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Local projects receive paint donation through Keep Iowa Beautiful program

Diamond Vogel donates paint to 104 total projects

The mural which hangs on the west side of the Centre for Arts and Artists building in Newton will be refurbished this year thanks to a grant from the 2019 Paint Iowa Beautiful program. The mural is mirrored after artist K. Akheil Shah’s work from a street wall in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The mural which hangs on the west side of the Centre for Arts and Artists building in Newton will be refurbished this year thanks to a grant from the 2019 Paint Iowa Beautiful program. The mural is mirrored after artist K. Akheil Shah’s work from a street wall in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Linda Klepinger, executive director of the Centre for Arts and Artists in Newton, said there is a deep creative base in Jasper County. Thanks to the recent donation from a Keep Iowa Beautiful grant, two of those projects will help showcase that artistic talent.

Diamond Vogel and Keep Iowa Beautiful announced the grant awards for the 2019 Paint Iowa Beautiful program April 9, with seven projects in Jasper County alone. One of those recipients was the Centre for Arts and Artists. They received six gallons of paint to help in the refurbishment of a mural which hangs on the west side of its building.

Klepinger said the painting originally hung in the Aces Teen Center and was painted by volunteers in 2010. The mural took about four months to complete. It is modeled after a street-wall mural in Düsseldorf, Germany, by artist K. Akheil Shah, Klepinger said. The kids at the teen center picked the design for the mural.

“I asked the kids why they picked that particular design and their answer really surprised me. They said it was because there were no windows at the Aces Teen Center and (the mural) is full of windows. I did not expect that answer,” Klepinger said.

The mural was relocated to the Center for Arts and Artists after the Aces Teen Center, 1620 N. 11th Ave. E., closed and the Newton YMCA sold the building in 2012.

Along with the windows, the mural features vibrant colors that allows it to stand out in its featured place at Centre for Arts and Artists. Volunteers will work on refurbishing the mural throughout the rest of the year. Klepinger said the wood of the mural will need to be “shored up” before any painting can take place. Once that is complete, the painting will need to be done in layers and will be done a little at a time.

“We are so grateful for the grant,” Klepinger said.

With one mural being restored, the KIB grant is bringing life to a new mural in Jasper County.

Jasper County Conservation received five gallons of paint which will be used on a project at Ashton Observatory just west of Baxter. Conservation director Keri Van Zante said the grant has allowed them to organize this special “beautification project to add art and to provide a learning opportunity for children.”

Van Zante said the conservation is partnering with the Des Moines Astronomical Society and two local artists, Lauren Roush and Pauli Zmolek, to create a 30-foot-by-9-foot mural on the north outside wall of the observatory.

Roush is a Newton native and is currently an elementary art teacher for the Newton Community School District. Roush will be presenting this project to her second through fourth graders to enlist their help in creating and painting the mural.

Zmolek, also a Newton native, is a painter and muralist with a long list of works in her portfolio. One of her major accomplishments was being the first woman to serve as a decorative painter for the Architect of the United States Capitol.

“JCC is privileged to have such gifted local artists involved with this project,” Van Zante said. “Jasper County Conservation is committed to not only enhancing our green energy community, but we also share a love and appreciation of the art culture that surrounds our county. This mural will improve the visual appearance of the park and the observatory and will also be a project that involves children, the art community and strong up and coming women leaders in our community.”

Plans for the mural are still being finalized. Van Zante said the finished product will accurately depict the southern summer night sky over a prairie scene.

“DMAS provided guidance and expertise for which components of the night sky should be involved, including the moon, Milky Way, and the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpio,” Van Zante said.

In the 16-year partnership with KIB, Diamond Vogel has awarded more than 10,488 gallons of paint for 887 community projects in Iowa.

The program provides free paint to a wide variety of public service projects throughout Iowa. This is the second year Diamond Vogel agreed to expand the paint allocation to include Iowa’s 70 state parks.  2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s state park system.

“Gov. (Kim) Reynolds has signed a proclamation designating April as Keep Iowa Beautiful month, and we are pleased to do our part by awarding paint to 104 community projects in Iowa,” said Doug Vogel, vice-president, marketing, of the Iowa-based company.  “The partnership with Keep Iowa Beautiful allows Diamond Vogel to assist and work with the many local volunteers that help build communities, making Iowa the number one state in the nation to live.”

Other projects in Jasper County receiving paint include the Kellogg Hometown Pride Committee to repaint park cabin decks; the City of Prairie City will use the paint on a park shelter, restroom and kiosks; the City of Colfax will use paint on buildings, bridges and the band stand; and Friends of Rock Creek Park will use the paint on informational sign posts. Colfax Main Street was also a grant recipient, but will announce its project at a later time.

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or

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