SWIA Art Tour celebrates 10 years
The Southwest Iowa Art Tour is celebrating 10 years of highlighting the work of local artists in the Southwest Iowa area.
This year’s event includes 11 participating communities, 18 gathering places, and more than 80 artists who will be featuring their artwork over the three-day event. Red Oak’s FiveOne8 will be the gathering place for artists in Red Oak. Owner Phil Lamb, who participated in the very first Southwest Iowa Art Tour, shared how the event was created.
“It started with a few artists in Southwest Iowa who got together and said hey, how do we do something that will get us all to work together and get people to come and see art in Southwest Iowa. There are many artists in Southwest Iowa, and people don’t even know they exist,” Lamb said. “Here at the FiveOne8, I have around 14 or 15 artists featured who are Southwest Iowa based. I also have a waiting list of around 17 artists trying to get in. I’d have to buy more buildings to feature all of the artists who want to be featured. So that’s how the event started, with a small group of artists. Zack Jones with Project Art Church in Malvern was one of the originators, as was Paul Koch with The Painted Camel in Macedonia.”
While not one of the originators, Lamb said he participated in the first show, showing his artwork at the Art Church in Malvern. After the first show, Lamb said the show started growing and has grown ever since.
“The second year, Jim and Terri Hoskinson of Red Oak got involved in the second show, and Terri has done all of our brocures from the second year on. So we kept going with a few artists in a few places. From there, we had to determine how to expand and how far we wanted to expand. It’s grown to a three-day event. Before, it was just held on Saturday and Sundays. A couple years ago, we added a Friday show so other artists could go to other places that were doing Friday shows. This year, I’m not doing the Friday show because I have a special event that night. We will have art in the building, it just won’t be set up for the art tour until Saturday. Ultimately, we started small, and we’ve just kept growing and growing,” advised Lamb.
The first show featured 21 southwest Iowa artists. This year’s event features eight of those original artists, including Lamb, Koch, and Jones, as well as Cece Lock, Curt Adams, Cherie Miner, Tom Harnack, and Fred Bolton. All eight will have artwork featured in either Red Oak at the FiveOne8 or at locations in Malvern.
After the third year, Lamb said he coordinated an event location to bring the art tour to Red Oak, first hosting the show at the Wilson Performing Arts Center before moving the show to the FiveOne8.
One of the things that has kept the tour growing is the participation of two key communities.
“Malvern is one of the biggest with art. They have three galleries open normally, and there are two additional locations this year, with the East Liberty Church located outside of Malvern. Getting the PACE Hoff Center out of Council Bluffs has helped because it’s a big venue. Tens of thousands of people know about the PACE Hoff Center, so they can help us advertise. The tough part is getting people to come from Council Bluffs to come east, rather than have everybody go west.”
Lamb added that not only does the art tour allow local artists to have a weekend opportunity to get their names out, it also gives them the opportunity to display more artwork.
“At the FiveOne8, there’s a limited amount of space for them to display normally. During the tour, all the tables and chairs come out, and they can bring their booths out and show different artwork and different styles. To give an example, one of our featured artists is Carroll Danbom. Carroll has been doing artwork for more than 50 years, and his artwork is probably in every state in the U.S., and even some of it is overseas. He currently has 15 pieces of artwork on display. If I were to take down everyone else’s artwork from the walls, Carroll has enough artwork to fill every wall space I have in here, and he still would not be able to display all of his stuff. We have multiple artists like that, Duane and Curt Adams are two other examples,” Lamb explained.
Lamb also said that the local artists are made up of those that focus fully on art, or do it as a hobby.
“A lot of the artists are retired and do art as a hobby that has now taken over our lives. The other artists do it as a hobby but have full-time jobs. It’s a great thing to have this show. People get to see so much more art and see what these people have done or can do. They also get to show a lot more art to a lot more people in a short time frame,” commented Lamb.
In addition to being able to view the artwork, attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase pieces.
“Almost everything is for sale. The artists may have some things that might be something that was made for someone else. Also, some of the artists will show incomplete pieces to show visitors where they are in the process and how it works. Reagan Eubank as an example does “tattoo art,” where she etches on metal, and she usually does a display during the show,” Lamb said. “Also, while some of the originals can be expensive, a lot of the artists have prints so they can get a good, quality piece of art if they want a nice, smaller piece, or they can make a smaller print and mail it to them. It all depends on what the person wants. Art is very subjective. Custom framing may be available as well.”
Lamb also said if the featured artists didn’t have something available that visitors want, some of the artists are also available to do commission work and will do requested pieces.
“If it’s a piece they want to do, they’ll definitely sit down with the person and make some notes and figure out what we want to do. Others will recommend another artist if they are unable to do it themselves.”
Lamb also wanted to drive home that while the artists are all Southwest Iowa based, their artwork has traveled beyond Southwest Iowa.
I’ve shipped my stuff all over the world, and that’s the same case with other artists. We’re not a huge known name, but we’ve done art for a long period of time and have sold artwork either across the country, or across the world,” Lamb advised. “There are a lot of talented artists located right here in Southwest Iowa. You could have a neighbor that creates art and you may not even know it.”
Lamb felt the FiveOne8 had among the most eclectic groups of artwork combined into one space.
“Not everyone is painting. We have fiber art, photography, water colors, acrylics, whatever a person wants is here. There’s so many different works and styles of art that most everything is covered. Other places on the tour have a variety of artwork on display as well.
Lamb felt the Southwest Iowa Art Tour was an important event because it allowed people to see just how much art was available in the area.
“People will come in and say they haven’t seen a particular type of art, and that gives us the chance to tell them about Malvern, Walnut, Avoca, or Macedonia. This is especially the case with visitors from Council Bluffs or Omaha or Lincoln. This gives us a great chance to encourage them to see more places. It gets more people excited about art, and gives everyone a chance to find something they like, because everyone’s taste in artwork isn’t the same,” Lamb said. “It’s a great feeling to see people walk through the door that you’ve never seen before come in and talk to artists, and see those artists selling art. That’s what keeps them going.”
One of the things Lamb appreciates about the tour is that in addition to bringing in visitors, the artists get the chance to talk among other artists.
“During the art tour weekend, they can talk to the other artists and find out what they’re doing now, and learn from that. The coolest part of the show for me is seeing an artists compliment another artist’s piece and see if there’s an interest in swapping some art. Then they don’t have to put up money, and they get to move some of their art around. I have a piece from every featured artist in the building in my house. You also get so see so much more stuff and see new pieces as well,” stated Lamb.
The complete list of artists featured at the FiveOne8 are: David Miner, Samantha Williams and Joey Norris, Curt Adams, Cece Lock, Cherie Miner, Lisa Jenkins, Trisha Earley, Gail Younts, Carroll Danbom, Duane Adams, Reagan Juel, Ann Iverson, and Phil Lamb.
SWAG at the Bank in Villisca will feature Mike Bose, Jorge Colorado, and Anna Stoysich. Artists will also be featured at numerous other locations throughout the art tour.
The following locations will be open from 4-7 p.m. Sept. 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16, and noon to 4 p.m. Sept 17: SWAG at the Bank, 400 S. 3rd Ave., Villisca; Zanzibarn Creations, 2161 P Ave., Clarinda; Brenda Scott Studios, 1154 Hwy 48, Essex; Langille Studios, 27644 Paddock Ave., Malvern; The Lakin Center, 61321 315th St., Malvern; the Art Church, 201 E. 4th St., Malvern; Fine Arts on 5th, 104 E. 5th St., Malvern; The Painted Camel, 320 Main St., Macedonia; and Penny’s Visions Art Gallery, 510 Front St., Neola.
The following locations will only be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16, and noon to 4 p.m. Sept 17: FiveOne8, 518 N. 4th St., Red Oak; Sneed’s Fine Art, 507 S. Locust St., Glenwood; Juniper Metal Works, 4 N. Walnut St., Glenwood; East Liberty Church, 30178 Hutchings Ave., Malvern; Avoca Main Street, 212 W. Crocker, Avoca; Brick Wall Gallery, 1010 Sixth St., Harlan; Harvester Artist Lofts, 1000 S. Main St., Council Bluffs; and the PACE Hoff Center, 1001 S. 6th St., Council Bluffs.
Also this year, the map is split into three “loops.” Participants can use one loop during the tour, but are encouraged to try all three.
• The central loop is 35 miles and features Juniper Metal Works and Sneed’s Fine Art in Glenwood, Langille Studios, the Lakin Center, the Art Church, and Fine Arts on 5th in Malvern, the East Liberty Church in rural Malvern, and the South Walnut Collective Building in Walnut.
• The southern loop is 65 miles and encompasses the FiveOne8 in Red Oak, Brenda Scott Studios in Essex, Zanzibarn Creations in Clarinda, and SWAG at the Bank in Villisca.
• The northern loop stretches 115 miles. Stops are the Harvester Artist Lofts and PACE Hoff Center in Council Bluffs, The Painted Camel in Macedonia, Avoca Main Street in Avoca, and the Brick Wall Gallery in Harlan.
Lamb also expressed his appreciation to all those who sponsored the Southwest Iowa Art Tour this year.