Bluffs Arts Council is Recipient of
Long-Hidden Grant Wood Art Pieces
Let us tell you a TRUE story about Council Bluffs that happened long ago. . .
In 1926 Eugene Eppley (Eppley Airfield) wanted Corn Room Murals in all three of his Iowa hotels: Hotel Montrose in Cedar Rapids, the Hotel Martin in Sioux City, and the Hotel Chieftain in Council Bluffs. Eppley commissioned a young man named Grant Wood to paint these murals. Today Grant Wood is the only artist born in Iowa with an international reputation, largely due to his best known painting, American Gothic (1930). The purpose of the Corn Room Murals was to evoke a feeling of being amidst a cornfield while dining. The Corn Room Murals of Cedar Rapids and Sioux City were saved and are currently on display in museums in their respective cities. Council Bluffs currently has NO museum in which to display our Corn Room Murals.
How important are these Corn Room Murals? A Des Moines Register Art Critic stated that these murals are "ONE OF THE IMPORTANT ART MONUMENTS IN IOWA".
In 1970 the Chieftain Hotel was to be converted into apartments. The new owners were told that the murals were unsalvageable and would be destroyed in the renovation. The owners decided to let anyone come and take down what they could of the murals as long as they were not sold for profit and that the pieces would be restored. Fortunately, individuals and organizations responded. The Bluffs Arts Council has done research and thinks there are only 15 pieces of the Corn Room Mural that were saved.
In 2008 the Bluffs Arts Council began a campaign to raise funds to obtain all of the pieces of Grant Wood's Corn Room Murals painted in Council Bluffs and restore them to their original luster for our citizens to enjoy. The price tag on this expedition is approximately $120,000.
The BAC goal is to acquire and restore these pieces. It was after this campaign was started that a person (who wishes to remain anonymous) called and asked us to pick "something" up that he/she had had in the attic for almost 40 years. The "something" turned out to be a crunched up piece of canvas. When we laid the piece out, we saw that it was a portion of the Corn Room Mural from the Hotel Chieftain which measured 8-foot by 8-foot. Our donor told us that bank employees were encouraged by their company president in 1970 to "get down to the Chieftain and save what you can".
WE HOPE THAT OUR CAMPAIGN WILL BRING OUT OTHER PIECES THAT ARE CURRENTLY UNKNOWN.
Please aid the Bluffs Arts Council in its campaign. If you are currently a member we ask that you consider upgrading your membership level for 2010. If you have not renewed your membership, please do so today. You can be a part of Council Bluffs history!!!
You may also make a separate pledge that can extend over three years specifically designated to the Grant Wood Restoration Committee.
Community involvement with the Bluffs Arts Council fuels the cultural and arts efforts that are enriching the lives of thousands of people in our region. This past year,Bluffs Arts Council programs such as our Photo Contest, Music and Movies in the Park, Artists in the Schools, Festival of Trees, and Youth Art Month reached 30,000 plus participants including 6,000 children. You should feel proud knowing that together we can truly make a difference in our community.
Please aid the Bluffs Arts Council in our efforts. We are in desperate need of your membership dollars and/or donations as they will go towards our goals to enrich the lives of the citizens within our region. We thank you in advance for your past, continued, and future support.
Please copy and fill out the pledge card. Your donation will help with the acquisition and restoration of the Grant Wood Cheiftain Hotel Corn Room Mural.
Send in your pledge to the Bluffs Arts Council, City Hall, 209 Pearl, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503.
PLEDGE CARD FOR CORN ROOM MURAL RESTORATION FUND
Donate to the Corn Room Mural Restoration Fund