Wednesday, June 17, 2015

See What's Happening at MMCA

McGregor, Iowa, is situated along the Great Mississippi River and filled with adorable shops, delicious eateries, and 
home to The McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts!

After a few days of rain, this morning I awoke to the warm rays of summer. It was the perfect day for a sunny drive over to the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts. I could not wait to explore the retail gallery and special exhibit. My behind the scenes sneak peek last month was just before the seasonal grand opening, so I was eager to see everything all set up! And I definitely didn't want to miss seeing Arthur's work in the first Special Exhibit of the season!

As anticipated, this season's retail gallery is filled with a plethora of variety, exceptional quality, and down-right fun works of art—a truly enchanting art lover's wonderland.  

The Retail Gallery │ Open Daily: 9-5pm
featuring the finest artists from a 100-mile radius

When I walked in, I was immediately blown away. What a feast for the eyes! I knew the gallery would look amazing, but the transformation that took place since I visited just before the grand opening was incredible. (Click here to see the before/behind the scenes) 

The gallery walls are filled with beautiful intriguing works of all sizes and media, hung to compliment each different style and color palette. There are impressive wood and pottery displays throughout. Handcrafted jewelry, scarfs, leather accessories, glass work, and cards are neatly tucked, hanging, and displayed in each and every nook and cranny. I even spotted a few artists' work who will be featured at Art in the Park, Elkader's first annual fine art festival this summer!

I can only imagine the amount of time it took to simply tag all of the precious inventory, not to mention to arrange it with such fun and whimsy! Hats off to the MMCA crew; you all make it look effortless!

The Retail Gallery is loaded with all sorts of beautiful artwork and handmade accessories, so many of which would make the perfect gift! Have you gotten something for Dad yet?
** Father's Day is this Sunday, folks! **

Before venturing over to the Special Exhibit Gallery, I just had to share these beautiful monotypes with collage by Amy Dobrian from Iowa City, Iowa. Her use of color and feathered imagery creates a pleasing, airy quality to her work. The size of these pieces is quite eye-catching, yet not overwhelming, and the slim silver frame is a great compliment for a polished contemporary space. I really enjoy the whimsical nature of these pieces and love the use of red. Great work, Amy!  

And finally... If you haven't been over to see Arthur's Gift at the Special Exhibit Gallery, 
it's a must-see! You have just under two weeks to see for yourself! 

Arthur's Gift Special Exhibit
runs through June 29th

Arthur's Gift showcases the original hand-colored etchings used for his River Town illustration book which were recently donated to the McGregor-Marquette Center for the Arts. This work is masterful and he's won numerous awards to prove it! You could spend hours looking at any one of these detailed works of art and come back to find something new!

I adore how the MMCA curators decided to hang one of Arthur's special edition accordion books at "kids' eye level" to give the shortcakes a better look!  How cool that it stretches the length of three whole exhibition walls! 

Something I genuinely appreciate about Arthur's work is that he hasn't just created illustration books for kids. They go beyond that. He has taken scenery and scenarios from his personal history and turned them into illustrations chock-full of detail and narrative. He etches the ordinary in a way that transforms into extraordinary.  Not only is his work playful, but there is a serious side; it's tremendously layered. I appreciate the undoubtedly honest connection he has to his imagery. This honesty enables Arthur to create illustration books that both captivate kids and connect with adults.

In conjunction with Arthur's Gift, take a look at the several other Iowa illustrators showcased this month at the Special Exhibit Gallery. While some books have SOLD OUT, there are still a few for the taking! 

Next UP at the Special Exhibit Gallery:

That Tree Photos by Mark Hirsch & 
Nature Pottery by Marjorie King

Be sure to mark your calendars for the opening night festivities! 
Listen to live music by Big Blue Sky, enjoy refreshments, and 
soak in the refreshing earth-inspired works of these two Midwest artists. 

Save the Date!
July 3, 2015

(Let 'em know you heard it from SunnyinSaintOlaf!)

Cheers ♥

P.S. I'd love to know...
  • Do you have a favorite Iowa illustrator or writer?
  • What's your favorite art medium?
  • Have you been to see the great selection of art at MMCA this season?!

Let me know in the comments below! 


  1. Putting the MMCA on my places to visit list when I'm next in Iowa!

  2. What a truly fascinating, magical place filled with all sorts of art. Such a blessing to have locally.

  3. Thanks Jillian for highlighting the MMCA and arts in NE Iowa. There truly are some very talented people up on these bluffs and in the valleys !

    1. You're so welcome and I couldn't agree more!