Event at Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center celebrates Capturing the Beauty of Iowa’s Natural Areas Through Art Project


Nature and art celebrated at Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center ... As part of an August 6 event held at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center in Lansing celebrating the Capturing the Beauty of Iowa’s Natural Areas Through Art Project, the Allamakee County Conservation Board (ACCB) accepted a painting entitled “Lansing from the Driftless Center” from Decorah artist Mary Ann Gloe. Pictured in the photo above at the painting presentation are, left to right: Front row - ACCB Board Member Jeanie Carroll, artist Mary Ann Gloe, ACCB Board Member Jesse Delaney, ACCB Board Member Bill Moody, Allamakee County Conservation Office Manager Erin Cubbon and Director of Allamakee County Conservation Jim Janett; Back row - Driftless Area Scenic Byway Coordinator Jared Nielsen, ACCB Board Member Bruce Palmborg, Allamakee County Conservation Naturalist Ross Geerdes and Allamakee County Conservation Assistant Director Jarrod Olson. Submitted photo.

Over two dozen people gathered Tuesday, August 6 at the Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center in Lansing to celebrate the development of a new original water color painting that depicts the view from the Visitor Center, as well as the release of new posters and postcards that were developed by Northeast Iowa RC&D from the painting. The painting is the artwork of Decorah artist Mary Ann Gloe, and the posters and postcards based on that painting are available at the Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center Gift Shop.

Allamakee County Conservation Director Jim Janett opened the event by recalling how the Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center was developed and how the Allamakee County Conservation Board (ACCB) partnered with the Driftless Area Scenic Byway Board and Northeast Iowa RC&D to secure the largest National Scenic Byway Grant awarded in Iowa during the start of the Allamakee Conservation Board’s fundraising to develop the Center. Recognizing that the Driftless Area Scenic Byway did not have any interpretive center along its route, the Driftless Area Scenic Byway Board agreed with the Allamakee County Conservation Board that development of a Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center was a number-one priority.

Janett went on to explain how the Allamakee County Conservation Board was pleased to be a partner in the Capturing the Beauty of Iowa’s Natural Areas Through Art Project, noting that the project made it possible for the Center to have site specific postcards and posters available for travelers in the Center’s gift shop. A display about the project, which includes posters and postcards, will be at the Center through Labor Day.

Lora Friest, Northeast Iowa RC&D Executive Director, recalled that Gloe’s painting, “Lansing from the Driftless Center”, was the first of seven original paintings completed by Gloe as part of that overall project. All of the paintings were on display at the event, as well as the posters and post cards developed from each.

Friest noted that two of the paintings in the set were from sites along the Driftless Area Scenic Byway and that those sites were located at the east and west ends of the byway. She said she hoped that the poster and postcard encourage visitors to extend their visit, travel the Driftless Area Scenic Byway into Allamakee and Winneshiek counties, and recommend a visit to their friends and family.

The Driftless Area Scenic Byway is independently ranked as the most scenic state byway in Iowa. The Driftless Area Scenic Byway is a 144-mile route that zigzags through the Driftless Area in Allamakee and Winneshiek counties. Friest encouraged attendees to purchase the posters and postcards, noting that profits from the sale of the merchandise will support future work of the Driftless Area Scenic Byway Board so they can complete additional projects and also support the Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center.

Gloe expressed her appreciation for the Allamakee County Conservation Board’s participation in the project and officially presented the original watercolor painting, “Lansing from the Driftless Center”, to the Allamakee County Conservation Board. She explained how inspired she was by the view from the Driftless Area Education & Visitors Center viewing deck and how much she loved the new facility, noting that she returned three times until the sunlight was perfect.

For more information about this project or the artwork created for it, contact Northeast Iowa RC&D at 563-864-7112 or email Driftless Area Scenic Byway Coordinator Jared Nielsen at jared@northeastiowarcd.org, or the Allamakee County Conservation Board at 563-538-0400.
 

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