The Pearson Lakes Art Center is the finest place to view and partake of art and music in the rural upper Midwest. Located in the Iowa Great Lakes region, it started out as a summer gathering place in a barn-like building for a group of artists in 1965. Bud and Beverly Pearson expanded the facility in 1988 through a challenge grant. The University of Okiboji Foundation matched it and the the new center opened in summer 1991.
In 2000, fund raising built Pomerantz Hall, the children’s Art Smart Interactive Gallery and the Rita Leary Library. In 2007 the Pearson family gifted Soviet and Russian paintings worth over $1,000,000 to the Gerald, Bud and Beverly Pearson Gallery. Soon after the John & Karen Goodenow Gallery was completed. It houses many of the facility’s traveling exhibitions.
“The Pearson Lakes Art Center delivers educational programming to students of all ages through instructional classes, lectures and exhibitions; exposes community members to the numerous forms of art including visual, music, drama, writing and film; serves as an advocate for the arts with partners in the schools and other neighboring organizations; and provides an important outlet for local and regional artists to exhibit and market their work.”
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the art center created the exhibit, “50 Works for 50 Years” celebrating the paintings and graphic art of N.C. Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Jasper Johns, Picasso, Marc Chagall, Norman Rockwell and more.
The Pearson Lakes Art Center in a single year offers 16 live performances, 14 visual exhibitions, over 110 educational classes for over 3,000 people. Blues, jazz, and bluegrass among other styles of music fill the air. Teachers receive recertification credit, there are speakers’ series, indie films, photography, comedy troupes, Earth Day celebrations, Photoshop classes … the quality of offerings from the Arts Center is endless and world-class.
“The Pearson Lakes Art Center belongs to the community; it is an additional benefit to living in the area; it exists due to the generosity, vision and hard work of in-numerous community members; and it is continually changing, updating and evolving. It is a meeting place, a learning center, a safe harbor, and a creative outlet. It embraces everyone.”
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