Davenport, Iowa (May 26, 2016) – Wildflowers, grasses, birds, and insects will take over the fourth floor gallery at the Figge with the opening of Picturing the Prairie: Tallgrass QC on Saturday, May 28.
The exhibition features six artists living in the Midwest Region including photographers Terry Evans, Jin Lee, Randy Richmond and Radim Schreiber, botanical artist George Olson, and fiber sculptor Mary Merkel-Hess. Their work explores the biodiversity and unique beauty of the endangered tallgrass prairie that stretched from Texas to Canada 150 years ago, covering millions of acres of land. Today less than four percent of tallgrass prairie survives in isolated patches.
In Picturing the Prairie visitors will view photographs of prairie specimens which capture carefully preserved plants and animals, along with contemplative images of the prairie’s seasonal cycle and physical transformation. Fiber sculptures inspired by the grassy fields of Iowa and botanical studies, in pencil and watercolor, capture the complexity of native grasses and wildflowers. Footage of fireflies flying through prairie fields will also be on view. Each medium working together creates the mystical atmosphere of the prairie and an immersive experience for visitors.
The plaza in front of the museum will complement the exhibition. Uncommon Ground of the Quad Cities is transforming it into a prairie landscape for visitors to experience before entering the museum.
The exhibition is part of the Tallgrass QC collaboration, a joint project of WVIK, Nahant Marsh, WQPT, the City of Davenport, Jackson Elementary School 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.
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.
Picturing the Prairie will be on view through September 4 and is generously sponsored by Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, the John Deere Foundation and Uncommon Ground.
Exhibition Reception & Curator Talk
Wednesday, June 1
5:30 pm Refreshments
7 pm Curator Talk with Tim Schiffer
Celebrate the opening of the exhibition with 18 different community partners who will present information on how to protect and conserve our local environment. Enjoy live music by singer songwriter Kendra Swanson followed by a Curator Talk in the gallery.
1:30 pm Saturday, June 18
1:30 pm Sunday, June 19
Artist Talks: Picturing Biodiversity
6 pm Thursday, July 7
Artists from the exhibition will speak about their artworks for a fun and informative evening.
Saturday, July 16
Scheduled Activities 10 a.-1 pm
Families and fans alike will dive into The Wonderful World of Oz and Picturing the Prairie: Tallgrass QC with special activities throughout the museum.
Musical Tour: Kendra Swanson
7 pm Thursday, August 25
Singer-songwriter Kendra Swanson returns to the Figge, this time to unveil five new songs inspired by artworks in the exhibition Picturing the Prairie. Join Swanson in the exhibition gallery as she takes visitors on a musical tour of her favorite artworks and shares how they have influenced her music.
Nahant Tour and Plein Air
9 am Saturday, September 3
$40 member; $50 non-member
In celebration of the special exhibition, Picturing the Prairie, the Figge is partnering with Nahant Marsh to offer an art making afternoon. Wear your walking shoes for the guided marsh trail walk followed by open air art making. Let the lush scenery and abundant wildlife inspire and inform your creative efforts.