Art on the Prairie Nov. 10-11 in Perry

A rebirth of art and culture comes to life in a small town set on the prairie, with more than 100 Iowa artists, musicians, poets, and authors gathering in Perry’s Downtown Historic & Cultural District to celebrate the arts with the 9th Annual Art on the Prairie on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10-11.

This nonprofit juried arts festival is a collaboration of creativity that layers art, music, and words from a foundation of small-town community spirit and ingenuity. It is free to the public and facilitated by a dedicated volunteer team.

This year’s festival spans 10 buildings, each brimming with culture and all within walking distance in downtown Perry. All participants are from Iowa and display a wealth of different talents and wares:

More than 60 artists with a variety of media – pottery, painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, fiber arts, printmaking, glass, wood, folk art, and more – will display in ten buildings
Musical talents of 30 musicians will fill the historic venues with live acoustic, unplugged music throughout the two-day festival

The Poet’s Corner, located in the lower level of the Hotel Pattee in the Nicolette Room, will host poetry readings by ten Iowa poets on Saturday afternoon

Book signings by four Iowa authors in the entry to the Perry Public Library both days.

Each of Art on the Prairie’s ten venues offers surprises around every corner. Watch art in action as artists throw pots, paint, create letterpress prints, silkscreen, and fuse lamp work glass beads. Participate in the collaborative copper-embossing art mural project taking place at the Perry Public Library.

La Poste – the former 1914 post office on Warford Street, now restored as a cultural arts and events center – will host artists and musicians in the upstairs gallery. The Cellar of La Poste will showcase featured artist Karen Cooper, as well as live music, a Bloody Mary Bar, and Blackout BBQ. Just two doors down, witness the creation of an indoor mural by airbrush artist Shawn Palek at Perry Perk in the Backwards Properties building and linger in “Prairie Lane” between the coffee shop and Mary Rose Collection.

Printmakers of all styles will be at work in the lower level of Peterson Designs, demonstrating letterpress, woodcut, silkscreen, and lithography. The first 50 guests to visit this Poste Print Shop will receive an Art on the Prairie tote bag, silkscreened by Kat Silent Water.

Also, in the print shop, find the post-World War II Challenge Proof Press, which was donated to the Ladies of La Poste by Koch Brothers Corporation in Des Moines. The press now resides at Peterson Designs as a teaching tool for printmaking workshops and demonstrations.

As a special feature during this year’s Art on the Prairie, the culmination of the Boulevard Sculptures will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting and the lighting of Furrowed Fields, the last of the four sculptures commemorating the historical development of Perry from the railway, agriculture, industry, and now art. Now completed, the four lighted sculptures tell the story of the evolution of a rural community.

Furrowed Fields is a tribute to the role of agriculture in Perry’s development. Following the dedication ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 5:30 pm at 2nd and Willis, the public is invited to enjoy food and beverages at the Hotel Pattee. Art on the Prairie commissioned John Brommel to create the first two Boulevard Sculptures in 2016, Born of Fire and Iowa Girl, and Jim Russell in 2018 to design Speed Train and Furrowed Fields. The Furrowed Fields Sculpture Project is supported, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other generous contributors.

Enjoy the cuisine of local restaurants and partake in the many Holiday Open House events at area shops, especially those celebrating grand openings, soft-openings, and re-openings in the Perry community.

full schedule and detailed information regarding artists, musicians, the Poets’ Corner, book signings, and youth activities are available at www.artontheprairie.org and on the Art on the Prairie Facebook page.

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