Overalls All Over Cedar Rapids through Labor Day 2016

It began with Cows on Parade, first in Zurich in 1998 and a follow-up in Chicago in 1999. Since then, cities all over the world have done a similar public art project. Moose in Toronto, Pigs in Cincinnati, the Superlambanana in London, and ponies in Santa Fe all followed suit. The projects involve local artists painting the same subject, each putting his or her own spin on it, and placing them around the city. The most fun of these exhibits, Overalls All Over, is going on right now in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, during Grant Wood’s 125th birthday celebration.

What makes Overalls All Over unique?

The subject, Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting, known world-wide and one of the most parodied 20th-century American art paintings, makes Overalls All Over that much more fun. The subjects of the painting, a poker-faced farmer and his plain-Jane daughter, have been spoofed with everything from cartoon characters to presidential figures. And now the three-dimensional rendition has taken on 25 personalities throughout Cedar Rapids in the Overalls All Over public art exhibition.

Overalls All Over - 3
Experiencing Iowa, American Upcycle, We Wish The Stage Wood Come, Andy & Edie, Classic, American Hipster

Why Cedar Rapids?

Although the original American Gothic painting is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cedar Rapids was Grant Wood’s home. The artist’s studio is in Cedar Rapids, and the largest collection of Grant Wood works resides in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

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The 125th anniversary of Grant Wood’s birth is being celebrated in 2016 with events across Iowa, and especially in Cedar Rapids. The Overalls All Over exhibit is the latest event, unveiled on Sunday, May 8. The statues will remain in their designated locations through Labor Day (September 5, 2016).

The making of the statues

When the six-foot-tall, 90-pound fiberglass statues made by Chicago Fiberglass Works arrived in Cedar Rapids, they were all solid white. Local business sponsors then commissioned local artists to put their own spin on the farming duo. The finished interpretations have resulted in everything from a patriotic pair, replacing the pitchfork with an American flag, to one sponsored by a cereal company that replaces the pitchfork with a spoon.

Overalls Retro Freedom (left) and Gothic Spoonful
Retro Freedom (left) and Gothic Spoonful

Overalls All Over Locations

I had the privilege of viewing the Overalls All Over exhibit before the unveiling, while they were still all together in a warehouse. What fun that was, seeing the 25 artistic parodies in one place. It may be even more fun, though, to hunt for the statues all over Cedar Rapids. You can find a map of statue locations on the Go Cedar Rapids web site.

Overalls All Over Cedar Rapids

Accommodations: I stayed at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center during my stay in Cedar Rapids. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.


Disclosures: My visit to Cedar Rapids was hosted by the Iowa Tourism Office, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a product or book a hotel room through these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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6 thoughts on “Overalls All Over Cedar Rapids through Labor Day 2016

  • May 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    What fun! Here in New Bern, NC, we did the same thing with bears for our 300th anniversary in 2010. Our local artists did a fantastic job, and those adorable bears are everywhere for all to enjoy. These kinds of projects can transform a city, and bring a lot of smiles. One of these days, I want to visit Cedar Rapids and check out those folks in the overalls. Thanks, Connie, for a great article!

  • May 12, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    How fun! Thanks for sharing this awesome that is currently going on in my home state of Iowa.

  • May 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    The American Hipster cracks me up! I knew exactly what they were before I even read the caption. I have to say I love when cities have these painted sculptures around town. They are such fun photo ops for visitors and locals. I definitely have a couple photos of my friends and I with the painted bears in Berlin from our visit 10 years ago.

    • May 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

      I agree. These types of sculptures are always lots of fun. I remember the first such art exhibit in the U.S., the painted cows in Chicago. It was a really BIG deal. It was such a hit, before we knew it, like exhibits were all over.

  • May 15, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Those are some pretty kitschy statues there in Iowa. Fun stuff.

    • May 16, 2016 at 9:05 am

      One of these days I want to go to the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa. the model for the painting. You can put on a costume there and have your own “American Gothic” picture taken.


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