The 12th annual Iowa Sculpture Festival is planned for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the DMACC Newton Campus and will feature sales, a silent auction, demonstrations, student art, live music, food and other activities.
Over the years, the festival has grown to include not only an annual venue for artists to display their work but also has encouraged the community to embrace art as a central feature of Newton, resulting in the placing of nearly 90 items of public art around town as well as the establishment of the Centre for Arts & Artists. Linda Klepinger, president of the Iowa Sculpture Festival and executive director of Newton’s Centre for Arts & Artists, recalled the early days of the Iowa Sculpture Festival.
“Don Beyers believed (in the direction of the festival), and I was an easy one for him to talk into something because I believed in him,” she said. “Ultimately, Don was correct, and even after we got through one festival, I was really worried if we would see a second festival. There has been some stewing and worrying along the way, but I am at that point now where I can look back and see his vision and the vision shared by a committee that has been together for a long time of being on the right path.”
Klepinger noted this has been a good year for art in Newton, with the City of Newton’s First Avenue of Sculpture program also helping give art a central place in the community. Sculpture tour brochures will be avaiable at the festival to encourage patrons to take a tour around Newton to see the various scultpures.
“I think we have become a very exceptional creative-based art community unlike any other,” Klepinger said. “I think where I have seen a big change is people’s attitude toward art with the diversity of art with shape and form. I think (we started to see a change) when we started to place public art around town.”
The Iowa Sculpture Festival team purchased a piece of art each year for several years at the festival to place around town. Klepinger said one of their goals was to teach children to appreciate art in the community.
“It lessens the experience of vandalism because they respect it through either meeting the artist or learning the labor-intensive process to create it,” Klepinger said. “I think that investment has not only caused them to respect and appreciate public art, but I think it also satisfies some district requirements in art education.”
Kleplinger classifies the Iowa Sculpture Festival as a small regional show of excellence.
“We’re no Art Fest in Des Moines, but there is intimacy that comes with art exposure here at DMACC or wherever we’re on site somewhere in Newton,” Klepinger said. “Artists don’t feel lost in the massive art shows. Rather, there’s an intimacy where they can connect one-to-one at any time with the people who come through. It’s always great as an artist when you come to a town you don’t know and someone is looking just for you.”
At the end of the first day of the festival on Saturday, the CAA the city will have a special dedication of “Edna,” a sculpture (pictured above) created by longtime Newton artist Herman Deaton that stands US Bank courtyard.
“I was introduced to ‘Edna’ as a table sculpture of his mother in the 1930s,” Klepinger said. “It’s not just a rich sculpture of a rememberance of a mother hanging clothes on the line. It’s also remembering how inventions of Maytag changed the lives of mothers. I understand from speaking to a lot of people that Edna was the sweetest woman in the world, and I would have loved to have met her.”