The MacNider Art Museum!

Mason City Travel Blog

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The MacNider Art Museum was pure joy!!!

I was enamored with this little museum! Its the kind of place that I would dream of working in. The collection was small in quantity but full of quality!

It was like the first day in several that I actually had any energy to do something other than lay dying in a hotel room with the flu! plus the sun had kindly graced Iowa with its presence. I knew that I had to drive up to Fargo, ND but I wanted to badly to check out the local art scene before jumping into my car for the 6 hour drive! I always tell people that Iowa is one of the most supporting states when it comes to art and never have I been proven wrong! I think this gem of a museum proves how Iowans view and understand the importance of art within the community!

The museum was set in a lovely park like setting.
Katie Kiley, Chuck Close, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol
Built closely to a local river (not sure the name of it.) I believe it use to be a convent and was purchased and donated by the Macnider Family of a well known local WWI hero.. I read a brief description of the family at the museum, but sadly forgot it to quickly :(..

The house was beautiful!! each room was dedicated to its own theme. The print room was directly across from the entrance so I began my self guided tour there. There were some wonderful examples of Printmaking existing in this tiny little room! Many regional artists that I was not very familiar with along with artists that I remember studying way back in college. Chuck close, alexander calder, andy warhol (tomato soup can) and rockwell kent to name a few.

From there I wandered into the gallery exhibiting shadow puppet theatre by Elsa Magnus Oulman.
She was born in Germany and had lived in Italy, Cuba and the States. She is not a well known artist. It was difficult to find anything about here except links to this museum. Sad how many talented artisans go unknown.

The next gallery held a temporary exhibit of works of art by Joan Webster-Vore who also happens to be the granddaughter of the Puppet artist Elsa Magnus Oulman! Joan's work was organic, zenful, and illuminating. She was a plein aire artist. She painted light reflections on local bodies of water, specifically Clear Lake, and create these airy hanging sculptures from paper and found natural objects. Her work embodied a constant flow at a slow organic pace.

I then visited two galleries depicting American modernism. One gallery was focused more on regional artists the other had some very big names as well as more regional artists.
Joan Webster-Vore - Soul Dance
I was also introduced to the works of a stained glass artists Bob White! who is also difficult to find information about on the web!! he was a local Iowan who traveled to Europe and fell in love with the stain glass windows of french cathedrals. He graduated with his masters from Guadalajara University and was credited for inventing new glass working techniques. Most of his work can still be seen in many Churches across the country.

now saving the best for last! Bil Baird!! another puppeteer well known back in the fifties! This museum has the largest Baird puppet collection in the world and apparently people from all over the world have traveled here to see this very impressive collection!! I couldn't get a very good picture of the puppet room. :(

I must have spent close to 3 hours slowly wandering the galleries. Loved every minute of it and can't wait to travel through again for another visit!
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Katie Kiley, Chuck Close, Alexande…
Katie Kiley, Chuck Close, Alexand…
Joan Webster-Vore - Soul Dance
Joan Webster-Vore - Soul Dance
Dale Chiluly, and Robert Longo
Dale Chiluly, and Robert Longo
Joan Webster-Vore - Soul Dance
Joan Webster-Vore - Soul Dance
Paul R. Smith, Arthur Dove (first …
Paul R. Smith, Arthur Dove (first…
Bench
Bench
Roof patterns
Roof patterns
Front Entrance
Front Entrance
Mason City Sights & Attractions review
Very Exciting Museum to explore!!!
This is possibly my new favorite art museum!! It is small in size but the work displayed inside is TOP quality!! I was impressed with the place th… read entire review
Mason City
photo by: esterrene