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Angles and lines in Siouxland, Sioux City Art Center

22 May

I like visiting art museums. Everyone of them offers something to a person, at different times, depending on the current exhibit. And there are a few throughout Siouxland. The Sioux City Art Center like many of its counter parts also provide a visual feast if a person takes the time to enjoy the surroundings as well as the art within the facility. And it’s probably with purpose that many museums are built, to reflect a community or vision of the founding personages responsible for the push to include an art center within a community. Although the history and initial reason for a particular design may get overlooked or even forgotten after a few decades as people come and go, including museum personnel. But the visual eye candy is still apparent and changes daily, especially if the play of light and the sun is involved.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing shapes and patterns during on a sunny day at the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing shapes and patterns on a sunny day at the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shapes and patterns during a sunny day inside the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Shapes and patterns during a sunny day inside the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Supporting Agriculture in Siouxland, Dordt College in Sioux Center

20 May

Every spring Dordt College in Sioux Center hosts an Ag Day, which coincides with part of its educational mission in helping sustain agriculture in Siouxland and in general. There are at times a variety of equipment parked on campus, new stuff and old stuff.

Some older tractors were on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A large 24 row planter pulled by an equally large tractor which contrasts with older equipment also on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What caught my eye walking about this particular day was remnants of a recent spring snow and the ever remaining low temperatures that made winter reluctant to cede to the coming spring.

A pile of snow from a late snow storm is still melting during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day I arrived early in the day as I had an appointment elsewhere and saw a large number of elementary students roaming campus, looking at a variety of exhibits, maybe sparking an interest in some form of agriculture or related field as they grow and sharing a love of a land that encompasses Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children check out goats during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boy shows off a pet goat during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Chiuldren “play” on older farm equipment on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Seeing Spring in Siouxland, Sioux City

18 May

There are days when I put on a lot of miles looking for images and just exploring Siouxland in general. Always wanting to see what is over the next hill and dale. But sometimes seeing just requires that. And pleasant surprises can even be found in one’s backyard, even one only takes the time to stop and smell the “tulips”, or in this case tulip.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Enjoying a backyard tulip in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 15, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying a backyard tulip in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 15, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Singer Andy Williams born in Siouxland, Wall Lake

16 May

 

I am always somewhat amazed but also delighted when I find a bit of nostalgia and history tidbits as I drive about Siouxland. One of those tidbits is the fact that the singer and entertainer Andy Williams was born in the small community of Wall Lake, roughly about 800 people. His birthplace and home for the first eight years of his life is now a restored show place in the community and maintained by the Wall Lake Historical Society.

An autographed photo of himself, Andy Williams, sits on an end table at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Wall Lake, IA, Historical Society Esther Bielema, seated, and Janice Determann, standing at the singer Andy Williams’ birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The day I visited the home I was greeted by a couple of enthusiastic members of the society and fans of Mr. Williams, Esther Bielema and Janice Determann. While the home is not filled from floor to ceiling with memorabilia, it is full of all sorts of historical items about the singer and his family and basically a shrine to a small town boy who made it big.

The birthplace of singer Andy Williams sits atop a hill overlooking downtown Wall Lake, Iowa, Friday, April 18, 2014. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Singer Andy Williams, left, with his parents Jay and Florence Williams appearing in one of his Christmas TV Specials on display at the singer’s birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Various photographs of singer Andy Williams adorn the walls of his birthplace in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downstairs bedroom where Wall Lake Historical Society member Esther Bielema and others believe that singer Andy Williams was born in 1934 at his birthplace home in Wall Lake, Iowa, Sunday July 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I can remember growing up that my parents watched the Andy Williams’ Christmas Specials on TV and while I don’t believe they had any of his records, the songs he sang are well known and include such hits as “Moon River”, “Abraham, Martin and John”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Dear Heart”, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Born Free”.

While there a woman from Des Moines stopped in and walked about the home in awe. For Bielema and Determann the joy of the grand opening when Williams and his wife attended along with other family must have been a thrill they still feel today. History comes alive in places like this mostly because of those who help visitors enjoy it. And one never knows where other historical facts may pop up, but it’s nice to know such gems are still around to find.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

No sunny skies in Siouxland as spring showers continue, Woodbury County

14 May

This particular spring in Siouxland has seen a continuation of rainy days. While not unusual in itself, but it follows what seems a long feeling of winter into spring with snow showers and cold temps into April. So sunny skies such as these are not that common yet.

Older barns with newer accommodations in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 27, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Traveling a gravel road in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 27, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And I am sure there are many of those days that will grace the Siouxland region in the weeks to come, but photographically speaking, it’s a bit of dreary weather. But sometimes one must be patient for that sunshine to appear and nurse those flower seedlings and grass to green up the hillsides and provide a bit of color. And when it does appear, all of this waiting will be forgotten.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Early fall days in rural Woodbury County, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 27, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Art in Siouxland, Sioux City Art Center

6 May

I recently attended a reception for area artists, some professional, others students and still others falling somewhere in between, at the Sioux City Art Center. It’s always a pleasure to attend art functions in Siouxland, as it seems art always gets the short of the stick and little recognition for those producing it. The reception was for the Briar Cliff Review, a literary publication produced by Briar Cliff University located in Sioux City. An entire exhibition hall was filled with art and probably 100-120 people attended to see the work and to also listen to some readings produced by writers who are published in the magazine. Area residents are asked to submit work for inclusion and an exhibit is held to celebrate that.

An artist makes a statement about his work during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Visitors enjoy a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the atrium of the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple gentlemen I know who belong to the Sioux City Camera Club also had work included in the publication.

Doug Conrad stands in front of his two photographs during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Randy Williams stands next to his print at the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Wednesday, April 25, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always find it fun to walk around and view the work. And many times will go back when it is less crowded to spend some time and look over the art that somewhat runs the gamut of media. And people attending reveled in the chance to see their work celebrated and to share that with friends or document their participation.

Friends, family and interested parties attended a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor for the reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit takes a photo of one piece of art at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even in small communities there are most times a vibrant art scene, that maybe, just not seen. But people can still go out and celebrate the work, the artists and community that surrounds it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Attendees listen to artists talk about their work during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor stops and contemplates a piece of art during a reception for the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit in the Sioux City Art Center Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Artist Mark Kochen, right, talks with Sioux City Art Center director Al Harris-Fernandez at the Briar Cliff University Review art exhibit during a reception, Thursday evening, April 19, in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s History Tucked Away, Grand Meadow Heritage Center

2 May

When going to various Siouxland festivals and community celebrations, no matter how tenuous the term community might be, sometimes there is just too much to take in and share at one time. Part of the reason I like revisiting places I have been to previously. The Grand Meadow Heritage Center is one such place. Its old school is now a museum of sorts with a lot of material relating to previous centuries. Being located in the country, a lot of that history centers around agriculture.

Unique farming equipment can be seen in the basement of the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A visitor walks through the basement of the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921that contains an assortment of historical farming equipment collected over the years seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But there is information about people who previously lived in the area and attended the school that still stands.

Visitors to the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival look through old newspaper clippings and school yearbooks in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 192, located near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A collection of historical farming photographs on display in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As an older school building that probably housed grade school and the high school, it also contained a gymnasium and stage. Lots of space to store and display items that relate to what occurred in the past and a source of information for those of us today looking to understand a bit more about how people lived, worked and survived in an era that didn’t have many of the new technological advances that today’s world seems to offer. Well, maybe not technologically advanced to the modern way of thinking. But then it was probably ground breaking.

A rug loom possibly from the 19th century in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 seen at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of a rail road track and other historical items on display in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People just lived a simpler life and made do with less stuff. And the few things they had were taken care of and passed on to the next generation. Until that tradition stopped.

A cradle, circa 1875, on display with other period items in the former elementary and high school building at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And early settlers would marvel at our need today to live in houses that are huge in comparison, when in most cases, a large room functioned in many ways.

Visitors look over a replica period log cabin and contents at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A room in the former elementary and high school building that was built in 1921 is set up like a General Store that existed in many small communities in Iowa is see at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Heritage Center is a look into the area’s past, some displays set up for viewing what life was like then, and is educational a nice reminder, if we actually remember to take the time to look, listen and explore.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

From the former elementary and high school building built in 1921 and which houses lots of memorabilia, one can look out over the school grounds during the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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