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Inspiring Art in Siouxland, Art Splash, Sioux City

28 Sep

Artist Maria Loh creates an image on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Artist Maria Loh creates an image on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Annually in Siouxland a local Art Center in Sioux City holds an “Art Splash” where juried artists can exhibit their wares or creations along with music and activities for children. Artistic endeavors by various artists range from paintings and photography, jewelry, ceramics, wood carving, textiles and fabrics and more.

Jonathan Metzger and his wife, Allison, work collaboratively to create art at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Jeremy Hansen poses on a sunny day in front of one of his art pieces at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Todd does some finish work for his paramour Kiara Linda at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always fun and educational walking about the many artists, seeing the work they have done and feeling inspired and sometimes lazy as one sees the amount of art and effort that goes into some of the items created, whether two or three dimensional. If tired from walking about one can always grab a bit to eat and listen to whatever entertainment is happening at the time. The 2-day event gives one a chance to explore and for many an opportunity to add to their own individual collections be it for indoor or outdoor settings.

Art inspires as do the artists who create it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sidewalk art created by locals at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Children create art on the sidewalk at Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People fill a blocked off downtown street to look at various artists’ booths during Art Slash, a project of the Sioux City Art Center Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Encountering a Jurassic Experience, the Scraposaurs, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Sioux City

1 Aug

The Wooly Rhino was built with salvaged steel and covered in hair plugs and is one of various “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sometimes it’s nice not to have to travel too far in Siouxland to find an interesting exhibit to check out. A traveling exhibit currently at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City consists of recycled Jurassic critters, or creatures from an earlier age. Artist Dale Lewis created whimsical creatures out of recycled metal bits and pieces. Although pieces might not be the best description for some of these towering creatures.

The pterodactyl is built from a variety of stainless steel screening material with forks for teeth while the chicks are made from former steel farm equipment and part of a traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The pterodactyl is built from a variety of stainless steel screening material with forks for teeth and is part of a traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The artist’s inspiration for “Dino” the dog was the TV cartoon “The Flintstones” and is one of a variety of various “prehistoric animals” built from scrap material are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lewis harkens from Minnesota so this may be a way to spend cold winter days as he created these creatures from various metal materials. The exhibit is slated to be on site until April of 2023. So it will be interesting with a heavy winter snow to see these creatures peeking out from under snow drifts. Maybe experiencing another ice age that their forebears endured and were lost in so many centuries ago.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The “Thing” is one of many creatures built from a variety of scrap material various “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A bison statue is flanked by one of several scrap built “prehistoric animals” are represented by the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The artist, Dale Lewis, “signed” his name on one of the “prehistoric animals” are represented in the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Built from a variety of scrap material various “prehistoric animals” are represented in the traveling Scraposaurs exhibit now at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City, Iowa seen Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder in Siouxland, Making Decision on Representation, Little Sioux Park, Correctionville

16 May

A slow shutter speed exposure of water running in the Little Sioux City River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Deciding how best sometimes to represent a scene found in Siouxland, or anywhere is dependent upon the person. And sometimes the representation doesn’t quite fulfill the artist’s or photographer’s intent.

Photographing moving water with a slow shutter speed, during daylight without a neutral density filter doesn’t quite capture the scene as well as very early morning or early evening when using a slow shutter speed would be more beneficial. But it doesn’t hurt to try, and practicing seeing and the skills and mechanics one has at hand is always a good thing I believe. Practice makes one better at achieving results and seeing in the first place. Of course, being prepared is helpful. But I don’t pack the suitcase when I go out photographing and walking. A couple lenses and a camera body and I utilize what I have at hand. Grateful when something works out, aw shucks when it doesn’t.

Of course, there is always tomorrow and another walk. I might not encounter the same scene with the same elements and lighting, but that’s the beauty of taking walks and exploring.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A correct exposure of water flowing in the Little Sioux River at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville, Iowa Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Art in Siouxland, Regional Art Show, Orange City

14 May

A little self promotion with one of the blogger’s own photos seen at the reception and selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I attended the 2022 annual Regional Art Show held at a gallery and theatre on the campus of Northwester College in Orange City. I don’t often enter juried shows since I seldom am ever selected, and assume my years dedication to editorial content isn’t what catches the eye of artists who generally select images for these types of shows. And that is fine. Lord knows I could never had made a living if I relied on clothing and feeding and shelter from the sales of prints I have done over the years.

Attendees for a reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Attendees for a reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Attendees for a reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do immensely enjoy seeing other artists’ work, whether photographic, paintings, photography or sculptural (wood and ceramic). The time and patience these folk put into their work is exceptional. I have heard some argue that “snapping a photo” is not so unique and there is little work involved.

Although I have also read and believe, where an artist works with a blank canvas and then adds elements to create their vision, the photographer starts with everything visible and then must work to eliminate those distracting elements to just retain the visual items he/she wants a viewer to see within their work.

Attendees for a reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mitch Keller, president of the Sioux City Camera club seen with his entry selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One attendee reads through the list of artists while others attending the reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I can I like to visit local universities and wander the art department hallways looking at student work and also museums within and nearby Siouxland to view and admire and maybe attempt some form or representation of the seen work. When “creating” art it would seem that folk must pre-visualize the end product, although sometimes that changes in the course of creating the work. Stone or marble sculptures or those that work with wood sometimes day once they began and the “stone speaks to them” what was visualized changes at the work progresses.

But no matter the medium, the intent generally is clear and even with photographs, it is not merely a snapshot taken, but a thought out image possibly with some post processing involved to achieve a final result the photographer wants to share with his/her audience.

An individual’s interpretation of the world. Whether that be a broader world, or a self-conceptualized version of the artist’s world. There is a lot in the creating, but the end result is in the sharing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Attendees for a reception walk about looking at the artwork selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People attending a reception gather to hear the winners announced at the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People attending a reception gather to hear the winners announced at the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Local media, left, talks with the announced winners, from left Melissa Van Egdom, April Benson and Jerry Deuschle at the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A list of artists selected for the 2022 Regional Art Show reception at Northwestern College’s DeWitt Theatre Arts Building in Orange City, Iowa Saturday April 30, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Art Near Siouxland, and Just Seeing, Joslyn Musem, Omaha, NE

18 Apr
A security person walks through a painting gallery section at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy walking about art museums for the obvious reasons. Those in Siouxland and those that are located near the area. The chance to look at and ponder what lies before one’s eyes whether you agree with or even like what you see. But the creator of the piece saw something, and a museum displaying it saw worth in the acquisition to share with the public.

The painting of the woman and cat at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The subject’s eyes in the painting seem to follow visitors as they walk by. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking about the museum’s various galleries and public areas can also test the visitor’s “seeing” and the architecture involved to pique an interest. And whether one sees the entire scene or just a detail helps shape perception on the part of the viewer and can in turn help develop one’s eye.

The last look at the fountain and formal entrance at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The fountain in a main entrance at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And whether one wants to record, or photograph, what one sees and how one sees something can also be an exercise to “practice seeing” and later look at again and determine if what was recorded is what was intended. Exercising one’s vision to help refine a way of seeing is not a bad thing. As an instructor once told me, painters have a blank canvas to add elements too to create what they envision. A photographer has a lot of stuff in their field of view and then must eliminate or distill down the image that is envisioned to share with others as well as what photographically speaks to that individual.

Walking through a museum there are so many ways to interpret what is there by the use of space or light or depth, shapes, lines and angles. Making a conscious effort to align these in what an individual might believe is a telling image.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A different perspective of a piece of art work at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A different perspective of a piece of art work at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Changes in Siouxland, Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

31 Mar
Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Changes are underway at an art museum in Omaha, NE, The Joslyn Museum. The collection of artwork there is amazing to see as are the various traveling exhibits the museum brings to share with its visitors. Traveling throughout Siouxland one has an opportunity to enjoy world class art in a number of places, and sometimes those places need a refresh to adjust to a new era and planning for their own future.

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A small school group checks out a glass exhibit by artist David Gilhooly at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Construction is seen underway for an addition from inside the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Myself and some friends were not alone the particular day we visited. School groups, families and other small groups and individuals moved about the exhibit rooms enjoying the art and sculpted pieces on display. A nice to see scenes depicted centuries ago by famous, and maybe not so famous artists but all worth the time to view, maybe sit and contemplate what the is there. In a museum time becomes somewhat irrelevant and for good reason. There is no need to hurry, but better to linger and savor and enjoy the beauty before one’s eyes.

Artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A family check out a painting at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A visitor checks out artwork at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will close until sometime in 2024 according to its website as an addition is added. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum will be closing this May for a couple of years according to information on its website. And I wanted one last change to wander and browse the fine art and architectural sights within the building. A little selfishly, I enjoy visiting the museum on hot summer days. When it’s unbearable to be outdoors, the dim lighting and wonderful works to view was always a respite from the day’s oppressive nature. A sanctuary to just sit and enjoy beauty and all that is offered.

Change and the future sometimes requires one to learn patience and to anticipate what new experiences the Joslyn Museum will offer its patrons and visits in the years to come.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Construction is underway for an addition at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday, March 24, 2022. The museum will be closed until sometime in 2024 according to its website. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taking a Walk in Siouxland, Downtown Sioux Falls, SD

21 Mar
Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in winter it’s nice sometimes to get out of town and take a walk in a nearby community, like Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown landscape around it and Falls Park will be changing in the years to come with some major construction underway along the Big Sioux River that runs through the community.

A walk from Falls Park into downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A walk along the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It had been a little while and there seemed to be new artwork in the downtown area, although it could be just new artwork to me since I have not been there for a few months. And as the weather cooperated and warmed up the day, it was nice to saunter about without an agenda to see what might photographically be appealing.

Dated billboard in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are numerous times when walking around a community it’s easy to become enthralled with architectural offerings as buildings’ angles and lines will draw one’s attention. And it’s easy to walk past street artwork as it’s just there, in harsh light and somewhat challenging to photograph.

But therein lies the challenge and a chance to savor these pieces of art for their own sake, which may look different on a summer’s day with trees leafed out and shade and a chance to saunter without a chill, that happens even happens on “warm” winter days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sculpted art work in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A statue of Richard Franklin Pettigrew stands near Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls, SD Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Pettigrew was a founding father of Sioux Falls and his early years was a surveryor and later land developer. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Final Curtain Comes Down in Siouxland, Prairie Grass Film Challenge, Dordt University, Sioux Center

25 Feb
A late comer sneaks into the screening of Monte Ne Productions “Stuck: An Original Musical” which won the overall best of show at the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently I attended the final awards ceremony for a Siouxland film festival, the Prairie Grass Film Challenge. A 48-hour turn around production of “content worth consuming” hosted at Dordt University located in Sioux Center. Currently a people’s choice is going on for the one video that folk deem the most liked, by those voting. Entrance films ran the gamut from high school students to those beyond college. And having done some judging of the films over the last few years there was a lot of excellent work being done by a number of individuals and teams.

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bob Pollema and Mark Volkers emceed the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A member of the cast for “Live in the Mind” Run For Your Life Productions, watches himself on screen during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The films ranged from comedy, drama, musical, mockumentary to sci-fi and mystery. Each team had to include a line of dialogue and a character and prop. Many were quite creative in how these required items were displayed in the film, while others simply included them, I assume as necessary evils possibly not in keeping with whatever creative visions folk had in mind. But in the real (reel) world where others are paying the freight, sometimes there are requirements and the challenge is including them without compromising the final product/storyline.

The awards ceremony has its Oscar moments with some reveals and red carpet opportunities for those attending. A chance to see if they had won their respective category and to see others films as well. The digital media department for Dordt works to help students find their footing and hone skills that will allow them to tell stories effectively after they graduate. A Christian-based liberal arts school, those involved genuinely want to make the world a better place. But that all comes down to point of view and what stories are being told. But as with any job or career path, sometimes the storytelling takes a turn as one matures and sees life up close and personal as opposed to hearing about it through parents and teachers and whatever other filters a young person might have. Experience is its own teacher, right or wrong, and the experience the folk participating the film challenge allows them to try various ideas, compete in a team-work environment and make a positive statement through their participating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Udo Velvet Productions receives a special award for participating in 11 of the past Prairie Grass Film Challenge years during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Prairie Grass Film Challenge founder Mark Volkers, center, looks over a gift he received as his wife, Janelle, left, Bob Pollema, back, and Vern Eekhof, right look on during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Members of the public and family, friends and film production entrants begin arriving for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mark Volkers and Sandy Reitsma pose for a photo at the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dordt University jazz ensemble warms up the audience for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Prairie Grass Film Challenge founder Mark Volkers, right, talks with film entrants prior to the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mark Volkers, founder of the Prairie Grass Film Challenge recognizes people involved with the challenge that include Sandy Reitsma, Gayle Haarsma, Darlene Reichert and Bob Pollema, Daniel Ketchelos, Miranda Munson and Vern Eekhof during the final awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Bob Pollema talks with a winning film team during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A winning film team receive its “check” and recognition during the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying an “Oscar” Red Carpet moment are people involved with various production crews who entered the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Colored streamers jazz up the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A production worker talks about the falling streamers and other surprises while putting finishing touches to the state for the final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony which occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The final Prairie Grass Film Challenge awards ceremony occurred Friday, February 18, 2022 in the B. J. Hahn Auditorium on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center. After 15 years of challenging film enthusiasts to create content worth consuming within a 48-hour period awards the last winners their trophies and acknowledging all those who have participated and created viewing opportunities that were family friendly. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Viewing Jazz in Siouxland, Billie Holiday at the Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

24 Jan
A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently on a trip to Omaha I was able to view a traveling exhibit by the Smithsonian Institution about the singer Billie Holiday and photographer Jerry Dantzic who spent time following her about in the New York area documenting her life on and off the stage. This occurred in the late 1950’s and Dantzic’s documentation of Holiday was done with cameras and B&W film. The exhibit at the Durham Museum is there through early February. And it reminds me of my earlier days of photographing for newspapers when the film of choice, basically the only film, was black and white. Normally Kodak Tri-X, with an ASA (these days ISO) of 400.

A traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution of photographer Jerry Dantzig’s images of singer Billie Holiday’s life in and around Sugar Hill, a section of Harlem in New York City in the spring of 1957, seen on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Dantzic photographed in available light so as not to disrupt the performance of Holiday in the various places she performed. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An enlarged contact sheet from the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dantzic was a photojournalist and this particular project was something he had done at the time and it was published in magazines that used a lot of photographs, namely Life magazine and similar publications. These publications did photo spreads of several pages of subjects both topical and varied.

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One of photographer Jerry Dantzic’s Leica M3 cameras he used to create images of singer Billie Holiday’s life in and around Sugar Hill, a section of Harlem in New York City in the spring of 1957. A traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian Institution is on display at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©) using mostly black and white film with available light at the Durham Museum Friday, December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dantzic was a “fly on the wall” as he recorded unguarded moments of his subject, Holiday, by then a renowned singer recognizable by people on the street and performing in upscale clubs. The B&W film made for a more gritty presence but also necessary as Dantzic photographed without flash using whatever available ambient light was present. In film days shooting in difficult low light situations photographers were always happy in capturing the content and telling a story, and sometimes the “graininess” of film came with the territory. Whereas today people might get chastised for not ridding an image of that grainy/pixelated look because of technology that makes it possible to make an image look perfect.

It is fun looking at the images Dantzic created and understanding the conditions in which he worked and being able to capture his subject in ways to tell the story he was pursuing.

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Dantzic photographed in available light so as not to disrupt the performance of Holiday in the various places she performed. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History comes in many forms, mostly in books and the written word, sometimes in film through cinema and again in photographs. The photos encapsulate a particular time period and allows one as much time as needed to stand and view and contemplate what is seen. The exhibit also invokes a recording method that is now mostly extinct as far as the process used. Technology has made it easier to photograph in seemingly difficult conditions. And technology should make life “easier” through progress no matter the subject or medium.

But this exhibit harkens to another time period. The B&W invokes an era that has passed but was preserved so others who did not see the work published could still enjoy it for what it is a generation or two later.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE. Billie Holiday performed with many of the greats of that jazz era including Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton and others. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition of photographs by photographer Jerry Dantzic of singer Billie Holiday during 1957 while in Sugar Hill, New York City, a part of Harlem now on display at the Durham Museum Friday, seen December 17, 2021 in Omaha, NE.

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, without leaving, Sioux City

2 Sep
Nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen exhibit at the Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As much as I like to get out and travel about Siouxland to photograph and “create” or take images, sometimes a trip to a local museum and serve the same purpose. Especially when it is hosting a renowned nature photographer like Thomas Mangelsen. The Sioux City Public Museum currently has a display of his work showing in one of its galleries. And Mangelsen until recently had a gallery selling his work in the Old Market in Omaha, NE.

A brief history introduces visitors to nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen’s exhibit at the Sioux City Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen’s panoramic landscapes have become popular among those who collect his work and a couple are on exhibit at the Sioux City Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

So many of us strive to create images like Mangelsen, and many successfully do. The idea of traveling to far reaching locales, waiting days, maybe weeks to capture exquisite animals in their natural habitat is alluring. I always thought having the luxury of that kind of time to spend working on images is what is ideal. Once you are in the wild, you’re there, no quitting or going back. No thinking about paying bills, mowing the lawn or other “mundane” daily chores. It must be liberating, but to many not always practical. I guess I was never really a believer that an “artist” should suffer for his/her work. Eating and paying rent with the promise of a warm place to stay is a tough challenge to overcome.

But looking at this gentleman’s work is breathtaking and transports one to another locale and you forget about the mundane chores and daily life decisions, while enjoying and entertaining the idea of being in these places.

A couple checks out the nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen exhibit at the Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A person checks out the nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen exhibit at the Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I really enjoy Mangelsen’s panoramas and the ability, when seeing the images blown up to a floor to ceiling print as I have seen in another museum, makes one feel like you can walk into the scene and look around and feel the nature you are encountering in his images. And it’s nice that a local museum is able to provide just an exhibit to its local residents and others visiting the area. A chance, one, to get out of the heat while walking downtown these last dog days of August, but to transport oneself to a faraway place and seen the beauty of what this earth holds.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A pictorial history of nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen at an exhibit at the Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A pictorial history of nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen at an exhibit at the Public Museum, in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Sioux City Public Museum is currently exhibiting work of nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Aug. 21 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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