116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Mark and Deb Weiser opened DKW Art Gallery in Marion four years ago.
The Weisers relocated to the Marion area to be closer to family and to escape hurricane season in Florida where they had been living and owned two galleries.
After the Aug. 10 derecho storm, their gallery - they also live above it - only sustained minor damage, with water coming in through windows, and they are back open after not having electricity for 11 days.
'We were extremely lucky and that actually allowed us to get out and help others who weren't so fortunate,” Mark Weiser said.
DKW Art Gallery features the work of about 20 local and regional artists in a wide variety of mediums, from paintings and fabric, to metal, wood, stone, among others.
'We aim to be very affordable so that when anyone walks in the door they can find a beautiful piece of art to add to their home or collection,” Weiser said.
'My wife, Deb, is an artist and she likes the idea of promoting and helping emerging artists.”
Right now it is just the Weisers running the gallery.
'We have a very nice cooperative relationship between us and make mutual decisions about the business,” he said.
And they make a point to remain up to date on the latest online marketing strategies.
'We are definitely in the senior category,” Weiser said. 'But we've tried to stay at current as possible with technology. The old ways of doing business won't work anymore. We are constantly on social media including Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest.”
The Weiser have had to take on their own challenges during the novel coronavirus pandemic, especially when it comes to their art class offerings.
'We have had to shift tremendously,” he said. 'Typically we'd have about 20 students in a class, but because of the pandemic and following restrictions our classes are now limited to six people.”
The Weisers are as enthusiastic about art education as they are about promoting local and regional artists. Through DKW Art Gallery they offer a variety of classes.
'Deb really enjoys teaching art,” Weiser added. 'Especially when she is working with students as young as four years old, it's so rewarding to see their eyes light up as they grasp something new.”
DKW Gallery offers single day classes as well as repeating classes, for beginners to advanced artists.
'We just started an advanced class on portraiture that runs every Wednesday night for four weeks, for example. Or you can come for a Saturday class where you come here for an hour and leave with a finished project.”
Deb Weiser also offers one-on-one classes.
'We can be very flexible with what we offer because she has so much experience,” he said. 'We can cover such a wide variety of talents, mediums and experience.”
As they've shifted how they offer art lessons, the Weiser aren't letting the current situation stop their creative spirit from coming up with new ideas.
They are planning an event called Marion Art Explosion for Sept. 12 and hope to inspire others to participate.
'We are going to have an art show to feature our artists and other regional artists, but then we got an idea to promote and expand art throughout Marion on that particular day,” Weiser said.
'We are encouraging people to hang art on the fence, put a musician on their front porch, turn up the music and dance in your driveway, have the kids put on a play. We just think this event will be another great way to help expose people to our wonderful artists.”
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At a glance
' Manager and artist/owner: Mark and Deb Weiser
' Business: DKW Art Gallery
' Address: 840 Seventh Ave., Marion
' Phone: (941) 380-2988
' Website: dkwgallery.com