The tiny hayloft above the carriage house was never meant to be living space, only the artist’s studio. However, for eleven years, from 1924 to 1935, Grant Wood lived there–with his mother and sometimes his sister, too. I visited the Grant Wood Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as part of a press tour honoring the 125th birth year of the American Regionalist artist and saw how Wood transformed the space into both home and studio.
Have you ever traded houses with someone? I mean, for keeps? In 1905, George and Irene Douglas traded their Cedar Rapids city home for a mansion, located about two miles away, which would become known as Brucemore. During a tour of the 16,000 square foot Brucemore, I not only took in the opulence of the home’s design and furnishings, but also learned about the fascinating lives of two families who lived there.
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.