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Thursday, May 12, 2016

25 reasons to visit Cedar Rapids this summer

American Gothic statues (Overalls Project)

One-hundred-twenty-five years ago in 1891, Iowa saw the birth of Grant Wood, who became a famous American artist. As a young man, he studied in Europe and started his art career painting in the impressionist style of the era. By the age of thirty-nine, he had created his own style and produced American Gothic, a work that gained him international fame.

This year, Cedar Rapids leads the celebration of his birth and his art. Last week I visited his studio, saw several of his famous paintings, and ended my trip with a visit to a warehouse, where twenty-five American Gothic statues (each six-foot tall) stood waiting to make their home around the city this summer.

Now in place, each unique piece celebrates Grant Wood's work and Iowa culture. Be sure to walk around the statues and check out the back as well as the front. The designs range from beautiful to whimsical. I loved them all, but yes, I had favorites.

Plan to visit this spring or summer, tour the city to find them and pick out your favorites. Oh, and check out some of Grant Wood's paintings while you're in town. More information will follow in a later post.

Check out Go Cedar Rapids ( and ( to access a printable map showing the location and sponsor of each statue. The statues will remain on display through the NewBo Art Festival in September.

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