Cresco Fine Arts Show is success

—Fifty-seventh annual event showcases Midwest artists


CRESCO - Early morning thunderstorms did not dampen the enthusiasm for the Cresco Fine Arts Show, held in Beadle Park Sunday, Aug. 5.
The 57th annual event, organized by the Cresco Area Fine Arts Council, features numerous Midwest artist vendors and draws a crowd of art enthusiasts each year.
Art Show ribbon winners
This year, Lauren Bonney of Decorah, an illustrator and designer, judged the art show.
“Thank you everyone for being here today. It has been my pleasure to tour all of these artists’ booths and get to see the amazing artwork that’s here. 
She continued, “I’d like to start with our Honorable Mention. This award will go to Terri Webb of Cresco. I thought that these wooden pieces that you featured were absolutely lovely and really highlighted how nature is beautiful.”
“Third place goes to Paul Corbin of Decorah. His ceramic pieces are both useful and beautiful.
“In second place, the watercolors of David Prehm (of New Hampton). These are beautiful illustrations and paintings that capture the landscape.
“Our first prize goes to Dean Schwarz and family (of Decorah). Their pottery pieces are always outstanding.
“Best of Show goes to Anne Morris (of Rock Island, Illinois). The mixed media pieces were a delight and I can see how hard you worked to create them, so thank you for being here today,” Bonney said.
Each of the ribbon winners shared their reactions with the Cresco Times Plain Dealer:
Terri Webb, Honorable Mention: “This is my first art show. I’ve been making wooden bowls for a couple of years. We have a lot of residual wood at the saw mill (Webb’s Prairie Gold  Sawmill of Cresco). We were doing saw mill work for a retired dairy farmer, Louie Christian in Elgin, and he had started making the bowls.”
Inspired, Webb soon began creating her own wooden bowls.
“We used to milk goats, but now the goats are gone, and we have space for a shop and something to do during the winter.”
Webb said, “I have a lot of friends on Facebook who wanted to see my work, so I saw a lot of people I know today. I think we’ll be back next year.”
Paul Corbin, Third Place: “This is quite an honor. I’ve been a potter for about 45 years now. I do the Northeast Artists’ Studio Tour in Decorah, but I have done a lot of shows over the years, but I wanted to come to Cresco, since this show is so close to home. I keep on making pottery; I don’t know how to quit,” he said.
David Prehm, Second Place: “I am very honored to get a ribbon. I am always honored to get an award.”
Prehm said he is pleased the weather cooperated.
“I am glad it didn’t rain (during the art show).”
He continued, “I appreciate the work the people in Cresco do to prepare for the show. I have been doing these shows for about 40 years. I went to University of Northern Iowa and Mankato State to study art. A lot of my influences are the old masters I studied, but I also have a Midwest influence by landscapes.”
Dean Schwarz and Family, First Place:
Schwarz’ grandchildren were on hand to speak on behalf of the family following the ribbon ceremony.
“We are so honored to be chosen for first place,” said William Schwarz. “The children and grandchildren (of Dean Schwarz) are really happy we get to take part.”
“We are learning pottery from our grandfather. It’s an honor to continue a tradition through the generations of our family,” said Maggie Schwarz.
Sophie Schwarz said, “I think it’s good to be a part of an event like this.”
Anne Morris, Best of Show: “All of my life I wanted to be an artist. I went to Augustana College as an art major. I lived on the East Coast and came back to the Midwest, which I think is the best place for an art show. I was drawn to the Cresco show because it is such a long-running show.”
She said she particularly enjoyed the barbershop quartet, The Gunder Boys.
“I plan on coming back next year,” she noted.
Attendees’ comments
Fine Art Show attendees also enjoyed the day.
Judy Jacobson of Cresco said, “I have been coming to the art show since 1972. I am thrilled with the variety of artwork and the quality of the art on display.”
Maury Kramer and his wife, Martha, of Cresco said they have enjoyed coming to the art show every year since they returned to Cresco in 2002.
“It’s displayed well and easy to see the artists’ work, and a good place to make friends,” Maury stated. 
“I’m very interested in the people who come to the show; I think they are wonderful,” added Martha.
Mary Lou Murray and Lorraine Freidhof of Cresco said they came to the show to see the photography of Molly Dillon (of Fort Madison, Iowa).
“She took some pictures of the local Zion church,” said Murray.
“I always like to see new vendors,” said Freidhof.
Vendors’ impressions
Dean Schwarz of Decorah, who showcased his pottery at the Cresco Fine Arts Show, said he appreciates coming to the event year after year.
“I remember when the show used to be held at the county court house lawn,” he said. 
Schwarz adds that he enjoys the art show’s present location at Beadle Park because he can gaze upon the sculpture of Dr. Norman Borlaug, Cresco native and a Nobel Peace Prize winner known as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution.’
“I think that is a tremendous piece of sculpture. I’ve done art shows in downtown New York City at Disney World, but the (Borlaug statue) is one of the best pieces of sculpture I’ve ever seen.”
While Schwarz recounts a recent anecdote of meeting a famous actress at an art show in New York (he didn’t know who she was, so she talked with him for two days at the show, happy to have some anonymity), he said he always finds his way to the Cresco Fine Arts Show.
“It’s wonderful to have so many family members here; my grandson is making pots now,” he said. “I feel at home here.”
Leonard Zeller of LZ’s Wood Crafts in Cresco creates via scroll saw. He has carved wooden plaques for numerous churches in Cresco as well as donating a piece to the Cresco Public Library Annual Silent Auction.
“Years ago in country school, I made something for my mother. My dad bought me a jigsaw, and then I purchased a band saw. I learned to carve by experience.”
Zeller said it takes him three-four days to create some of his pieces and up to a week or longer for others.
“The first piece I made was a wedding plaque for my wife and me,” he said.
Ceramic artist Rebecca Pittelko of Rochester, Minn. (The Potter’s Nod) said this is her first year as a vendor at the Cresco Fine Arts Show.
“We have three daughters who grew up and moved away, so we needed something to do,” she said. “I had a friend who did pottery and encouraged me to take a class, so I did and fell in love with it,” she said.
She said she heard about the Cresco Fine Arts Show through her husband Steve’s uncle and aunt, Mick and Jolene Gamez of Cresco. Lucy Borseth, her husband’s great-aunt, also lives in Cresco.
Fine Arts Council
Cresco Area Fine Arts Council Chair Loraine Hubka said that while the weather intially posed a threat to the day’s activities, the rain stopped shortly after setup began.
“It was a challenge setting up at 6 a.m. with the rain, thunder and lightning,” Hubka said. “Luckily, the sun came out and we are glad for a nice day.”
Hubka said she has been on the Fine Arts Council since 2001.
“I really like the art. I can’t do it, so I want to help promote it,” she said. “I marvel at the talent.”
Hubka said the Cresco Area Fine Arts Council currently features 10 members, but new members are welcome.
“The Council meets the third Monday of each month from January to August at 5 p.m. at the Chamber office, and we help organize and promote the Cresco Fine Arts Show every year,” she said, adding those who are interested in joining the Fine Arts Council should contact her.
The Cresco Fine Arts Council has hosted the event, one of the longest-running outdoor art shows in Iowa, since it was established in 1961.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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