perfect venue for large gatherings. The park was named after J.N. “Ding” Darling, a champion of conservation and a nationally renowned editorial cartoonist.
"The Beauty Within" by Robert Wallace
The prevalence of Walnut trees (Juglans nigra) throughout the forests of Lake Darling State Park inspired the creation of this piece. The Beauty Within speaks to the inner beauty that exists in every tree, as well as the importance of trees in establishing and maintaining the forest ecosystem in which Lake Darling is found. This piece relates the coarse, external appearance of a section of a walnut log, and then shows the turned and finished vessel made from the wood taken from within the log section. The visual contrast of rough bark and smooth glossy surfaces of the vessel enables the viewer to see the transition in form through the artistic process. The centerpiece of the park is Lake Darling itself, around which park goers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the recreation it provides. Thus, on the surface of the vessel, the shape of Lake Darling is relief-carved into the surface, and is gilt in 22 Karat gold leaf - alluding to the high value, importance, and opportunities the lake provides at this park.
Barbara Walton and Pikes Peak State Park, McGregor
Barbara Walton grew up one block away from the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa as the youngest and the first-born U.S. citizen of a German immigrant family. She dropped out of school after her first attempt at college to vagabond around Europe. Later, she received a BFA and an MA from Iowa State University and an MFA from Drake University. Mainly a painter with an expertise in encaustic medium, she also works in mixed media. Her work has been exhibited widely, in juried national and international venues, as well as solo and invitational exhibits. She has received a Iowa Arts Council Major Grant and is represented by Olson Larsen, Gallery in Des Moines, IA, Gallery Marzen and Integrated Art Group in Madison, Wisconsin. Walton is Associate Professor in the College of Design at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where she teaches drawing and painting.
Famed for its majestic views of the Mississippi River, Pikes Peak State Park in northeast Iowa is one of Iowa’s premier nature destinations. Located on a national scenic byway, the park features 11 miles of trails brimming with scenic bluffs and valleys. Visitors can walk the half-mile trail to see Bridal Veil Falls, hike to Point Ann overlooking the nearby town of McGregor or see where the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers meet atop a 500-foot bluff.
"The Weight (I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud)" by Barbara Walton
Being in nature is medicine for me. Pike’s Peak State Park—the land, the sky, the water and plants there—is a powerful place. Walking in the woods and among the mounds, I can’t help but consider and honor the people who were there before us; I can’t help but hope that the place remains for those who follow us. And, in those moments, I am grateful that I get to stand there, in the present. The parenthetical title was borrowed from a Williams Wordsworth poem.
Christopher Yanulis and Pilot Knob State Park, Forest City
Christopher Yanulis attended Towson University from 1984-1989 as a Visual Communications major with a concentration in illustration. He left college to pursue a career in music. He continued on that path for the next 25 years through writing, touring, producing and performing music. Following those 25 years in the music industry, he returned to college and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Design with a minor in Critical Studies from Iowa State University in 2018. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Integrated Visual Arts from Iowa State University with an expected graduation in 2021. His guiding principle in life is to use creativity and the skills he possesses to express his inner life and his reactions to the external world. He has always believed in thinking big and imagining the possibilities.
One of the oldest units in the state park system, Pilot Knob State Park in northwest Iowa was dedicated in 1923 and contains numerous historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The entrance portals, stone shelter, stone bridges, amphitheater and observation tower are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and visitors can stand atop the tower on “Pilot Knob” and take in scenic views of the park. Pilot Knob draws several visitors each year to explore its historic structures and hidden treasures.
"Pilot Knob State Park" by Christopher Yanulis
The video and song were created in response to my experience visiting Pilot Knob State Park and features audio from my interview with DNR Park Ranger Michael Strauser. Captured during two trips to the park in contrasting weather conditions, the video was shot on a handheld phone and focuses on layering contrasting images, textures, and movement. The format mirrors the DIY techniques I use in my mixed media and music recording. The video is meant to give an impressionistic view of the landscape of Pilot Knob State Park and pass along information in an interesting way, while enhancing the experience of the song and its lyrical content.