Williams gives back to city through painting

The second of the Red Oak downtown square’s eight planter boxes has received a colorful upgrade.
Following approval from the Red Oak City Council, the Red Oak Arts Destination group, or ROAD, has been seeking submissions from local artists. Samantha Williams was the second artist selected and painted the planter box at the northwest corner of Third and Coolbaugh streets.
Williams, who is from Des Moines, met Joey Norris while attending Iowa State University, and after graduation, Williams came with Norris to Red Oak as Norris started his business. Williams said it was a welcome change from the big city.
“It’s been six or seven years now that I’ve been in the community. I’ve loved it ever since I moved down here. It was a bit of a change from living in a bigger city where it’s all hustle and bustle. That took a bit of time to get used to, but I’ve really enjoyed the community since I’ve been down here,” Williams said.
Her interest in art, Williams said, has been with her since childhood. Williams said her mother was a big advocate for art and music and was an artist herself.
“I remember her teaching me how to paint when I was really young, and she had my sisters and I attend an arts and music academy in Des Moines. I think ever since then, having that be a part of our lives at such an early stage, it’s always been there, and it’s just grown over the years,” commented Williams.
Williams has done some artistic pieces for the Five One 8 art gallery. She said she always wanted to give back to the community and felt volunteering to be a part of the project to paint the planter boxes was a great way to do so.
“I feel like art is one of the best ways to do that and not only show your art skills, but express them to and with the community. I felt this was a really good project when I first heard about it, and especially after seeing what the first submission looked like, it really got me even more excited to finish out some sort of design or concept for another planter box which was fun to do,” stated Williams.
For her concept, Williams said she wanted to create something that represented Red Oak as a whole, and selecting the Red Oak tree and the seasons was a logical choice.
“It’s something we see on a daily basis, and we all experience the seasons throughout the year, so I wanted to sketch out something that would represent that. I thought it was perfect with the planter boxes having four separate sides to have each side represent a season, and have a combination of the leaves, the trees, and the rolling hills we have down here kind of represent and reflect the Red Oak community as a whole,” explained Williams.
Final painting on her project was completed Sept. 21. Williams estimated the project took about a week to paint, but the pre-planning on the project started a few weeks ago.
Williams said Jim Hoskinson with ROAD was a huge help in the completion of her project, with his background in the arts and painting.
“I don’t typically do a lot of painting myself. I usually do pencil sketches and abstract drawings, and so painting is a relatively newer area for me. It was very nice to have Jim be there and give his expertise and thoughts on how to do certain techniques,” said Williams. “He’s a really huge motivator, and I had a few friends come out and help me paint as well. There were also many members of the community who stopped by and told me how much they love the project, and what we’re doing, and how wonderful everything looks, and how great it is that we’re bringing a bit of vibrance down into the square there.”
Williams added it meant a lot to her to have her design selected and endorsed by ROAD.
“It’s very exciting and gives me a really happy feeling that art can be embraced here. I just love how everyone has come together to not only do a project like this, but also how everyone is cherishing it in their own way.”

Williams also shared some of her next projects now that the planter box project is complete.

“I’ll be doing more sketch work, and I have a few things at the Five One 8 art gallery. They’ve also been a great supporter with local artists and my own work as well. I’m looking to do some more unique stuff to show in there. I usually sketch stuff out, and then I work with Joey Norris to make wooden and metal designs for reusable art, such as jewelry, and furniture and home decor. That’s an interesting little insight into the kind of art that I do.”

Some of Williams’ artistic creations can be viewed and purchased on her Walden Run website at waldenrun.com. She can also be contacted for specific pieces by visiting the website or calling 712-357-5950.

ROAD member Jim Hoskinson said that this latest planter box is the last that will be painted this year, and over the fall and winter, they will continue to accept ideas and concepts for the other six planters.


The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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