Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Part V: The artsy side of Clear Lake, Iowa June 8, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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ART IS, PERHAPS, in the eye of the beholder.

I loved the sweet surprise of these floral paintings brightening an alley in downtown Clear Lake.

I loved the sweet surprise of these floral paintings brightening an alley in downtown Clear Lake.

In Clear Lake, Iowa, I beheld an abundance of art. Everywhere. In the local arts center. Inside and outside shops. On historic buildings. In words, colors, designs, shapes. Sometimes obvious, sometimes not so much.

Historic buildings, like this one housing Thrifty White Drug, oftentimes are detailed in art.

Historic buildings, like this one housing Thrifty White Drug, oftentimes are detailed in art. You have to look up to see this intriguing sculpture.

Look up. Look down. Look around. Simply look and you will see it.

Creative window displays draw shoppers into businesses like Lake Lifestyle.

Creative window displays draw shoppers into businesses like Lake Lifestyle.

I appreciate a community with details that visually please me. And Clear Lake does. In so many artsy ways.

South Shore Sweet Spot was not yet open for the season when I visited Clear Lake. But I could admire the artsy architecture. No mistaking this for anything but a place to buy ice cream treats.

South Shore Sweet Spot was not yet open for the season when I visited Clear Lake. But I could admire the artsy architecture. No mistaking this for anything but a place to buy ice cream treats.

On a downtown shop window.

On a downtown shop window, inspiring words. Poetry really.

This stacked album sculpture in Three Stars Plaza next to the Surf Ballroom honors Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. All three musicians died in a 1959 plane crash near Clear Lake after performing at the Surf.

This stacked album sculpture in Three Stars Plaza next to the Surf Ballroom honors Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. All three musicians died in a 1959 plane crash near Clear Lake after performing at the Surf.

All around town you'll see posters from the annual Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom. I found this one at the AmericInn Hotel.

All around town you’ll see posters from the annual Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom. I found this one at the AmericInn Hotel.

Even collectible glassware is art, including this Carnival glass pitcher at Collectors Wonderland.

Even collectible glassware is art, including this Carnival glass pitcher at Collectors Wonderland.

Shelves and shelves of Clear Lake apparel fill shelves at Larson's Mercantile.

Shelves and shelves of artsy Clear Lake apparel fill shelves at Larson’s Mercantile.

The Clear Lake Arts Center centers the arts in this community. It's impressive.

The Clear Lake Arts Center centers the arts in this community. It’s impressive.

Iowa artists Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss collaborated with local students and adults to create this tree sculpture from cattle panels, metal banding and clay. It is located at the Clear Lake Arts Center.

Iowa artists Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss collaborated with local students and adults to create this tree sculpture from cattle panels, metal banding and clay. It is located at the Clear Lake Arts Center.

The tree sculpture (above) calls for an up close study of details.

The tree sculpture (above) calls for an up close study of details.

Inside the Clear Lake Arts Center, I delighted in these cornstalk panels suspended from the ceiling.

Inside the Clear Lake Arts Center, I delighted in cornstalk panels suspended from the ceiling.

The arts center galleries showcase an abundance and variety of outstanding art.

The arts center galleries showcase an abundance and variety of outstanding art.

There's art in signage and architecture.

There’s art in signage and architecture.

An artsy scene (in my opinion) at the Village General Store, a second-hand store along the highway.

An artsy scene (in my opinion) at the Village General Store, a second-hand store along the highway on the north side of town.

Signage always grabs my attention, including these graphically pleasing signs in a downtown window.

Signage always grabs my attention, including these graphically pleasing signs in a downtown window.

Window displays, like this one at Collectors Wonderland, are art in themselves.

Window displays, like this one at Collectors Wonderland, are art in themselves.

FYI: Check my posts from last week to read my first four photo stories from Clear Lake, located along Interstate 35 in northern Iowa. Two more installments remain in this series.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “Part V: The artsy side of Clear Lake, Iowa”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    It is the little touches of character and art that make these communities unique and fill them with charm. These details, too, will be lost at some point; that is why what you do is so very important. We are slowing losing this charm to straight-lined government buildings of glass and metal with little detail. Forever preserving an historical account of a town – a community – so we can remember how people, places and things used to be is not always appreciated until after the fact.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I love the Art Center there. They are always having wonderful shows and events there. Great post again! Thanks!

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    I love this post! Photojournalism at its best!!

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    “Art” is everywhere!!! We inhabit a living art diorama brought into existence by the Ultimate Creator!!!! I LOVED this post!!!!!!! My life (and many others, I suspect) would be “Shades of Blah” without your jottings and gorgeous photos!!!! Many thanks and uber hugs………..

  5. We usually use Clear Lake as our last rest stop on our trips back to Owatonna from Kansas City. Now it is abundantly clear that we are going to have to make a special trip to Clear Lake just to see what we’ve been missing!

  6. Great pictures. I love those old dishes.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. Very timely post as I recently returned from the Rural Arts & Culture Summit in Morris, MN and was inspired by stories of small towns that are promoting the arts with displays throughout the towns.

  8. Jackie Says:

    Such a great little town with so much to see! I love the little ice cream shop, what a “sweet” building 🙂

  9. hotlyspiced Says:

    There’s a great range of art here and amazing how it’s all displayed in the one town. My favourite though would have to be the sculpture that’s in remembrance of three talented musicians. Such an unnecessary tragedy xx

  10. Sartenada Says:

    I love different types of art and Your findings are great!


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