Gail Bolson-Magnuson '84

Decorah, Iowa

Gail Bolson-Magnuson owns, manages, and shapes a distinctive shop in downtown Decorah that is a pulsing example of an aesthetic gathering place. Established in 1992, Agora Arts is a unique combination of retail store and thriving art gallery.

Gail, born and bred in Decorah, is an example of a small town woman with a worldwide vision. Local and regional artists have found a supportive and collaborative partner in Gail, even as she continues to find artists from around the globe to introduce to Northeast Iowa. Her discerning eye as well as business acumen assures visitors and customers to Agora Arts that they are looking, examining, and purchasing pieces that are finely crafted by inventive artists and craft’s persons. Gail’s discriminating taste garnered for Agora Arts national recognition five different years as a Niche Top 100 Galleries of American Craft. 

Gail’s energy, creative flair, and community pride are also on display in numerous other ways including: past president of Decorah Regional Arts Council; founding committee member of the popular Northeast Iowa Studio Arts Tour; and co-founder of Fairy Chair-ity, an annual benefit for People for Animal Welfare.

Bottom line, Gail enthusiastically serves her community in highly visible ways, merging her merchant sensibility with her curator’s eye for the arts.

In so doing, she has added depth and vigor to the cultural and business climate of the Decorah area.