116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The Iowa Arts Festival, hosted by the Iowa City Summer of the Arts program, attracted hundreds of visitors Saturday at the weekend-long celebration of food, music and, of course, art.
From musical performances to the array of smells from food vendors like Yolanda’s BBQ’s pork-on-stick, families and friends crowded the streets. But the main attraction for visitors was the blocks of white tents that featured over 110 artists.
For Emily Rose, an artist from Monticello, this was her first year having a booth at the festival. Rose’s booth featured a variety of mediums such as digital and print art, but the majority of her work is acrylic paintings. While she said she doesn’t have a “niche area” and limited to one genre, she described her work as a type of surrealism art. Rose draws inspiration, she said, from her imagination and Bible verses.
“I'll read something and if one of the Bible verses that moves me, I’ll try to picture that scene and make it a tangible thing for people to see and understand,” Rose said.
As a self-taught artist, Rose’s learning process was learning through trial and error, which she said pushed her to try things outside of her comfort zone.
“When you try to approach something that you intimidates you, you come out with new skills learn that helps and future people,“ Rose said.
The festival didn’t just feature traditional artwork like paintings and photography. Drew Evans, an artist based in Marion, drew a crowd to his booth from his metalworking creations. While Evans had been welding and working in construction for 10 years, he said he’s worked full-time as an artist for only about four.
Evans said he fell in love with metal working in high school and gets the majority of his materials from the cycling bike shops in Cedar Rapids or at the scrapyard. After cleaning the grease and dirt off of materials, he turns them into art — like a human statue created out of steel nuts.
He’s even taken 27-inch bicycle wheels and fabricated them into a 12-sided Platonic solid and mounted it into a spinning frame.
Evans spends around 50 hours a week working, he said, and is pursuing videography as well.
“I work with the camera on a lot and make a lot of videos of me building and stuff,“ Evans said. ”I like being able to share it and people ask me questions about the process and it's cool to be able to share that.“
When it comes to inspiration, Evans likes to draw from nature, geography and science. But the majority of his work, he said, is from experimentation.
“I just want to usually just want to see if something will work,“ Evans said. ” I just want to usually just want to see if something will work. When I have some idea in my mind, I just want to see how it lines up with reality.”
The Iowa Arts Festival, in downtown Iowa City, continues starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. See summerofthearts.org for details.
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