June 04, 2023

Sculpture festival set for Nov. 5-6

Event will have greater focus on the art process

When the Iowa Sculpture Festival Committee announced in March it wouldn’t be holding its usual summer event, it wasn’t canceling its annual event. The committee simply needed more time to organize a different kind of art weekend.

That weekend is set for Nov. 5-6, when artists from all across the Midwest will converge on Newton. After several years being at DMACC-Newton’s conference facility, the 14th Annual Iowa Sculpture Festival will be held at the Centre for Art and Artists — and the focus will be much more on the educational component of art.

“The public is going to get to see art being made and see it at various stages,” said Linda Klepinger, the Centre’s director and the president of the festival. “It’s one thing to hear the public say they appreciate how many hours go into a particular piece. But seeing it done in front of you — seeing the process and understanding all the steps and the skill level needed — that will really raise the appreciation for the works.”

Klepinger said the 16 participating artists are engaging personalities who will draw in the public to their process. She said she looks forward to having Iowans see the works created and displayed in an art center, as the Centre is home to many regular classes and other visual-arts activities.

“Being in a studio not only allows people to see artists creating in a natural setting,” Klepinger said. “We had a wonderful partnership with DMACC. But this also allows us to make a mess. It puts the emphasis back where it should be — on educating people about how art is made.”

One of the artists she mentioned is Dave Zahn. He’s an artist who lives and works in Moline, Ill., and he has an art degree from Northeastern Illinois University. He has also taken classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art.

The Chicago-area native works in both 2-D and 3-D art mediums, and is well known for his ceramic and bronze sculptures. Zahn’s work can be found in both public, private and corporate collections across the country.

There are many pieces of Zahn’s art on permanent public display both indoors and outdoors in Iowa and Illinois.

Several local artists, some of whom are regulars at the Iowa Sculpture Festival, are also scheduled to display their work. They include Klepinger’s husband, Nick, the 2015 first-place award winner, along with recently retired K-12 art teachers Margaret Caldwell and Chris Noel; Joanne Thomason, who does traditional rug hooking, and longtime 88-year-old sculptor Herman Deaton.

Klepinger thanked the volunteers who have helped get the Centre cleaned up and ready to be the host facility for the festival — all while the usual busy schedule of classes and tasks like applying for grants are ongoing. It will also take many volunteers and hundreds of combined hours of effort during the festival to make it run smoothly.

“A festival involving artists from several states doesn’t just happen,” Klepinger said. “It needs the generosity and manpower.”

The hours of the festival are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Klepinger is hoping younger artists will be inspired not only to create new art as a result of these kinds of festivals, but also to be actively involved in the art community. Visitors age 15 or younger are admitted to the festival for free, and admission for 16-and-older visitors is only $3.

“We’re in an age where ideas are valued more than hard, physical work,” Klepinger said. “At the same time, we must continue to draw out the volunteerism that has kept our community going all these years.”

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or jbrooks@newtondailynews.com