Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Veronica O'Hern
515.281.3293
Veronica.Ohern@iowa.gov

Influence and Inspiration: Iowa’s Cultural and Artistic Legacy Evolves


Introduction
images of influence and inspiration artist's work

In 2007, the Iowa Arts Council and Iowa Public Television, with American Masterpieces funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, produced two television shows that aired on Iowa Public Television’s, Assignment Iowa. The programs showcased visual artists and arts traditions by profiling the work of seven living Iowa master artists. In 2008, the program expanded to include five Iowa folk artists.

A K-12 curriculum with the theme Influence and Inspiration: Iowa’s Cultural and Artistic Legacy Evolves invites students to examine what inspires and influences each featured artist and then leads them to consider the people, places, things, concepts and ideas that inspire them as a student, person, and artist.  Students begin with an introductory lesson considering the concepts of influence and inspiration and then look more closely at each artist.

      artist bio Influence+Inspiration Introduction        lesson plan Influence+Inspiration Introductory Lesson Plan

 

Click on the tabs below to access bios, lesson plans, video clips, and video synopses for individual artists.

Fred Easker
Fred Easker's Photo

Fred Easker was inspired by a story of Grant Wood saying that you should find art where you are. You do not need to go to art centers in Europe. Mr. Easker says, "They say to writers, 'write what you know.' You can find the basis for art in your own environment."

 

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Jim Shrosbree
Jim Shosbee's Photo

Jim Shrosbree is interested in the "spontaneous creativity of the human subconscious mind" and Jean Arp's "chance operations." Arp made collages with torn paper, letting pieces fall onto the floor. Mr. Shrosbree uses this technique, saying, "That's the composition."

 

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Margaret Stratton
Margaret Stratton's Photo

When asked about how an artist inspires students, Margaret Stratton says to be aware of your surroundings. Your take is different from others'. Perceive on your own without others telling you what to believe. "You never know what you're going to find," she says.

 

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Gary Kelley
gary Kelley's Photo

Gary Kelley grew up looking at the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, and the whole Brandywine School of art. Pablo Picasso is a favorite artist, and he loves Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, and Henri Rousseau.

 

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Susan Chrysler White
Susan Chrysler White's Photo

Susan Chrysler White spent her childhood in California and Spain. Her mother was a painter, and "dragged her to museums." From the time she was about fourteen years old, her parents lived in Central Mexico, and she thinks of her work as being Latin-influenced.

 

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Jane Gilmor
Jane Gilmor's Photo

Jane Gilmor was influenced by the 1970's women's art movement. She admires and finds inspiration in artists such as Ana Mendieta, an American performance artist; Rebecca Horn, a German installation artist who makes wearable sculpture; and Jessica Stockholder, an American installation artist.

 

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Paco Rosic
Paco Rosic's Photo

Paco Rosic spent his first twelve years in Sarajevo. Due to war in his country, he and his family had to leave and were "shuffled through safe houses" to safety. He moved to Germany and began to flourish, but then was uprooted to move to the United States.

 

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Nadine Big Bear
Nadine Big Bear's Photo

Nadine Big Bear was born in 1947 on the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa. She learned the craft of beading from her mother and grandmother. She thinks of being "raised that way" rather than being taught the craft.

 

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Harley Refsal
Harley Refsal's Photo

The traditions and culture of Norway influence Harley Refsal's life and work. His mother and aunts knitted and tatted. It was natural to decorate, and to create great objects for everyday use.

 

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Marj Nejdl
Marj Nejdl's Photo

Her family members, and being surrounded by decorative arts in her home, influenced Marj Nejdl as an artist. In the 1970's, she was "volunteered" to demonstrate egg art, and she is very thankful that she got started that way. That event has influenced her artistic life ever since, she says.

 

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Caroline Trumpold
Caroline Trumpold's Photo

Ms. Trumpold has lived in Amana all her life. She was "surrounded by art," as she came from an artistic family. Her great-grandfather made clocks, many for wedding presents. They were known as Hahn clocks. Her father is Jack Hahn, the wildlife artist. She learned her craft of quilt making from her mother.

 

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Inpanh Thavonekham
Inpanh Thavonekham's Photo

Two teachers, Langsy and Khamman, influenced Inpanh Thavonekham as a student. He is influenced by his culture, and created a painting that reflects many aspects of his life in Laos-the buildings, animals, and color palette.

 

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