National call

Three artists selected in the national call for public art at the Muscatine roundabout

After consulting the services of the city of Muscatine to ensure that each artist was capable of carrying out a large-scale project, the Muscatine Public Art Advisory Commission recommended three artists to create public art in Mulberry and Second Street Roundabout – Daniel Miller of Iowa City; Nathan Pierce from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Greg Mueller from Lutsen Mountain, Minn.

Their concepts and additional information will be available online and in select locations in person from Wednesday, December 1 to January 10, 2022. The citizens of Muscatine will have the opportunity to review and vote on the three public art concepts being considered for the two year old roundabout roundabout.

If all goes according to plan, the winning public art installation (which will cost between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000) will be in place by summer 2022, said Melanie Alexander, municipal staff liaison with of the Consultative Commission on Public Art and Director of the Muscatine Art Center.

“We’re going to see what the public wants; this is our first process for us, ”she said on Tuesday. “When we selected the artists to submit concepts, we looked to see if they had the capacity, past experience to indicate that they could successfully implement any project they developed. . The group is comfortable with all three.

“We were surprised at the number of people who applied from all over, including six from Iowa,” Alexander said. .

In 2020, the commission announced a request for qualification for the project, and 17 artists from Iowa and the United States responded to the request for quotes.

“The advisory board carefully reviewed the documents submitted by the artists,” Alexander said in a statement on Monday. “We were looking for artists with a record of successful public art commissions and with the ability to create something unique for Muscatine.”

Applicants provided information about themselves, examples of their completed projects and a statement explaining their interest in the project. “This project is one of the first managed by the Advisory Commission on Public Art,” said Alexander. “It was essential that the artists selected had the capacity to carry out a project of this scale and complexity. “

The three artists have completed several public art projects. Mueller received his MFA in sculpture from Montana State University School of Art. He held several academic positions and exhibited throughout the Midwest. Daniel Miller is the Sculpture and Intermedia Program Leader at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa.

Daniel Miller’s concept incorporates Mark Twain and a riverboat.

He received his MFA in Time Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. His works have also been featured in solo exhibitions in Illinois and Rhode Island and in group exhibitions in the United States, South Korea and China. Pierce received his BFA in sculpture from Southeast Missouri State University. His work is held in collections or installed in public places in Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Alabama, Kansas and Canada.

Artists inspired by the relationship with the river

The three chosen artists participated in an online meeting in May 2021 and worked on their proposals until the summer of 2021. A stipend of $ 750 was given to each artist, and a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine funded the allowances.

Each artist provided a detailed proposal – including inspiration for their concept, conceptual drawings, a detailed budget, the dimensions and materials of the room, and a list of other concerns such as lighting and editing.

The three artists all found their inspiration in Muscatine’s relationship with the Mississippi River. Greg Mueller and Daniel Miller both referred to Mark Twain, with Miller incorporating Twain’s bust into his play while Mueller took inspiration from Twain’s quote on sunsets in Muscatine.

Miller’s concept also incorporated a steamboat and a series of buttons as well as the current of the Mississippi River (Muscatine was known as the “Pearl Button Capital of the World”). Mueller researched the name “Muscatine” and discovered that it means “Island of Fire” in the Native American language. For Nathan Pierce, his life on the Mississippi River in Missouri made the creation of his concept, “Zenith,” particularly meaningful, the statement said.

The first opportunity to vote on concepts was at the IDEAdash events on November 16.e.

The community is invited to provide comments until January 10, 2022. The online survey is available at

In-person voting will take place at the Musser Public Library and HNI Community Center, Muscatine Art Center and Sunrise Galleries from December 1 to January 10.e. The online survey provides details about each artist and the proposed concept. Posters on in-person sites also feature this information.

“Our goal is to install a permanent structure that reflects the Muscatine community and / or its history, is unique to Muscatine, can be easily maintained, is designed to be durable and will not impede the safety of motorists or pedestrians.” , according to the poll.

City council in January will officially award the public art project, Alexander said, noting that the roundabout is considered the gateway to downtown Muscatine.