News Service


Ingrid Lilligren, Art and Design, (515) 294-8883
Jill Euken, Extension, (712) 243-1132
Heather Sauer, Design, (515) 294-9289
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- The Wallace Foundation Learning and Outreach Center near Lewis, and a ceramic mural created by an Iowa State University professor especially for the facility will be dedicated at a ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, March 16.

Gov. Terry Branstad, ISU President Jischke, former Congressman and now gubernatorial candidate Jim Ross Lightfoot, and Congressman Leonard Boswell will attend the dedication.

The Wallace Foundation Learning and Outreach Center, part of the Armstrong Research Farm, was funded by the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development, a private, nonprofit corporation providing educational opportunities and supporting rural development initiatives in southwest Iowa. Between 1988 and 1997, the foundation raised $400,000 to purchase the Armstrong Research Farm, and then raised another $1 million to build the learning center. The Armstrong Research Farm is operated by the ISU Experiment Station.

The center has offices for ISU Extension specialists, ISU Experiment Station staff, four "incubator" offices for value-added agricultural businesses, and three classrooms. One classroom is equipped for ICN telecasts.

The mural, titled "Patterns for Life," was created by Ingrid Lilligren, professor of art and design, and depicts the agricultural landscape of southwest Iowa.

Lilligren was commissioned to create a work of art for a curved wall in the learning center's lobby last year after she visited the site, studied photographs of strip cropping in a nearby field and built a small-scale model to present to the Wallace Foundation board.

"We've received very positive feedback on the mural," said the Wallace Foundation's Jill Euken. "It's very large and striking; when people walk into the lobby, it's the first thing they see."

Lilligren began the full-scale project in April 1997. An aerial photograph of the Armstrong Farm's strip cropping was the focus for Lilligren's mural design. The mural wall is 12-feet high, 15- feet wide, and has an 8-foot radius. Approximately 400 tiles were used to construct the mural, and no two tiles have the same size or shape. The tiles are framed by board-and-batten oak and walnut wood trim to mimic the pattern of the corrugated metal on other walls in the learning center, as well as "to echo the gentle curves of the landscape and the shifting perspectives about preserving natural resources," Lilligren said.

Lilligren's husband, Larry Golden, and three Iowa State design students -- Joe Rohret, Greg Lamont and Garnet Nordine -- also helped on the project.

The Wallace Foundation received two dozen entries in a contest to name the mural. Lilligren said the contest was one way to get the community involved in the mural's creation. "In the spirit of the commission, I got very excited about continuing to extend ownership to the larger community. The fact that there are physically recognizable landmarks in the mural really makes people identify with it," she said.

Lilligren also has designed a small tile as a gift for people at the dedication ceremony.

The Wallace Foundation Learning and Outreach Center is located at 53020 Hitchcock Ave., Lewis.


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