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Muscatine Public Art Advisory Commission selects artists for mural, art installation projects

Muscatine Public Art Advisory Commission selects artists for mural, art installation projects

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MUSCATINE — The Public Art Advisory Commission has selected artists or organizations to complete public art projects: a mural on Houser Street, and a public art installation in or near the roundabout at 2nd Street and Mulberry Avenue.

The Houser retaining wall between Hershey Avenue and Lucas Street will sport two murals. Artists Janet Hoopes from the Friends of the Fairport Fish Hatchery and Johan Umana from Calvary Church are expected to complete the works by October.

Hoopes wanted to create a mural that shared the “rich and significant history of the Fairport Biological Station" and its ties to the pearl button industry significant to Muscatine’s development. Umana hopes to create a piece that can bring a positive message of “live to love” to the community.

For the Mulberry Roundabout Art Project, three finalists and two alternates were selected from 14 applicants: Associate Art Professor Daniel Miller from the University of Iowa, Nathan Pierce from Cape Girandeau (Missouri) and Greg Mueller from Lutsen Mountain (Minnesota). 

“Artists for the roundabout public art project responded from as far away as China,” staff liaison and Muscatine Art Center director Melanie Alexander said. “Members of the Public Art Advisory Commission were delighted to hear from artists from Iowa, neighboring states, and both U.S. coasts. The request for qualifications prioritized working with artists from Iowa and neighboring states.”

According to information given by the Advisory Council, the top three artists had experience, creative vision and potential and lived within a reasonable distance of Muscatine. On Sept. 7, the artists will present an illustrated proposal, budget, timeline and installation requirements to the Advisory Commission and will be given a $750 stipend for their time developing their concepts. The community will review the proposals and provide feedback before the commission makes its final decision. The selected installation will be implemented in 2022.

In a news release, artist Mueller said he hopes to “synchronize thoughtful design with the symbolism of the Muscatine story."

Miller hopes to create something something that enhances the space, is engaging for those who encounter it, and is interactive.

Pierce wants to continue a trend in his previous installations and create something that surprises and “blur the lines” between people and place.

“We are all eager to see what each artist develops for the Muscatine community, and all three artists have been equally excited to get started on concept drawings,” Alexander said. “It’s really exciting to move into the next phase for both these projects.”

The Advisory Commission also plans to work with League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on a third mural for an undetermined location in downtown Muscatine.

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