Dan Perry Recent Works

On display May 30 – July 1

Dan Perry is a sculpture artist based out of the Cedar Falls area. He leads the Public Space Incubator at the University of Northern Iowa and instructs sculpture students as they begin their art careers.

The imagery in my work is best described as a fusion of cultural imagery and fabricated realities constructed in the guise of toys, props, architecture, and machines. My sculptures are composed in ways to suggest a narrative to which the viewer becomes a witness – part of a scene; a moment suspended in time. I use color to accentuate form and push shifts in scale and perspective to challenge viewers to question their physical relationship to the world around them.

Dan Perry Sculpture Art Artist Statement

Sponsored by the Hanson Family Foundation and Tom & Jan Lovell

Colors Of Inclusion

An LGBTQ+ Collective Show

On display May 16- June 23

This show was open to all artists & hobbyists in all mediums that identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Cerro Gordo and the surrounding counties. Artists were encouraged to submit work either about their life, struggles, or support as members of the LGBTQ+ community or artwork that doesn’t inherently pertain to their affiliation in the community. This gives all members of LGBTQ+ community a chance to showcase their work just like we host other themed exhibitions throughout the year for a variety of mediums and groups of artists. Allies were also encouraged to show their LGBTQ+ supportive works this year to show that there is acceptance in the area.

Ally (verb) – to unite or form a connection or relation Promoting and encouraging allyship is important for everyone and helps to make the world a more inclusive and affirming place. The impact of LGBTQ+ specific allyship also extends beyond benefiting queer identities by decreasing the likelihood of implicit and explicit bias, and removing barriers to true inclusion. We encourage you to activate your allyship and be an active accomplice in supporting marginalized communities. Choosing to be an ally is a continual, intentional commitment to support all of those facing oppression or disadvantage regardless of identity. Discrimination and oppression don’t simply disappear when allies back down or remain silent.

The show is full of color, new perspectives, and emotion. Please stop in to see the works made by your peers, neighbors, and friends represented in the show. Happy Pride Month!

Learn More About LGBTQ+ Identities LGBTQ+ Resources

View the 2022 LGBTQ+ Collective Show

One Second In Florence

by Craig Kienast

On display March 21 – April 22, 2023

Craig Kienast, Clear Lake, Iowa native, wanted to be a geologist like his older brother, until his brother gave him a camera, and there was no turning back. Kienast had found his love and expression of life. He later attended Hawkeye Community college in Waterloo, Iowa to learn professional photography. After living out west and many years in Florida, Kienast returned to Iowa in the early 90’s and began to build his photography business in Clear Lake.

Kienast has often said that creating art is how he breathes. Emotion can be seen and felt in all of his pieces, whether a person, a flower, an animal, a city scene, a beautiful landscape, or even his abstracts.

One Second in Florence offers a unique perspective. Kienast wanted to create a collection that would go beyond the architecture of the old world city and truly capture the feel of Firenze. When an old World War II movie, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, flooded his mind he realized that was it… it was all about time and capturing time. He set his camera to one second exposure and this exhibition was born.


Sponsored by the Hanson Family Foundation

2023 Clear Lake Earth Day Photo Show

On display April 18 – May 13

The Photo Show is back for the third year in a row! This all new collection of photos features over 30 works by 12 artists of Clear Lake and the surrounding area.

The show celebrates the beauty and diversity of nature and the world around us.

Clear Lake Earth Day has generously donated prizes to the 3 best photos voted on by a panel of community members with various arts experience. Winners are A Glimpse into Nature’s Soul by Jennifer Ostrander (2nd Place), Ice Pans by Brenda Kienast (2nd Place), and Chaff by Chad Heggen (1st Place). Take a walk over to enjoy nature and the beauty of the Lake before stopping in to see the work.

Sponsored by Clear Lake Ear

Artists Include:

Chad Heggen
Brenda Kienast
Jennifer Ostrander
Alec Euken
Tonya DeVries-Morse
Alec Heggen
Clayton Moritz
Andi Tisor
Margo Underwood
Doug Phinney
Betty Jane Moore
Vaughn Pals

Neo-Romanticism in Current Day Abstraction by Denise Presnell

On display March 21 – April 22, 2023

Artist Talk and Reception on Saturday, April 22 from 1pm – 3pm

Sometimes I just need to shut up and paint.

Denise Presnell

Presnell is a painter/mixed media artist currently living and working as a full-time artist in Sheboygan, WI. They grew up in south central Nebraska and earned a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and they earned an MFA in Painting from the Pennsylvania State University. Graduate school was followed by 31 years of teaching art on the college/university level in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin.

For most of those 31 years, Presnell’s imagery centered around the natural landscape – mostly focusing on the landscape in Wisconsin. Over the past few years, their work evolved from heavily abstracted – but still recognizable landscapes into full-blown nonobjective abstraction. Presnell embraces risk-taking and the truth of the unknown.

Sponsored by the Hanson Family Foundation and Steve & Cathy Lacy

2023 North Iowa Student Art Exhibition

The arts are important for all ages. This show features multiple school districts and gives a voice to over 250 artists. Support our students and their endeavors by visiting the show and encouraging the young artists in your life.

School districts in Cerro Gordo and the surrounding counties were invited to bring student artwork in to the Clear Lake Arts Center for our annual North Iowa Student Art Exhibition. The show is meant to inspire students and the community to appreciate art and the creation of art. This can be as something fun that’s done to express yourself, or this can be a potential career. Stop in to see works from Clear Lake, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Hampton-Dumont, and West Hancock.

Open now through March 18th with a reception to celebrate the students and teachers on March 4th from 11am – 2pm.

Sponsored by the Hanson Family Foundation

Piece by Piece

by Michael Hassig

On Display December 6 – February 3

Artist Reception & Informal Talk December 16 from 5 – 7pm

About the Exhibition

Hassig employs a collage technique that uses pieces of paper to develop a flat 2- dimensional surface. In this process he uses pictures from discarded color plate books. These are cut or torn into various shapes deconstructing the original image. These pieces function as the pictorial elements of shape, color, texture and patterns of light and dark. Hassig’s collages are created using good quality paper, scissors, an X-acto knife, and glue sticks.

His work is abstract in imagery. The design itself is the subject, and he does not start with a preconceived image in mind but lets the random pieces by chance begin the construction. The places he has traveled to, books he reads, music he listens to, and the teachings he has absorbed over the years all accompany Hassig on his adventures with paper.

All collages are original, no copies or reproductions.

About the Artist

Hassig studied printmaking and paper making at Northwest Missouri State University and went to Drake University to further study printmaking.

Michael Hassig retired around 7 years ago and has been dedicating time to his art since then. He’s won several regional and national awards with his collages, and is a valued consignment artist here at the Clear lake Arts Center.

Contemporary Fiber Art

by Surface Design Association Members

Open November 1 – December 2

Artist Talk & Reception on November 5 from 2 – 4pm

View the video to learn more about the show

Artists include:

Abigail Livingood

Catherine Reinhart

Deborah Zeitler

Jan Friedman

Jenna Bonistalli

Teresa Paschke

Astrid Hilger Bennett

Olivia Valentine

Ange Altenhofen

Jocelyn Chateauvert 

Joan Webster-Vore

Lindi Roe

Tibi Chelcea

Goodnight, Shut Up

by Sophia and Abbi Ruppert

On Display October 4th – 28th

Sophia Ruppet's Artwork
Sophia Ruppet’s work Nokomis Fragments

About the Art

Sophia and Abbi Ruppert are sisters and artists who create works about their upbringing in rural Midwestern poverty amid generational mental illness. Having shared a bedroom for eighteen years, they are bonded by shared family trauma. Sophia and Abbi share an interest in using worn and discarded found objects that are reminiscent of their upbringing. When shown together, their work is uniquely narrative of two closely adjacent lives.

Sophia’s work turns to found object manipulation and installation to investigate the mental and physical residue of her personal history. Hoping to create beauty in spite of trauma, her goal is to calm dissonant memories, reclaim charming moments, and share the resulting narrative. Abbi ​sees a correlation between her fascination with old domestic items and generational trauma. She has a particular interest in old light fixtures for their associations to family life and relationships.

In childhood, Sophia and Abbi shared a bunk bed, which ​felt like a refuge from their chaotic house and family quarrels. Nestled in their beds, they would talk for hours before sleeping. Eventually, they began to tell each other “Goodnight, Shut Up,” as an agreement to stop talking and a lovingly sarcastic farewell before slumber. It has been over a decade since they shared that bunk bed, but they still return to that phrase now and again. In a way, it has become a reference to their shared experience and a thankful reminder that they don’t have to process their trauma alone.

photo of the artists in a welding shop
Abbi (left) and Sophia (right) Ruppet

About the Artists

Sisters Sophia and Abbi Ruppert grew up together in rural Illinois among a family of six. They spent their childhoods exploring an abandoned rock quarry where they climbed cottonwood trees, picked mulberries, and got bit by mosquitos. Both Sophia and Abbi moved away from their hometown to study sculpture, but their work is still influenced by their childhood experiences.

Sophia earned an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a BFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums including Seattle, New York, and London. In 2020, Sophia received the Mayor’s Art Award from the Kimmel Foundation for the arts in Lincoln, Nebraska and the Gilbert Bayes Award from the Royal Society of Sculptors in London. Her international publications include “The Boomer Gallery” (UK), “Bluebee” Volume 6 (UK), and “Contrastes de Forma” (Brazil). Her recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at Norfolk Arts Center in Nebraska and the Fiberart International 2022 exhibition in Pittsburgh. Sophia now lives in Troy, Illinois and recently earned her private pilot certificate and is working toward advanced aircraft endorsements.

Abbi earned her BFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts at West Virginia University, where she also teaches 3D foundations courses. Abbi received the 2020 Outstanding Student Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center, which included a feature in Sculpture Magazine. In 2021, Abbi displayed a public sculpture, titled Leave the trauma to me, at Clear Lake Arts Center’s own Sculpture Garden. Another large-scale sculpture by Abbi titled Revival, won both Second Place and the People’s Choice award in the 2021-22 Art in Public Places sculpture exhibition in Knoxville, TN, and is now on display at Scovill Sculpture Park in Decatur, IL. Abbi has also recently exhibited at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, the Mitchel Museum at Cedarhurst in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and created an immersive installation for Rooms to Let: CLE, in Slavic Village, Cleveland. When Abbi is not driving cross country to install work, teaching classes, or making more art, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her senior cat at home.

Artist Talk & Sneak Preview on October 3 at 6pm

Plein Air Show

On display August 23 – September 30, 2022

This collection of works was created in Central Gardens and outdoors by Midwest artists. Most of the art was created just recently on August 20, 2022 during our Artist Paint Out in the Central Gardens of North Iowa.

What is Plein Air?

“En plein air” is French for “in open air” and refers to the act of painting or creating art outside with the artwork’s subject in plain view of the artist. With the invention of more portable art-making materials, plein air painting grew in popularity and is fairly accessible for professionals and novices alike.

Nearly any medium can be used to create art outside with enough dedication, however there are more popular mediums. Pastels, Oil Pastels, Pencil, Watercolor, Acrylic, and Gouache are common due to their ability to dry quickly and have fewer chemicals to transport and materials to clean. Some artists will still paint with oils or other mediums as well.

Exhibiting Artists

Alexis Beucler

Tiffany Bucknell

Tom Christopher

Erin Fortin

Carol Franta

Jennifer Franta

Danna Fruetel

Audrey Olmstead

Mariah Piippo

Abraham Quintus

Sandra Quintus

This exhibition was made possible by the Hanson Family and Central Gardens of North Iowa