Applauding Local Artists

I want to say thank you to Debbie Wiley who reached out to me via Facebook Messenger last week. She had some kind words to share about my column and gave me a suggestion for something to write about.

If you’ve spent time in downtown Muscatine or Wilton, you’ve noticed that some buildings are a lot more colorful. The artists behind those projects have been featured in the media and you’ve seen their work(s) on the front page of this newspaper. What I want to do is tell you how seeing their art impacts me.

Take local artist Chris Anderson, for example. Chris is behind the large painting on the side of (one of my favorite downtown businesses) the Wild Thing. His work is seen on several other buildings and churches and truly brings a smile to my face. I was also fortunate enough to work alongside Chris on the former Hy-Vee Today show and honored to call him my friend.

On the side of Pearl City Tattoo is where you’ll find the work of Johan Umana. His mural is an interactive piece that has brought people to downtown Muscatine, even if only to snap a picture. Johan also works full-time at Calvary Church and is connected to the Pearl City community.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the Beautiful Bubbles that my friend and artist Paul Marquez painted in Wilton. You’ll find that piece on the backside of Cedar and Fourth street.

Sharing art is such a powerful thing, and I’m thankful to those three for their efforts. Now more than ever, we all could use a drive around town and a smile. If anything, I fully expect a creativity boom to happen with all of the aforementioned artists having time to think about their next project.

Have I told you how close I’ve been to hiring Chris Anderson to paint a Batman logo on my garage door? How cool would it feel pulling into my personal “Batcave” everyday? I just need help convincing my wife.

At our house, we have three budding artists fast at work. My oldest son, Henry, is creating his own graphic novel, while Theodore works to stay inside the lines, and Lucy, God bless her heart, seems to get markers and crayons everywhere. She’s only two, so we’ll give her a break.

I have and will continue to be an advocate for art. I want to encourage my children to draw, paint, make music, act, or whatever else they’re interested in. So let’s load up the family station wagon (so many memories from the 90’s make me sometimes long to own one) and take a drive to enjoy the view, even if just for a moment to help cleanse all the negativity that we’re forced to deal with. As always I welcome your feedback via Facebook, Instagram, or my personal email; [email protected] stay healthy, safe and creative!