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Guttenberg's Fish Pole Art Project Along the Mississippi
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Guttenberg's Fish Pole Art Project Along the Mississippi

Guttenberg has been named one of two communities along the River Bluff Scenic Byway to receive funding for a public art project as part of a larger movement across Iowa’s byway corridors. Umbrella Arts, the local arts council, and Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce have worked together to get city approval for the installation of a series of sculptures on light poles along the eastern side of River Park Drive in the historic downtown.

Northeast Iowa RC&D received an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to distribute to byway coordinators throughout the state to facilitate the project. The Byways of Iowa Foundation has promised $5,000 to Guttenberg and the other 14 chosen communities, pending a dollar-for-dollar match by each community.

The board voted on Guttenberg and Elkader along the River Bluff Scenic Byway,” said Jared Nielsen, RC&D Byway Coordinator. “You have a thriving arts community, and this would be a great project for you to go forward with.” Many were invited to hear Nielsen’s presentation of the project on Thursday, October 13th.

Our ideal art piece would showcase each community’s sense of place, character, identity, and personality,” said Nielsen. “I think the idea you have selected fits perfectly.” The Guttenberg city council approved a resolution for approval of the project and its light pole usage at its December 2015 meeting, but it has taken the time to raise the funds promised by the Byways of Iowa Foundation. In the meantime, the idea of 'fish poles,' placing individual fish sculptures on light poles in the historic downtown, was formulated and was affirmed at the October 13th meeting.

Guttenberg will be expected to raise $5,000 through grant funds or donations to match the Byways contribution, providing at least $10,000 for the fabrication, installation, site amenities, and artist fees associated with the sculpture project. At the mid-October meeting, Umbrella Arts members graciously agreed to match the first $2,500 raised. Nielsen will apply for grants to help with the match, and donations can be made to the project through Umbrella Arts by sending checks to P.O. Box 610, Guttenberg, Iowa, 52052, noting the Fish Pole Project in the memo line.

The project timeline culminates with the installation of artworks in the summer and fall of 2017, depending on how quickly funds can be raised. Finished artworks are expected to last about a decade.


Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Pete Gailey

  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    What a terrific project! Thanks for posting!

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