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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

    Art through the ages: Pair of exhibits focus on American art

    Margaret Hurlberthttps://discovermuscatine.com
    Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

    Muscatine Living

    MUSCATINE, Iowa-Though best known for their more local art holdings, including the Mississippi River and Iowa Regionalist collections, the Muscatine Art Center also hosts exhibitions from across the country and beyond. This summer, the Art Center provides a peek at art through the ages with a pair of new exhibits highlighting the works of American artists from near and far.

    In the Central Hall of the Musser McColm museum, the Broadmoor School exhibition brings the American West in the 1930s to life with a striking series of lithographs. A gift to the art center from former Muscatine resident Sandra Toye and her husband, Colonel Richard Toye, these 17 pieces feature art created by artists studying at the Broadmoor School in the 1930s. Contemporaries of Iowa’s Grant Wood (who guest taught at the Broadmoor School), the artists depicted life during the Great Depression through their mainly black and white lithographs.

    For Muscatine Art Center Director Melanie Alexander, the exhibit highlights many similarities between the work of Iowa artists and their counterparts around the country during the scene and regionalist periods. “Even though we’re here in Iowa, I really like the western scenery and I can see some parallels to what was going on in Iowa Art,” she observed. This exhibition will remain on display until March 13, 2022, giving art lovers many opportunities to enjoy it.

    Stepping out of the Central Hall and into either of the Second Floor Galleries, museum goers can peruse art from a very different era in American history. The exhibit Bruce Walters: What the Hand Dare Seize the Fire? looks at over 37 years of art created by Bruce Walters, a graduate of the University of Iowa and professor emeritus from Western Illinois University. Though Walters works in a variety of media, including animation, digital art, paint, photography, and projections, he focused this exhibition on his graphite drawings. Spanning several decades of his career, Walters works depict a variety of subject matter including portraits and images from several poems by William Blake. In Alexander’s eyes, the details in many of these works make them compelling to view.

    Later this summer, on Aug. 22, Muscatine residents can meet with Walters in person at an upcoming ice cream social the Art Center has planned. Alexander encourages art lovers to come explore his collection ahead of time, as the exhibit will close after the social. She also said that guests at the social will enjoy their conversation with Walters, as he has a relaxed manner that puts people at ease.

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