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"Maestro", oil on canvas

“Maestro”, 8×16, oil on canvas

What is “spirit of place”?

The ancient Romans believed each location had a genius loci or spirit of place. It was often depicted as a guardian animal or a protective deity. Today, spirit of place refers to a location’s unique character. It is as much the invisible weave of culture: stories, art, memories, beliefs, and histories as it is the distinctive architecture or geography. I believe a genuine sense of place comes from discovering the greater spirit of place.

Iowa’s native people survived by their intimate relationship with the: climate, soil, water sources, plants and animals. Iowa’s early settlers and turn-of-the-century citizens were closely familiar with nature, seasons and their food sources (e.g. fields, livestock and markets.) Today, more than any other time in human history, our activities are indoors and our interactions are with machines.

About the Exhibit

The exhibit features paintings of wildlife (primarily bison & elk) and turn-of-the-century rural scenes which represent Iowa’s spirit of place. The goal of this exhibit is to initiate the inner dialogue, inspired by the spirit of place, that leads to a genuine individual sense of place.

The exhibit will be displayed at the Refuge from June 6–30 and is free to the public during the Refuge’s regular business operating hours. The Refuge’s visitor center and art gallery are open seven days a week and is handicap accessible.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

I feel Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is a cultural asset. The Refuge isn’t just protecting, restoring and reconstructing the Iowa’s natural flora and fauna – they’re protecting, restoring and reconstructing Iowa’s unique spirit of place. This is why I exclusively referenced the wildlife at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge to create the wildlife paintings in this exhibit, and why a percentage of proceeds from artwork sold during this exhibit goes directly to the Refuge.

I hope you’ll join me as an advocate for the Refuge to help protect, restore and reconstruct Iowa’s unique spirit of place for future generations to discover.

Thank you for your support.

NOTE: A special RSVP opening night preview will be held on Friday, June 5 and corresponds with Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge’s annual Concert on the Prairie (Music, Art, Nature). This event features: preview of my art exhibit Spirit of Place, outdoor concert featuring Big Blue Sky band, wine tasting hosted by Wines of Iowa, food provided by Magg Family Catering and a guided twilight walk on the Refuge’s Overlook Trail. This event is $50 per person and seating is limited. Registration closes Jun 1, 2015. For more information on the concert/special opening preview and to purchase tickets go to: www.tallgrass.org