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News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager, (515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777



Carole Custer, University Marketing, (515) 294-3134

Lynette Pohlman, University Museums, (515) 294-3342

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720

Iowa State University will take its (art) show on the road to 2004 state fair

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State Fairgoers strolling through the northeast end of the Varied Industries Building Aug. 12-22 may do a double-take when they reach Iowa State University's festive cardinal and gold exhibit.

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Sculptures you walked past every day as an undergrad: Priceless.

Iowa State University students, alumni and visitors know that art imitates life on the Ames campus. With more than 475 major public works of art, Iowa State University is home to the nation's largest public "Art on Campus" collection, as well as ranked among the most beautiful campuses in the U.S.

"So we thought, 'Why not share 10 of our favorite works of art on campus with hundreds of thousands more people at the Iowa State Fair?'" said Iowa State University Marketing Director Carole Custer. "Iowa State's public art is a major educational asset, and part of our land-grant mission is to share that with the people of Iowa."

Eight of the 10 works scheduled for display at the state fair are original plaster and bronze sculptures by Christian Petersen, an artist synonymous with Iowa State University.

As the first permanent sculptor-in-residence at an American university, Petersen created 12 major sculptures, many faculty portrait busts, reliefs and hundreds of studio works of art at ISU from 1934 to 1955. The Danish-born Petersen had studied art on the East Coast before Grant Wood invited him to Iowa to participate in the federally funded Public Works of Art Project, during the depths of the Great Depression. As a result of Wood's invitation, Petersen created the "History of Dairying Mural" in the courtyard of Iowa State's Food Sciences Building. Later he was hired to teach in the Department of Applied Art, where he inspired students with his fervor for art and teaching.

These are among Petersen's sculptures to be displayed at the Iowa State Fair:

  • "The Gentle Doctor" (1937)
  • "Cornhusker" (1941)
  • "4-H Calf" (1941)
  • "Maidens" (models for the "Fountain of Four Seasons") (1940)
  • "George Washington Carver" (1942)

Two other works, a portrait sculpture of Christian Petersen by Sarah Grant-Hutchison and Sticks, Inc. (2000); and "Forward" (1984), an 11 x 20-foot aluminum sculpture, also will be on display.

"Forward," by sculptor William King, is composed of twelve, nearly identical figures moving as a group in a forward direction.

"It has come to represent the students of Iowa State as they pass in a steady direction through a campus life of academics and activities," said University Museums Director Lynette Pohlman.

The theme for this year's state fair display is "Forward. Thinking." after King's sculpture. Custer says the combination of King's contemporary expression with Petersen's beloved masterpieces is especially apropos for the Iowa State Fair, and is a visual symbol of Iowa State's leadership in integrating arts and higher education.

"Christian Petersen conceived and worked on '4-H Calf' and 'Cornhusker' at the Iowa State Fair," Custer said. "And Duffy Lyon, the state fair's own butter cow sculptor, studied under Christian Petersen; it was he who discovered her talent as she sculpted snow on the Iowa State campus. There are so many ties to the state fair. We're really looking forward to sharing our campus art with everyone at the fair."

For more information about Iowa State's Art on Campus:

"...So judge for yourself. Create an American art, here in the rich soil of the Middle West, where America has its roots. Here shall be the soil and the seed and the strength of art." - From the papers of Christian Petersen


It's in the carbs

Iowa State University Extension's state fair exhibit, located in the northeast corner of the grandstand, will feature two displays on carbohydrates - both edible and inedible. Fairgoers will receive information on carbohydrate consumption and the research behind the role carbohydrates play in people's diets, according to Elaine Edwards, ISU Extension communications manager.

Features include the to 10 reasons to eat carbs, a new carb card game called "Gimme 5," a computer carb activity, information on revised food labels and a glossary of carb information.

Extension's exhibit also will feature many of the new products derived from Iowa corn and soybeans. These carbohydrates may not be edible, but are adding value to Iowa's economy. The exhibit will show some of the technologies for converting crops and plant materials into chemicals, fuels, fibers and energy, Edwards said.

Hall of famers to be announced

For the third year, the 4-H program will induct members to its Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during the Iowa State Fair, according to Chris Gleason, 4-H program coordinator. At this year's event, set for Sunday, Aug. 22, 95 longtime 4-H volunteers and staff will recognized for their outstanding service and dedication to 4-H. Three of this year's inductees are honored for their service on a statewide level; the remaining 92 are honored by the counties in which they live.

There are three 4-H alumni receptions planned for the state fair: Sunday, Aug. 15 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. All receptions will be held in the air-conditioned 4-H Exhibit Building, and will include short programs.

More than 3,000 4-H members from all 99 counties will show an estimated 4,000 exhibits in the 4-H building during the fair. The exhibits range from a saxophone lamp to a restored go-cart. The 4-H building is also where 1,500 4-H members will participate in communication events, including educational presentations, clothing discussions, extemporaneous speaking and non-judged "Share the Fair" performances.

Another 1,900-plus 4-Hers are slated to bring nearly 8,100 livestock and horticulture entries to the fair. Market sheep (2,059 entries) and market swine (1,400 entries) will boast the most livestock entries, and there will be 919 horticulture exhibits.


4-H Calf

4-H Calf by Christian Petersen
For a print quality photo contact News Service at 294-3720

Quick look

Come and see Iowa State University on display at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 12-22. You'll find exhibits in the Varied Industries Building, grandstand and the 4-H Exhibit Building.


"Iowa State's public art is a major educational asset, and part of our land grant mission is to share that with the people of Iowa."

Carole Custer,
University Marketing director