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Main Street Art Walk basks in perfect weather

October 8, 2010
By MIKE DONAHEY TIMES-REPUBLICAN

Marshalltown's Main Street was alive Thursday evening with art, balloons, music people and song.

Strains of "My Wild Irish Rose" comingled with guitar nearby.

It was all part of the Main Street Art Walk '10 sponsored by Marshalltown's Arts & Cultural Alliance, the Central Iowa Art Association and the Marshalltown Central Business District, a Main Street Community.

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From Christian Vandehaar's art in front of Haven, to Missy Sharer's furniture in Lillie Mae's, to Paige Jensen's Jewelry in Apgar Photography there was plenty to see and talk about.

The event gave the approximately 20 artists an opportunity to display their wares and talk with patrons who were busily going in and out of the stores.

Potterer Steve Aitchison of Ames was at Pentz Appliance & TV, hosted by owners Pam and Kevin Jannsen. His numerous works of pottery, large and smaller were on display. Joining him in a separate part of the store were staff of Hy-Vee for beer tasting.

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T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Members of the Marshalltown’s Men’s Chorus are shown on Main Street early Thursday evening in front of the former Chalet location during the Art Walk. Shown from left are Larry Pfantz, Stacy Heil, Andy Schwandt and Scott Kratzer.

Aitchison is a veteran artist and businessman. He has been crafting pottery for 35 years. Some of his work is on display at Marshalltown's Perfect Setting and owner Pam Swarts invited him to participate in the Art Walk.

He was familiar with the concept, having done similar events in Ames.

Aitchison said he studied pottery at both Iowa State and Arizona State but learned much of his craft by "just doing the work."

He acknowledged that trying to sell pottery during the recession was challenging.

"It is always up and down," he said. "During the recession it is tough."

However, he said professional women were 95 percent of his customers. Men have been attracted to certain pieces, he said.

"Men will walk in and see some of the larger pieces and say 'that's it,' Aitchison said. "There is no fooling around."

Marshalltown's Jensen said she started making jewelry in high school.

"I've been doing just for fun and something to do as a hobby," she said. "It gives me a lot of pleasure."

Jensen has also branched out into graphic design.

"I'm on the Art Walk committee and I did the graphic design work for that," she said.

Vandehaar's colorful art featuring laboring farm workers was on display in front of the Haven restaurant.

Owner Brian Peters was also outside visiting with the artist.

Vandehaar, of Altoona, is currently studying for a master's degree in Art Education from Drake University.

He is currently student teaching at Southeast Polk.

He was attracted to art for one reason.

"It's interesting," he said. "It's one of those things. I was good at a lot of things, but this (art) had no actual answers. So that was the challenge. There was no correct answer, so, this is what kind of challenged me the most."

He feels strongly about his art.

"No one has really had the voice of the farmer, not at all," he said. "Nowadays, most of it (art) is landscapes, or pheasants or deer, but not actually the physical work of it. That is what I want to express and contribute to the cultural record."

Vandehaar knows the farming business.

"I'm actually taking a break from picking corn and soybeans right now," he said. "My dad can't pick right now, so my brothers are taking my place.

That's what happens when you have a small family farm."

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com

 
 

 

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