Art center opens for season May 15 with exhibit showcasing ‘Arthur’s Gift’

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Geisert’s detailed depictions of rolling bluffs; historic, brick buildings and passing water vessels will be relatable for McGregor and Marquette residents.

The exhibit “Arthur’s Gift” will showcase the 22 hand-colored etchings donated to the MMCA by children’s book author and illustrator Arthur Geisert, who created the etchings for his book “River Town.” Geisert will also be on-hand at the opening May 15 to sign copies of the book. (Submitted photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts (MMCA) will welcome a new season Friday, May 15, with the opening of its first special exhibit, “Arthur’s Gift.”

The exhibit will showcase the 22 hand-colored etchings donated to the MMCA by children’s book author and illustrator Arthur Geisert, who created the etchings for his book “River Town.” One in a series of “Town” books created by Geisert that reflect the activities in small towns, “River Town” shows the day-to-day life, over one year, of a community situated along a major river. For McGregor and Marquette residents, these detailed and colorful depictions of rolling bluffs; historic, brick buildings and water vessels will be quite relatable.

“When people look at the prints, they say, ‘Did he draw McGregor?’” said Marilyn Etchison, the MMCA Gallery Manager. “In a sense, he did.”

Etchison said Geisert and his former wife, Bonnie, drove up through the Mississippi River valley, through Iowa and into Minnesota, when preparing to create the book. Geisert took notes and made sketches, using them to create an amalgam of scenes from various river communities, possibly even Marquette and McGregor.

Last fall, the MMCA launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter, through which it was able to raise $4,130, exceeding the goal of $3,300, to archivally matte and frame the etchings for display and educational purposes.

This ability to share the charming river scenes with others was one reason Geisert chose to gift the MMCA with the etchings.

“He wanted his work to be in a place where it can be used, appreciated and shared with others,” Etchison said. “He felt we could do that.”

“When he offered, we were grateful and delighted that someone had such faith in us, that we could use the works,” she added. “Since they’re from a children’s book, they’ll make a nice difference in our children’s programming.”

Geisert, who now lives in Elkader, will be on-hand at the exhibit opening, which runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and will sign the limited number of used copies of “River Town” the MMCA procured, along with some of his more recently-published books.

Books by other Iowa illustrators, including Gary Kelley, Claudia McGehee, Katherine House, Jeni Reeves and David Prehm, will also be spotlighted in the exhibit. In addition, refreshments will be available and local father-daughter duo LaBarge will provide musical entertainment.

With the opening of the “Arthur’s Gift” exhibit, which will run through June 29, the retail gallery will also open for the season Friday. Etchison said work from 70 regional artists (all living within 100 miles), including eight new artists, will be available for purchase.

“One of our goals is to have a wide range of art,” Etchison said, noting that everything from jewelry, crafts, paintings, ceramics, photography and fabric pieces will be featured, all in a range of prices and sizes.

The MMCA will also have expanded hours this season, remaining open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet