City of Muscatine
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Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, IOWA – The Muscatine Art Center will host an exhibit of regional artist Dan Rohde entitled A Visual Arts Retrospective January 11 through March 8, 2020, in the historic Musser-McColm mansion.

“Though it is impossible for me to see my art projects through others’ eyes, I hope these images and forms can be appreciated as original creative efforts,” Dan Rohde said

A Visual Arts Retrospective is an eclectic collection featuring mixed media collages and assemblages, paintings, prints, 3D pieces and more to form a visual autobiography by the artist.

Most of Rohde’s training in the fine arts has not been in the visual arts, but in literature, writing, and music. Images, however, is the way Rohde enjoys expressing himself. His earliest memories of art include building model cars and airplanes with his dad, collaborating with his mother on embroidery and cross stitch projects, and working alone completing paint by number paintings.

He attended West Burlington High School in the 1960s where art classes were not offered, but he still dabbled in drawings and collages.

Rohde attended the University of Iowa where, although he did not take any art classes, he borrowed and learned to use a camera, and how to develop film and make prints in a darkroom. During his college years, he visited art museums in several cities, which made him curious as to how different forms of visual arts have been created.

Collages X9 (mixed imedia) (JPG)Rohde graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Teaching, and, after several years as a commercial-industrial house painter, received a Master of Artts in Secondary School Counseling in 1976. After receiving his master’s degree, he went on to teach English literature and writing classes, as well as counseling students on their classes and career choices for 32 years.

The first official art class he attended was in Chinese brush and ink painting that was offered through Kirkwood Community College’s adult education program in the early 1970s. Since then he has explored various visual arts media, mostly on his own: acrylics, watercolors, oils, linocuts, woodcuts, intaglio, plaster, and more. Such lifelong exploration can be seen in the varying pieces in the A Visual Arts Retrospective exhibition.

“As the pieces in this exhibit show, I like to use many kinds of visual media,” Rohde said. “Most of the pieces are two dimensional, but there are a few three dimensional items, too. Each one represents different problems that require different solutions.

Corner (acrylics, cut paper) (JPG)“My subjects often have a special personal connection to me,” Rohde said, “in a way they form a visual autobiography. A few began as doodles and evolved. Many sat on shelves for years, but eventually were resurrected to be improved, finished, or framed. Some are serious, some whimsical. More than a few were dead ends and abandoned. Trying to create interesting images and forms with different media is a continuing, challenging learning process.

“Though it’s impossible for me to see my art projects through others’ eyes, I hope these images and forms can be appreciated as original creative efforts,” Rohde said.

A reception for Rohde will be announced at a later date.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.

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