The Prairie Arts Village in Siouxland, Sheldon

11 Oct

Over the summer I drove to Sheldon, Iowa, to cover a presidential candidate speaking there for Zuma Press. I tend to arrive early for these sorts of events and drove a bit around Sheldon to see what else was there and to find a coffee shop. Never enough coffee for a good day. I came across the Prairie Arts Historical Park on the edge of town and it is overseen by a retired art instructor Hal Tuttle.

Upon a return visit to Sheldon I stopped by the park to take a closer and longer look. I was photographing some of the buildings when Mr. Tuttle appeared and was gracious enough to give me a short tour. Many of the buildings have been moved to the site and the most current one moved there is undergoing a restoration. One of the buildings also houses Mr. Tuttle’s art work from over the years. A self portrait of himself as a young man caught my eye because it was painted the year I was born.

Mr. Tuttle has taught art at the local high school and community college and still stays active now in “retirement” with giving direction to the Arts Park. Sometimes it seems there are too few people as Mr. Tuttle given the fast and furious pace of life these days. But without his dedication and those other volunteers, places like the Art Park would really only be a memory and not an actual place to remind those older where we have come and give some background to those younger whose future still lies ahead of them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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