Tag Archives: murals

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©)

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing Black and White in Siouxland, Le Mars

8 Mar

As spring approaches and and the warmer weather helps ensure to entice one to go outdoors, the world will become alive again with color. Blue sky, green grass, flowers and fresh paint for those buildings that may need a make over. But sometimes seeing color in terms of black and white where everything is about tones is challenging and liberating at the same time. During a clear winter day I spent some time in Le Mars, Iowa, walking known paths and trying to stay out of the wind on a cold and brisk day. And ducking into alleys I have walked many times revisiting some wall murals that I have previously photographed.

Sometimes working between color and black and white takes a bit of an effort to know where your color will be in terms of the grey scale. And with the bright, hard winter light I loved the shadows and tonality that I captured. I shot B&W images inside my camera rather than covering. Using a Fuji XT-1 the shooting in B&W with a red filter film simulation works for me. Very similar to what I remember in shooting B&W film, Tri-X, Plus-X and sometimes Pan-X. I find that black and white images are generally more timeless and lend a different feeling that seeing the images in color.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland history through murals, Rock Rapids

15 Jun

Every Siouxland community has a history. Rock Rapids, Iowa, is no different, except that its history can be seen as you wander around the streets of this northwest Iowa town,  presented on buildings.

Some murals are smallish and painted on small boards costing around $800.00 while others are large, covering an entire wall with costs close to $18,000.00.

But not even the largest mural compares with the smile seen on Rock Rapids Mural board member Norma Jansma’s face when she talks about them. Jansma said the mural project began in 2002 with a group of towns people wanting something depicting the history of the community. Right now there are 26 murals telling the story of this place located in Lyon County. And all but six of the murals have been privately funded.

A recorded history says the area was surveyed in 1848 by Jefferson Davis and eventually a treaty was signed with the Sioux Indians giving the white man the chance to settle the area. History states the first white man to settle in Rock Rapids was someone only known as “Old Tom”. A Mr. James Gilman surveyed the town itself in 1872, which was platted in 1874 and incorporated in 1885.

The murals depict various personalities and events that affected the town such as a well respected doctor who delivered more babies in his lifetime than the town’s number of residents, the cost of war, the town’s volunteer fire department, a soda fountain and other “pioneering” personages. Jansma said a variety of artists have painted the different murals. Some of which are painted on the buildings themselves while others are painted on boards and attached to the buildings. One was even repainted, “The Ladies of the Night”, which Jansma said turned the heads of visitors from Sioux Center. The original was attached to a building which burned down, and it was decided that even the more salient part of the town’s history should be told, and another location was found to put up the replacement.

Two more murals are planned for the near future, one during the summer of this year, 2013, and another, #28, planned for the spring of 2014. And Jansma said she hopes this history lesson will continue to remind everyone of where they have been and maybe help direct them to where they are going.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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