Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The art of Decorah, Part II November 27, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A close-up of stacked stones at Phelps Park in Decorah, Iowa, where the Civilian Conservation Corps crafted walls, a fountain and more.


WHEN YOU THINK public art, what pops into your mind? Sculptures? Murals? Sidewalk poetry? All fit the definition.


An example of the stone art at Phelps Park.


But public art stretches beyond the obvious. If you look for it, you will see art everywhere, as I did on a September visit to Decorah. This northeastern Iowa river town is rich in art, natural and otherwise.


In a downtown Decorah plaza, “Doe and Fawn” by Victoria Reed.


Art enriches a place by adding texture, interest, depth.


Look up to see this sculpture on the Nelson & Co building in downtown Decorah.


Art personalizes a place with character.


The colorful mural by The Cardboard Robot.


Art colors a town with vibrancy.


On display at Donlon Toy Jungle (inside Donlon Pharmacy), this 6-foot KNEX Ferris Wheel.


Details posted with that Ferris Wheel build.


Just another angle of the KNEX Ferris Wheel.


Art brings a community together, creating a cohesiveness that unites in working toward a common goal.


An artful door leading to apartments in downtown Decorah.


Art comforts.


Stacked stone art in Dunning’s Spring.


Art empowers, strengthens.


Inside The Cardboard Robot, shoppers are encouraged to be hands-on creative.


Art expands our imaginations to create.


This new bridge at Dunning’s Spring Park replicates a stone bridge of 140 years ago. Master stone mason Ted Wilson crafted the bridge along with Sean Smyth. The bridge features dry stonewalling, meaning there’s no mortar between joints.


We need art. Today more than ever. To bridge our differences.


© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “The art of Decorah, Part II”

  1. Once again you captured so many different forms of art. Decorah is full of art both natural and created by man. Love your pictures.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    When we hike in the Black Hills, S.D., we always find (and create) stacked stones, also known as “cairns”. This is the definition I found: From middle Gaelic, the word means “mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark.” We usually will try to add one more rock to those that we encounter but they are so precarious at times that we dare not!

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    I am just blown away by that bridge. The beauty and grace of it caught my eye immediately – but that it was dry stone wall is stunning.

  4. This is the kind of place I like to seek out. I love places where there are pops of beautiful art to make it unique and interesting. Beautiful photos, as usual.

  5. Valerie Says:

    It is good to look for art in many different places…and as you said, we need art. Thanks for showing us some in Decorah.

  6. Lovely, lovely pictures! ❤

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