OSKALOOSA — Oskaloosa got a chance to show his creative side at an Eggs and Issues event on Saturday that featured a panel from the Iowa Great Places: Arts and Culture Roundtable.
Divided into two parts, the committee is made up of Mahaska President Fine Arts and Cultural Events Brant Pullman, Oskaloosa Center for the Arts Director Sarah Kargol, William Penn University Resident Director Max Leonida, and Mahaska County Historical Society Director and Curator Margaret Spiegel. and Director of the Oskaloosa Public Library Marion Gauguin and Executive Director of the George Daily Community Hall Andy McGuire and Pam Blomgren of the Oskaloosa Writing Club and Kathy Gerin-Christie of Oskaloosa Ink Staines.
The event focused on showcasing all the opportunities to interact with the arts and culture in Oskaloosa.
“When I was looking at Oskaloosa as a place to go, it was a sign to me that this is a creative place, when there is abstract art that makes you think in the middle of the field,” Pullman said. “We have murals that we’ve been adding, and are always looking to add more, both murals that tell about our past, and murals that celebrate art. It’s just a sign to others that this is a creative place.”
One of the entry points into Oskaloosa’s art scene is the city’s Art Center, which offers classes for children and adults.
“It’s been the center of art in Oskaloosa since 2014 or 2015,” Kargol said. “We offer homeschool programs, we have public classes… Our programs are constantly evolving and changing, so stay with us.”
The committee discussed not only artistic opportunities in the local community, but also ways to dig into the history and culture of the Mahaska Province.
“[The Mahaska County Historical Society] “He preserved the history and heritage of Mahaska Province,” Spiegel said. We do this through public software. We do this through museum exhibits. We preserve historic buildings. We have 15 historical buildings on our site, and we keep the genealogy available for everyone to use… We’ve really pushed ourselves to the next level in the last few years of growth and renewal. “
Spiegel said the historical society owns more than 15,000 historical artifacts that tell the story of Mahaska County.
“We’re excited to constantly get new donations, so those [artifacts] Alternating on and off so people can see what these stories have to tell, because we have a very rich legacy here in the region,” Spiegel said.
Her fellow committee members agreed.
“You need to get out to the Nelson Pioneer Ranch,” McGuire said. “The things they’re building, especially in the last six years, are absolutely amazing.”
McGuire also spoke to the audience about the renovation project at the Vennard Amphitheater, an outdoor venue located on the former Vennard College campus in University Park. The renovation project began just after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, when local artists were looking for a way to continue engaging in the arts despite social distancing. An outdoor stage provided the perfect opportunity. Since then, the project has included giving the stage power, internet access, and security cameras.
Last August, the amphitheater was used to host Oska Lucid’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”
For more information about the Oskaloosa Center for the Arts, visit their website at faceofmahaska.com. More information about the Mahaska County Historical Society or the Nelson Pioneer Farm can be found at nelsonpioneer.org or by calling 641-672-2989.
The next Eggs & Cases event will be held at 8:30 AM on Smoky Row on February 25th. The committee will include Senator Ken Rosenbaum of Iowa House’s 19th District and Representatives Barb Kniff-McCulla and Helena Hayes of Iowa House’s 37th and 88th Districts.