Grant Wood, an American artist whose most recognizable work is American Gothic, is from Eastern Iowa. He spent the greater part of his life in my hometown of Cedar Rapids and as a result, Iowans have the benefit of easily enjoying some of his many contributions to the art world.
The art museum here has the world's largest collection of Grant Wood pieces and if that isn't enough, you can even tour his restored studio.
This year, to commemorate what would have been Grant Wood's 125th birthday, sponsors and artists have joined together to create a collection of "Overalls All Over" statues that are designed to resemble the farmer and his daughter in Wood's famous painting. The statues are scattered throughout the city and neighboring communities that have ties to the artist.
Earlier this summer, my mom and I made an afternoon of driving around our hometown to see these fun, whimsical statues.
Each statue has a theme and these are just a few of our favorites.
This first one, standing in front of the New Bo Market, is called Advance to Go-Go.
Artists: Martha Brown & Lauren Manninen
Sponsored by Go Cedar Rapids
I love the daughter's mod outfit and the nod to the Monopoly character as in Go Directly to Go to represent the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau, Go Cedar Rapids.
Check out those go-go boots.
Below is the Cedar Rapids Gazette-sponsored "Experiencing Iowa". This statue is covered in images of news stories that Eastern Iowans would remember.
Sponsor: The Gazette
Artist: Michael Huang
I'm so glad we took the time to see these up close or we would have missed some of the fun details like the camera on his lapel,
and two more cameras in her eyes.
Another favorite was this piece in front of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
It is titled Iowadn't Take You For Granted
Artist: Terri Willits Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
The image on the man's shirt is a photo of Grant Wood and the letter on her skirt is a copy of a letter Grant Wood wrote to a friend telling them that two of his paintings, Stone City and American Gothic, had been chosen for an exhibit.
"Liberty" stands in front of Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust and there is so much detailing in this. You wouldn't see it by just driving by. This one begs to be seen up close and personal.
Sponsor: Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust
Artist: Todd Sabin
From the imagery on his glasses to the built up layers replicating coins (If you look close you can see George Washington's head),
to the woman's cameo pin, there is such attention to detail.
Even the money bag that is complete with a chocolate chip cookie, which is CRBT's hospitality trademark. Yes, this artist went all out incorporating meaningful details and symbolism.
"The Lion Goes to the Theatre Tonight" was created for and sponsored by Brucemore.
Artist Ivy Henerichs
Brucemore is an architecturally unique and historical estate in the middle of Cedar Rapids. It is the home to many cultural events in the area and it seems only right that an Overalls All Over statue should be on the grounds here.
With the mansion in the background, these two are embellished with colorful flowers that acknowledge the beautiful gardens here at Brucemore. Meanwhile, the back side pays tribute to the lions that used to roam the grounds of this estate.
It is hard to say which statue is the best, but my personal favorite might be the one in front of the Czech Museum.
This year the museum has been featuring the works of Andy Warhol, so this statue, Andy and Edie, sponsored by the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library brought a huge smile to my face.
The artist, Julius Cavira, had me with the striped shirt.
It is hard to beat a classic though.
Standing in front of McKinley Middle School, where Grant Wood taught classes, is the statue appropriately named Classic.
Artist: Elizabeth Rhoads Read
Right down to the pattern in the woman's blouse, the details are fantastic and I love the look in her eyes.
This was such a great way to commemorate a birthday.
There are twenty-five statues in all. This was just a sampling.
To see more on this art installation and a map of all the statues click the link below.
Happy birthday, Grant. Thank you for reminding us that art is and always should be a part of our everyday lives.