“God Bless America,” our giant American Gothic-inspired statue is literally the biggest thing on campus. It is really, truly amazing; if you’ve not seen it, please come to Simpson for this special opportunity. The 25-foot tall, 30,000 pound sculpture is located across C Street from the Kent Campus Center and will be on display through December
Much like Iowa’s favorite son Grant Wood, the statue is quickly becoming a favorite stop on campus and in the community. And like the artist’s most famous painting, it is evoking all kinds of comments and conversations about the sculpture itself, Grant Wood, and more broadly about Iowa history. That’s exactly what the Iowa History Center wanted. Our state and regional past is important, and talking about our history keeps it alive. We hope to generate more conversations about our shared past through the following programs and events.
The seventh season of our Iowa History Center Speaker Series opened with actor Tom Milligan performing his one-man show, Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel on September 17th. As Grant Wood, he chatted with the audience as if talking to an old friend across the backyard fence, telling us about his life and how he changed the art world forever.
In November Dr. Wanda Corn, a nationally acclaimed art historian specializing in late nineteenth and early twentieth century American art and photography, explored “The Three Lives of Grant Wood's American Gothic.”
Three books in our Iowa and the Midwest Experience series are coming out and all three authors will speaking:
Doug Bauer, What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death
Jon Lauck, The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History
Lowell Soike, Necessary Courage: Iowa’s Underground Railroad in the Struggle Against Slavery
We kicked off our Iowa History Center’s Scholars Program by welcoming our first three scholars: Brandon Herring, Robert Lyons, and Madison Wirth. Among other activities, they will be involved in our Oral History Program.
The Center also presented our fourth annual award for the outstanding master’s thesis in Iowa history in October, and is again sending hundreds of Iowa elementary school children on Iowa-history-oriented field trips.
We hope you will visit the statue (and take photos of yourself in front of it), attend some of our events (see the complete Simpson Events listing), or read some of the excellent books in our series (and come hear the authors). Please let me know if you have any suggestions for us.
Director, Iowa History Center