"We Protest: Iowa Speaks Out"

Group Show by Iowa Artists
Preus Library
October 27 - December 13, 2007

This is a show of 27 powerful pieces by artists from the Cedar Valley who are concerned about the situation in Iraq. There are works in painting, drawing, photography, paper, mixed media, video, sculpture, and collage.

In Spring 2006, the Hearst Center for the Arts, in Cedar Falls, Iowa announced the exhibition “First Fifty 2006: Works by Cedar Valley Artists”. The first 50 artists to arrive at the center with their work by 8 am on Thursday, May 11, 2006, would be included in the show.

Some of us saw this as an opportunity to speak out about the war in Iraq. We asked a number of area artists to consider creating such a work and to arrive early on the 11th to be among the first 50 in line. The show opening on Saturday, May 20, 2006 was very well attended.

Since this event we have felt compelled to continue our protest by offering these works for exhibition in the hopes of having our voices heard. To date, in addition to the Hearst Center for the Arts, the work has been shown at Altered Esthetics in Minneapolis, the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, Iowa, and most recently at United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico.

"We Protest contains images that some may find offensive or in contrast to their personal political persuasions. However, freedom of expression and the freedom to dissent are cherished cornerstones of American democracy, even when they challenge elected officials and their policies. During the current political season, there is no issue more important that the War in Iraq. While we encourage debate and search for differences of opinion among candidates, pundits, and ordinary citizens, we should not expect artists to remain silent. Indeed, many artists regard it as their civic duty to speak out.

Not all art is pretty or neutral. Much of it grapples with the most fundamental issues of life – in this case, what does it mean to live in a democracy with unprecedented political and military power? What better place to raise our common concerns than at a liberal arts college whose namesake, Martin Luther, was a powerful voice of dissent during his own time? And what better forum than a free and open library, where the exploration of diverse ideas is facilitated and encouraged in the pursuit of knowledge? Make no mistake regarding the patriotism of these artists. They are citizens who care deeply about America, and although they may oppose the war and policies related to it, be assured that they support our troops and have no sympathy for those who would harm America or threaten the American way of life. The current exercise of freedom is their proof."

-David Kamm, Gallery Coordinator

2007-2008 Iowan Artists

Group Show by Iowa Artists October 27 - December 13, 2007 Preus Library