The Art on the River public art exhibit is located along the Mississippi Riverwalk in the Port of Dubuque. Selected sculptures stretching from the Star Brewery to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium past the Grand River Center on the shores of the mighty Mississippi are on display annually from August through late July.
The works by 11 talented artists from near and far have been selected for the 17th edition of Art on the River. The theme for the 2023-24 exhibit is Illuminate & Innovate. You can enjoy the sculptures from sunrise to sunset and access them on foot or with mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and the like. The exhibit is free to experience and informational brochures are available at kiosks located near the middle and the south end of the Riverwalk.
The Grand Opening of the 2023 – 2024 Art on the River exhibit will take place on Friday, August 4, 2023, at the Grand River Center and is open to everyone.
ARTIST: Chris Wubbena, Jackson, MO
SCULPTURE: This is Her
This Is Her, inspired by classical figurative sculpture along with geologic and Neolithic rock formations, takes a closer look at the individual, the person, and the weight they assume. The abstracted figurative form exists in a state of perpetual action and reaction as its stainless-steel body constructs and twists under a large, painted, rock-like mass. The painted, layered histories accumulated atop the figurative form expresses the here and now with the use of applied text and imagery. This piece references environmental issues and the need for female voices in global matters.
ARTIST: Matt Moyer, Columbia, MO
SCULPTURE: Diverted Pump
Diverted Pump explores society’s relationship to innovation through an investigation into a relationship with factories, manufacturing, and the machines and people who create those goods and services. These ideas tie directly into Dubuque’s diverse history of manufacturing. Embedded with a rich surface of paint and patina, Diverted Pump invests in the importance of the passage of time, how people and things give and take from history while serving as a record of the days, months and years that have passed. The engagement with the notion of illumination is explored through the shadows that are created from the piece and how they relate to the environment where the sculpture is installed.
ARTIST: Damon Hamm, New York, NY
The form is generated from starlight, the materials from stardust, and the shiny stainless steel creates scintillating reflections from our nearest star, the sun.
FROM_ORION is a bright stainless steel sculpture generated from star data, mathematically transformed into a sculpture about a tiny place in a vast universe.
A shape that is a scientifically accurate three dimensional map of the constellation Orion…pointing directly towards earth.
ARTIST: Bilhenry Walker, Milwaukee, WI
SCULPTURE: Comic Slot
The interior has a cobalt-blue sliver of light separating the two basic elements. This creates tension between the elements and reveals an inner life that crackles with energy.
ARTIST: Evan Prosch, Dubuque, IA
SCULPTURE: Reflective Permutations
The sculpture is an exploration of light and reflection to illuminate and transform the world around us. The mirrored cubes create an ever-changing visual landscape, reflecting and refracting light in a way that inspires awe and wonder.
Through the precise arrangement of the cubes, the sculpture is both cohesive and dynamic. Each angle provides a new perspective, a new way of illuminating the hidden world around us.
Reflective Permutations offers a space for reflection and contemplation, where viewers can be inspired to think differently about the world and their place in it. With the power of light and reflection, curiosity and wonder, and embrace innovative ways of thinking and the transformative power of art.
ARTIST: Tim Adams, Webster City, IA
SCULPTURE: Serpentine Insect Hostel
This piece is in the shape of the Serpentine S Curve emulating the fluid movement of the water of the Mississippi River. The curved shape is graceful, pliable, and helps the piece to merge into the landscape. The piece allows sunlight to dapple through the piece while the stainless steel tubes allow pollinators and small birds to roost on a functional piece of public art. The shape and movement of the piece speaks to resilience and innovation.
ARTIST: Timothy Sprengelmeyer, Dubuque, IA
SCULPTURE: The Gleaming Cube
The Gleaming Cube was created to represent a single cube moving in an upward and spiraling motion. The illuminate part is less subtle with the Gleaming Cube. It is shiny stainless steel, so it catches the glimmer of the sun, moon, and electrical light sources on its own. Each of the three cubes contain its own color changing LED light that cycles through blue, green, yellow, red, and purple lights.
ARTIST: Gail Chavenelle, Dubuque, IA
SCULPTURE: Toward Our Future
RETAIL/VALUE: $8,000 – $8,500
The parent and child sculpture embody the spirit of innovation as they hold the symbol of the sun, representing new ideas and a bright future. As they walk towards the “bright future,” they are illuminated by the light of the sun, which represents knowledge and enlightenment. The sculpture is a powerful symbol of the human quest for progress and innovation, driven by a desire to illuminate the world with new ideas and discoveries.
The sculpture invites us to think about the ways in which we can innovate and illuminate the future, using our creativity and knowledge to solve the challenges facing our world. It reminds us that with perseverance and a willingness to explore new ideas, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and for generations to come.
ARTIST: Skip Willits, Camanche, IA
SCULPTURE: Stainless River Marker
The finished surface of this stainless steel sculpture reflects the natural light as if illuminated from within, acting as a symbolic beacon, a marker on the road to a sustainable and resilient future. Through it’s geomorphic pod like features, it comes to represent the dazzling light of a dynamic community where innovation and industry thrives and inclusiveness and understanding continue to make forward momentum for a bright tomorrow.
ARTIST: Dan Aldeman, Dubuque, IA
ARTIST: Evan Prosch, Dubuque, IA
SCULPTURE: Illumination Through Reflection
The center of this piece will be illuminated by reflecting the light that the center absorbs from the sources sun, moon, stars, and the light that is provided by our city. The real light is in the shadows that the piece will create as well as the reflective qualities of the mirrored finish of the center globe.
ARTIST: Tim Adams, Webster City, IA
SCULPTURE: Oxbow Reimagined
All rivers and streams take on a serpentine pattern as they carve their way through the landscape toward the equator. As eons pass, the constantly flowing energy of the water scours away the banks carving and depositing alternately until the water course turns back on itself and abandons its former channel for a new path. The resultant land form is the “oxbow.”
The Mississippi River has experienced this process over the years. The Mississippi has tremendous influence on Dubuque and gives definition to its geography. This piece is an abstract representation of the oxbow concept.
Editor’s note: Information provided by the City of Dubuque.