Picturing the Prairie

May 27, 2016 - September 3, 2016
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Picturing the Prairie

Tallgrass QC is a collaboration that raises awareness about prairie ecology in the Quad Cities region.

Wildflowers, grasses, birds, and insects take over the fourth floor gallery at the Figge with the opening of Picturing the Prairie: Tallgrass QC. The exhibition features six regional artists working in a variety of mediums, and explores the biodiversity and unique beauty of the endangered tallgrass prairie. 

Tallgrass prairie stretched from Texas to Canada 150 years ago, covering millions of acres of land. As settlers expanded west, the prairie was quickly replaced with rows of crops. Less than four percent of tallgrass prairie survives in isolated patches. The artists in this exhibition live in the Midwest Region, and connect to the natural world in profound ways.

Terry Evans’ photographs of prairie specimens elegantly capture carefully preserved plants and animals in the collection of the Field Museum. Artist Jin Lee offers contemplative images of the prairie’s seasonal cycle and physical transformation in finely detailed photographs. Fiber sculptures by Mary Merkel Hess are inspired by the grassy fields of Iowa. Botanical studies, exquisitely rendered by George Olson in pencil and watercolor, capture the complexity of native grasses and wildflowers. Artist Randy Richmond creates dynamic images of Nahant Marsh, a local nature preserve, using a combination of photographic processes. Radim Schrieber’s footage of fireflies flying through prairie fields, imparts the prairie’s mystical atmosphere. In concert with one another, these works of art provide an immersive visitor experience. 

Numerous species of waterfowl, songbirds, butterflies, and plants depend on the prairie habitat to survive. Waning populations of all-important pollinators, like the monarch butterfly, demonstrate that we have everything to lose if the prairie disappears. The exhibition is part of the Tallgrass QC collaboration, a joint project of WVIK, Nahant Marsh, WQPT and the Figge, to bring awareness to ecological issues in the region that will include a planting of prairie plants near the museum on Second Street, and special programs at the Figge, at Nahant Marsh, and on WVIK.

Jin Lee, Summer 6, (Prairie Project), 2003, archival pigment print, Courtesy of the Artist
George Olson, Three Silphiums, 2014, Silphium laciniatum, Silphium, terebinthinaceum and Hybrid, Watercolor and pencil on paper, Courtesy of the Artist

Companion Events

Exhibition Opening Reception
Wednesday, June 1
5:30 p.m. Opening Reception
7 p.m. Curator Talk: Tim Schiffer

Artists Talks
6 pm Thursday, July 7
Cash bar

Family Day
10 am-1 pm Saturday, July 16
Free admission all day

Pollinator Conference
Thursday, June 23 and Friday, June 24

Musical Tour: Kendra Swanson
7 pm Thursday, August 25
Cash bar

Exhibition Tours
1:30 pm Saturday, June 18
1:30 pm Sunday, June 19

Past Exhibitions

Orientation Gallery
Img 5005 1
Img 4901 2

225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



Museum | 563.326.7804

Cafe | 563.345.6647



Monday | Closed

Tuesday - Wednesday | 10am - 5pm

Thursday | 10am - 8pm

Friday - Saturday | 10am - 5pm

Sunday | 12pm - 5pm

*Closing procedures will begin 15 minutes before closing time



Monday - Sunday Closed

*The Figge Cafe is closed until further notice

*See calendar for holiday exceptions