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Performance Art Mezmerises in Siouxland, Sioux City

3 Oct

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes in life an occurrence happens in a person’s life that may have a profound influence and unbeknownst to them guides them on a path later in life. During a festival in Siouxland recently a young girl stood transfixed as she watches a performance artist dance with a couple of hoola hoops. The young lass stared intensely hardly ever moving her eyes until seeing the dancer so a particular move then looked at her mother to see if she saw.

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl looks back at her mother during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I remember as a young child looking at a particular Sunday edition of a Chicago newspaper, transfixed by a page or two of feature images that appeared every week. I can remember sitting in a room in my parent’s house just looking over the images. I can’t remember why I was fascinated or how that fascination came about. But sometimes these unexplained occurrences manifests the results later in life, a necessary spark to start one down a particular road.

I have spent a lifetime photographing events and people for a variety of newspapers I previously worked for, and continue while finding images for this blog. The intensity of sole purpose of the young girl standing so still, watching the street performer makes me speculate that somewhere and sometime in the future seeing this person perform gracefully and appearing to enjoy her work might influence this young lass to pursue her dreams and find a way to fulfill a desire to create, no matter the art form or platform through which she gives voice to a future talent.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Performance artist Kelsey Karnival works with a couple of hoops as a young girl watches intensely during the Alley Art Festival in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Walk in the Park in Siouxland, Latham Park, Sioux City

1 Oct

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People in Siouxland are like others and very much like doing things that seem normal again, or some facsimile of such a notion. Latham Park always has a fall art vendor day, Art in the Park, where various folk can sell their wares and others get to peruse and purchase in a pretty environment.

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But thoughts about the virus wasn’t far from some people’s minds and others didn’t seem to mind or care. Which kind of makes returning to normal a mixed bag. Others who think nothing is going on can’t move on because some people wear masks reminding them, and those wearing masks are worried about their health and well being but find others don’t mind or seem to care. A classic Catch 22.

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And who knows how long and how severe this aberration will continue. But it is nice there are events again for folk to get out to. So many have been cancelled until the following year and hopes the new normal will become normal.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People walk around and look at various artistic endeavors for sale at Latham Park’s Art in the Park event, Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting a Museum near Siouxland and missing the Exhibits, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Sep

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s a silly thought but sometimes when visiting museums and other attractions in and around Siouxland I miss seeing the attraction. That happens when one becomes too focused on photographing something, anything and not taking a moment to enjoy what is in front of one.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The architecture of the Joslyn Art Museum is fascinating and the light play inside and out is a feast for visual people as are the works hanging in the museum. I did walk through a current traveling exhibit exploring visuals in today’s society. How some of the visuals are contrived to reflect what may naturally be there but set up, indistinguishable from actuality. It was thought provoking and fascinating. Not the first time, and with today’s political scene, not the last where someone will take images, still or moving, and try to create a narrative, generally false, to make a point or to attack someone or some thing because they don’t agree or approve. Sad.

But once through viewing the exhibit I walked around various galleries I have seen previously still enjoying the permanent collection of art and trying to create my own imagery within the confines.

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will return again and try to be conscious the next time of stopping, maybe sitting, and looking and pondering those lovely works before me and the creativity these artists who have long since passed using paint, brushes or other means to share their vision with generations to follow and the foresight of someone to collect, display and share these works with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visiting the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, September 3, 2020 , Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Looking for Normalcy in Siouxland, Old Dominion Dance Company, Omaha, NE

25 Sep

 

During this long coronavirus pandemic people are looking for some kind of normalcy even in Siouxland to keep themselves from going bonkers. The Old Dominion Dance Company which promotes English country dancing held its first event in six months recently, giving members and others interested in dance a chance to enjoy a friendly activity and company of like-minded folk. Held at the Scatter Joy Acres it was just a nice fall evening with hints of a lingering summer where visitors could relax, see friends, and have a nice night out.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There seems to always be an equal amount of people who know the country dances and those who are wanting to learn. A couple practice run throughs and soon folk are “flying” over the grass reaching for a hand and performing a “line dance” albeit 17th and 18th century style.

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And as night settled in and the band was reaching its stride the dancers persevered, although some took a break, dancing into the evening. No worries about tomorrow, or the fact that life is now a bit different than a year ago. Cares and thoughts were replaced remembering the left or right foot, first couple or second couple and enjoying the evening.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Old Dominion Dance company holds an English country dance get together at Scatter Joy Acres in Omaha, NE, Friday evening, September 18, 2020, where members and visitors learn English country dancing. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a National Show in Siouxland, the 153rd American Watercolor Society, Le Mars

22 Jun

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s not often that a small town can boast about exhibiting world class works or get the chance to share such work with its community, especially in Siouxland. But the Le Mars Arts Center is currently hosting the 153rd traveling edition of the American Watercolor Society exhibition. Originally scheduled to first be shown in New York City, the show was done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns in many cities across the country. The show will run through July 31 at the Arts Center.

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A member of the Le Mars Art Center talks with people visiting and viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Art Center has also recently finished a redesign within its space that provides more room to exhibit art work and gives the interior a more polished feel. Volunteers at the art center were also appropriately attired wearing face masks as they greeted visitors and had extra masks on hand if someone requested one.

Viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some of the artists included are: Suzanne Accetta of Columbus, OH, Ingrid Albrecht of Chicago, IL, Deena Altman of Escondido, CA, Mina Angelos of Plattsburgh, NY, Karen Barnes of Rome, NY. Will Bullas of Carmel Valley, CA, Chung-wei Chien of New Taipei City, Taiwan, Jansen Chow of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia and Junwei Dai of Singaore, Singapore.

Even if one is not exactly a fan of watercolor or art in general, in terms of such an event taking place in the Ice Cream Capital, it is amazing to see the work and the variety of the 40 artists who were selected. And it’s nice that sometimes the little guy does okay for the home team.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Visitors viewing the American Watercolor Society’s 153rd annual travel exhibit at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, June 13, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Longing for Trips in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

21 May

A coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build seen at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I imagine it will be sometime before the opportunity will allow certain places to reopen as the coronavirus is still prevalent in so many places. I enjoy visiting the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, as well as the Henry Doorly Zoo there. Spending part of a day wandering about and enjoying the moment. And I know those moments will come again, and try to remember such adages of patience being a virtue. When these places do reopen I am certain there will be many, many folk angling to get in. But it will still be nice to revisit places to relax and enjoy and think of other things.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A sea coral reef Lego exhibit by Sean Kenney that took over 500 hours and 88,000 pieces to build rises above a wall to entice visitors to check out at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, 2020. (photo by jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Film in Siouxland, Prairie Grass Film Challenge, Dordt University

27 Feb

Attendees watch one of the entries in a screening room prior to the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In today’s world, there is a proliferation of media. Video and stills. Everywhere. As a photographer, I somewhat thrive on seeing images and for the most part enjoy them. People’s tastes runs the gamut. Depending on one’s point of view there is “good” and “bad” art, video and photography. Individuals pursue what interests them and where their tastes lie.

Every year in Siouxland at Dordt Universtiy there has been a 48-hour film challenge, the Prairie Grass Film Challenge. Individuals and teams come up with and create a film within the specified time period and then compete at this private Christian college in northwest Iowa. The films need to be family friendly but do push the boundary as each, as people are, have an individual opinion of what is friendly. And winners for this year’s competition just recently were announced.

One film crew entry pose on “The Red Carpet” prior to the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The films are produced by high school, college and post college individuals. All maybe reflecting a generational outlook through their individual films, and most certainly have a point of view and moral component to the pieces. Attending the awards ceremony (which is also live streamed to competing teams from around the country) held at the small university one can feel the excitement for these folk as much as directors, producers and actors attending the Oscars and receiving awards and recognition for their work.

Teammates for a film entry react after winning first place in their division during the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Presenters react as they watch one attendee show off his Superman shirt under his street clothes mimicking a recurring theme for this year’s entries which involved superheroes during the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Twenty-five teams made the final cut of the competition that were judged and then four films were selected for best of in three categories with a fourth winner judged best of show. It’s fun to watch these folk enthusiasm and see their creativity put to the test, or not. Prior to the awards ceremony the film are screened in rooms around campus for people to view a few of them before finding out the winner. It’s a fun night, except for the cold weather and sometimes snowy conditions, and a chance for people to begin an adventure in film that may continue or compete in a venue their find worthy of their own involvement with similar values. As with everything, you get out of the experience what you put into it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Dordt University jazz band performs prior to the start of the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of a film crew ham it up on “The Red Carpet” prior to the awards ceremony at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An audience member dressed up as a bee patiently waits for the awards ceremony for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Mark Volkers, left, and Bob Pollema, right, emcee at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge 2020 awards ceremony at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing and Experiencing Art in Siouxland at the Clay County Fair, Spencer

8 Oct

Something to crow about seeing chicken art on display for visitors at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

County fairs can be pretty universal in that they can provide a little something for everyone in Siouxland. Art not withstanding. Some things may seem a bit kitschy but still enjoyable and certainly on some level, educational. The Arts on Grand organization is a support group promoting local artists. And part of that support was putting an artist on the grounds of the fair where people could talk with and observe an artist creating their art.

A member of the arts organization Arts on Grand from Spencer, Iowa films artist Cathy Veiseth doing an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some folk may not think much about art or the people to create it. Many visual artists create their visions through whatever medium they have an interest in whether it be some kind of painting, oil, watercolor or pastel, photography, sculpting or ceramics. All artists create. And it’s could for folk to see someone create a vision they may have in their head and understand how what a person sees is translated into a completed work. I didn’t see the finished product of Spencer artist Cathy Veiseth but did chat with her and was engaged in her enthusiasm for sharing her talent with fairgoers and her general want of expressing herself. Different artists have different driving factors for creating their finished pieces, but all seem genuinely interested in sharing what they see and their interpretation of the world around them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Spencer, Iowa artist Cathy Veiseth talks with a passer-by as she does an acrylic painting during the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding Art in Siouxland, Sioux City

30 Sep

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Most times one finds art in local museums, or people’s homes. But sometimes one can find art just outside their doorway, or back door, as it happens. Recently Sioux City sponsored an art fest and invited people to pay a fee and come in and create, or watch people create, art on walls of an alley. A number of local communities have been doing this for sometime now. Rock Rapids in north Siouxland is one such place that has artists create murals, mostly historic in nature, on city walls for a number of years.

And it’s nice to see Sioux City joining other communities in this trend. A lot of nice pieces were created in the alley, although now that the festival has passed, there is no signage pointing out this art is here for the viewing and a visitor would never know, let along possibly wanting to walk into a dark alley to find such art.

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Le Mars is another community that has art decorating its alley ways. This has been going on sometime as well with a new piece being added every year or so. And it’s nice to see communities adding something of value through an artistic endeavor, depending one’s point of view.

A Photo Safari class pauses in an alley to photograph wall murals in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Photographically it’s challenging to make an image of the art even in daylight. High ISO’s are a must and I noticed the day of the event that large lights were places throughout the alley to give the artists enough light to create their images.

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And while I was walking through the area I was pleased to see a couple more people come in and view a couple of the pieces. So maybe more folk will show up to enjoy the work that someone spent some time to create. I just hope that maybe some kind of signage might point the less informed to these artistic endeavors so they too can see the talent of possibly local or area artists who shared their vision with anyone who happens by.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seen is the resulting mural work by artists done during the 21 Art Fest on September 21 in Sioux City, Iowa Wendesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying Summer’s Festivals in Siouxland, Storm Lake

12 Sep

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Small towns in Siouxland always have a way of finding something to celebrate. And doing it in an enjoyable fashion like Storm Lakes, Wood, Wine and Blues Fest it has each summer. In the lake side park there are a number of carved sculptures decorating it. Sadly in recent years vandals have destroyed and tried ruining a few of them. The festival combines some libation, music and wood sculptors with chain saws to perform their craft.

A not yet finished wood sculpture at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A master carver shows his stuff at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These folk are pretty amazing creating works of art out of single pieces of wood. It makes me wonder what the Renaissance artist Michelangelo could have done with some power tools as opposed to his hammer and chisel. I did try some food but no libation as it sometimes limits one’s driving ability, and at the very least makes one sleepy and then wandered and watched as these 21st century artists created their contribution for mankind’s enjoyment.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a day at the Wood, Wine and Blues Fest in Storm Lake, Iowa Saturday Aug. 17, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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