Perry’s public art space gained a new piece last Saturday with the installation of a sculpture panel by Ogden artists Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss. The public art installation also coincided with the opening of an exhibition in the Cellar of La Poste of several works by ISU Assistant Professor of art and visual culture Jennifer Drinkwater.
Drinkwater will return to Perry next Saturday, May 16 to lead the Steamroll Printmaking event starting at 10 a.m. at Caboose Park. The steamroll printing will involve 20 Perry High School students and 15 local artists who will print their relief carvings using a steamroller provided by the Perry Public Works Department. The prints will later be displayed in a public art installation in Perry.
Sponsors and suppliers of the Steamroll Printmaking, which is free and open to the public, include the city of Perry, F. K. Stokely Lumber Co., Iowa State University Center for Town/Craft, Iowa State University Printmaking Club, Perry High School art instructor Jill Belgarde, La Poste, Mary Rose Collection, Perry High School and Perry Paint and Design.
The public art panel installed last week is bordered with clay tiles made by visitors to last November’s Art on the Prairie festival in Perry. Many of the tiles have personal messages and images or encouraging slogans about Art on the Prairie.
Dennis and Weiss worked the public tiles into the outline of the panel and created the interior part of the design themselves, using the well known Art on the Prairie logo for their inspiration.
“This one was a lot of fun to make,” said Weiss, as he attached the panels to two fixed poles on the west side of Third Street between Willis Avenue and Warford Street in the heart of Perry’s Business and Cultural District.
The rural Ogden artists have been actively working in various folk-art media for many years. They began building willow furniture and baskets in the 1980s and soon evolved from functional to fine art wall pieces combining willow, pit-fired or raku clay and copper. They have won marketed at high end art festivals nationally for 25 years, winning many awards, as well as teaching numerous workshops.
“We want this to be the first of many panels along this street,” said Jenny Eklund, vice president of the Art on the Prairie Committee and an active Perry booster. “This is the start of what could become a whole streetscape for Perry,” she said.
“This is really wonderful,” said Mary Rose Nichols, president of the Art on the Prairie Committee. The sixth annual art festival is scheduled for Nov. 7-8, 2015.