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Touring Iowa City's artistic haunts

BY JUSTUS FLAIR | MARCH 05, 2015 5:00 AM

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Downtown Iowa City is a smorgasbord of art venues. With so many galleries and exhibits, it can be a bit overwhelming, but tomorrow everyone can get a sample of 16 of them.

The spring Downtown Gallery Walk will take place tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. throughout downtown Iowa City. A full list of venues can be found at downtowniowacity.com.

The walk, held thrice yearly, features exhibits from various artists, many of them local. Some artists will be present to discuss their work. People are able to walk between the venues and enjoy drinks at most locations. There is also a drawing for a $50 Glassando gift certificate for anyone who receives a stamp from at least seven venues.

The event began with a simple purpose: to allow downtown art venues to come together to promote art and local artists.

“This is really a local business driven event,” said Iowa City Downtown District Executive Director Nancy Bird. “They’ve built it into such an endeavor and people travel here for the event.”

Years later and the businesses show no sign of losing steam now.

“It’s a great way to show the public new kinds of art and show off new artists,” said Terri Chait of the Chait Galleries Downtown. “It’s a great way to learn about venues and for the people coming to gain new understanding of different types of work.”

The Chait Galleries are showcasing Tom Awad’s “Remnants of Earth.” Awad is an artist, musician, and designer from Davenport.

“[Awad] paints on a board and he paints in many, many layers,” Chait said. “He covers the board again and again and then he gouges back down through it into the colors. He sometimes finishes the work with pieces of hardware. It’s really an interesting body of work. We haven’t had anything like this in the gallery before.”

Awad’s process is very physical, including burning, painting, hammering, and carving away the previous layers. He has compared his work and its levels to the passing of time.

Glassando, in its fifth year of participation, is featuring Cori Pitcher's "Monster Paintings." Pitcher will be at the walk from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Cori’s work is fun and whimsical, featuring brightly colored friendly monsters," said Glassando owner Abby Restko.

Though the gallery walk does not officially begin until tomorrow, Restko said Pitchers work has been hung for days and so far feedback has been superb, with “people saying they love the imaginative nature of the work.”

The Gallery Walk will draw Chait out of her own gallery tomorrow; she said she is looking forward to the United Action for Youth’s display.

“United Action for Youth is doing emerging artists from City High this year, so that should be very interesting,” Chait said. “Typically those type of shows are very great. Young people have some great ideas and do some very interesting work.”


ART
What: Spring Downtown Gallery Walk
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Downtown Iowa City
Admission: Free


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