AMES, Iowa — A traveling exhibition celebrating the geological history and landscape of Ledges State Park is on display March 17-April 28 at the Boone History Center, 602 Story St., Boone.

“Common Channel: Responses to Ledges State Park” features three-dozen artworks by Iowa State University College of Design faculty and graduate students with a common interest in the Ledges and in nature art, said the show’s curator, Nancy Thompson, an ISU lecturer in art and visual culture.

The Boone History Center’s hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. A public reception will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, at the history center. Several of the artists, together with local historians and naturalists, will share their reflections on the park and the inspiration they find there in “Conversations About the Ledges” from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 20.

“Ledges State Park is unique among the state parks of Iowa. Water from glacial melt more than 13,000 years ago and the continuing erosion caused by Pease Creek, a Des Moines River tributary that flows through the park, have exposed the incredible sandstone cliffs that were created when the entire Midwest was covered in a vast ocean 300 million years ago,” said Thompson, who grew up on a farm near Woodward and visited the park frequently with her family.

“As a child, I spent many hours stomping the creek and hiking the trails, and I have enjoyed the park just as much as an adult. When the opportunity for an art exhibition presented itself, I discovered a shared appreciation for the park among colleagues and students,” she said.

“We hope our work will not only highlight the Ledges, but motivate Iowans to take a serious interest in all of our state parks so that future generations will be able to realize the common bond we share with the natural world.”

Twelve artists exhibited their work in the inaugural installation in Clear Lake last fall. They are joined by two additional artists for the Boone exhibition. The show includes a variety of media: black-and-white, color and digital photography; drawings and paintings in graphite, encaustic, watercolor, oil and pastel; and examples of mixed media, combining painting with found objects and ceramics with mechanical devices, for example.

Thompson is consulting with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources about incorporating the exhibition into the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks in 2020; she is also coordinating other venues throughout Iowa. Organizations interested in hosting the show may contact her, (515) 294-3054, nthompso@iastate.edu.

“I’m excited to share this work highlighting the beauty of Ledges State Park and to reach a broader audience beyond the university,” Thompson said. “I hope it resonates with people who know the park and love it, and inspires others to visit their state parks.”

Participating artists

Christine Carr, assistant professor, art and visual culture
Rachel Deutmeyer, graduate student, integrated visual arts, Dubuque
Nathan Edwards, lecturer, art and visual culture
Carol Faber, associate professor, graphic design
Amy Harris, senior lecturer, art and visual culture
Robert Jinkins, graduate student, integrated visual arts, Rewey, Wisconsin
Ingrid Lilligren, professor and chair, art and visual culture
Kim Moss, assistant professor, art and visual culture
Deborah Pappenheimer, senior lecturer, art and visual culture
Anna Segner, graduate student, integrated visual arts, Owatonna, Minnesota
Celinda Stamy, lecturer, art and visual culture
Paula Streeter, lecturer, art and visual culture
Nancy Thompson, lecturer, art and visual culture
Barbara Walton, associate professor, art and visual culture


Nancy Thompson, Art and Visual Culture, (515) 294-3054, nthompso@iastate.edu
Mara MacKay, Boone History Center, (515) 432-1907, director@boonehistorymuseums.org
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu