Art on the Prairie

I went to an art show in Perry, Iowa this weekend. According to the web site, there are over 100 artists, musicians, and poets. There are 6 buildings, each having several artists. Musicians are in all of the venues. I had worried that this would detract from the art or the talking would detract from the music. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. The music was a nice accompaniment for looking at the art. If you wanted to just listen to the music, it had a nice concert feel to it. Overall, it was much nicer than I had expected.

There were two artists I follow there, so I made sure to talk to them. The first is Cindy Skeie, who is a macrophotographer. I normally don’t buy any photography, but she does some really good work. I had her sign and date the picture I bought, which makes it a little more unique. I really like how she frames her work and presents it. She can be found at I bought her calendar entitled “What the…”. Very cool pictures and reasonably priced at $15.

The other is Joseph Murray, who unfortunately doesn’t have a web site. He does really good landscapes, bird paintings, and rural scenes. He uses a very cool process of water color with acryllic in a layered format. The whole process gives a great light effect. He is doing a one man show down in Jefferson, IA at the end of November/early December. I hope to collect more from him after the first of the year.

There were quite a few fiber artists at the show, which is really unique for the shows that I have been to. There were a couple what I would call traditional quilts. They were pretty good. The ones I thought were the coolest were the applique quilts that used the fiber and sewing as a medium for expressing an idea, whether it was landscapes, portraits, and even abstracts. Some of them even dyed their own fabric and one made their own thread! Awesome stuff.

Here is where I get on my soap box a little. Art is a business. You have customers (at least potential customers) walking around. Please, if you are going to the show to display your work, interact with your customers. They want to talk to you. Those artists that were friendly, talkative, and seemed to be genuinely be excited about being there were generally doing pretty good in sales. Those that were sitting there, working on something or (worse) reading had no one in their booth. Look, I’ve done booth duty at conventions. It is mind numbing. Having the same conversation over and over is no fun. But, honestly, that is what I as a customer want. Art is emotional. Art is about connections. Art is as much about the artist as the piece itself.

Overall, a pretty good show. I’d suggest it for anyone in the area.


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