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1. Run the Bix 7

It's almost here. The Quad-City Times Bix 7 will bring thousands of runners and spectators to downtown Davenport on Saturday for one of the area's best and biggest traditions. This year, the Bix 7 serves as the\u00a0USA Track and Field National 7 Mile Championships, which means you can run alongside (or just shortly behind) the nation's top athletes.\u00a0Once you cross the finish line, stick around for a huge post-race party in the parking lot of the Quad-City Times building. Don't forget to register for the Bix 7, the 2-mile Quick Bix or\u00a0Arconic's Jr Bix 7, on Friday,\u00a0at qctimes.com/bix/

8 a.m. Saturday, downtown Davenport, $48 to register; free for spectators

2. Q-C homecoming party\u00a0

Keep the celebration of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 going. The Bix Street Fest, billed as the Quad-Cities biggest homecoming party, returns this weekend with festivities happening on\u00a02nd Street between Brady and Ripley streets in the heart of downtown Davenport. Expect\u00a0festival food and drinks, live music from 12 acts, arts and craft vendors and more. In addition, Rib Fest joins the event this year. Admission to the Street Fest is free and open to the public.\u00a0

11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, downtown Davenport. Free\u00a0

3. An uphill battle\u00a0

Also part of this week's Bix festivities is the Brady Street Sprints on Thursday. Watch runners climb the quarter-mile Brady Street hill. Ten races are scheduled, including for women and men ages 29 and under and 39 and under and 40 and older. In addition, high school relays and a Bix 7 sponsors race are on tap.\u00a0

7 p.m. Thursday, Brady Street hill. Free\u00a0

4. A special Live@Five

This week's Live@Five event, presented by the River Music Experience, is on Tuesday instead of Friday. Enjoy some free tunes from the soulful Portland-based group Dirty Revival outside the RME, 129 N. Main St., Davenport. For more info, visit rivermusicexperience.org

5 p.m. Tuesday, outside RME. Free

5. Wheels and food on-wheels\u00a0

The Quad-Cities Independent Food Truck Alliance and QCrpm, an organization with the mission to strengthen the area's automotive scene,\u00a0are teaming up to bring you an event where food trucks, cars and conversations collide. The event, dubbed Eat the Streets, brings vendors such as Floyd's Burgers and Sliders, Grillzilla Cooking and Meathead's Meat Market together with a bunch of cool cars and trucks near the Davenport skybridge in downtown Davenport.\u00a0

6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Davenport skybridge. Free

6. 'Once more unto the breach'

The Genesius Guild continues its season of free theater with the classic Shakespeare-penned historic play, \"Henry V,\" which takes place during the Hundred Years' War, and features the famous line, \"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.\" You can see \"Henry V\" Saturday and Sunday at Lincoln Park, Rock Island.\u00a0

8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lincoln Park. Free

7. Punk trio\u00a0

If you're looking to escape from outdoor festivities on Saturday, check out this show from the Atlanta, Georgia-based punk rock trio The Coathangers. See the all-female group, which has been performing since 2006 and released its latest album last month, with openers Residuels and Archeress, this weekend at Daytrotter, 324 Brady St., Davenport. For tickets, $10 in advance, visit daytrotter.com/live-shows

8 p.m. Saturday, Daytrotter, $10 in advance; $13 at the door\u00a0

8. One last summer concert\u00a0

Jumer's Casino and Hotel, 777 Jumer Drive, Rock Island, presents the finale of its summer concert series this weekend. See Aerosmith Rocks, an Aerosmith tribute band, on Friday. Tickets, $15, are available at the hotel's front desk or by calling 1-800-477-7747. \u00a0

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jumer's Casino and Hotel, $15\u00a0

9. Sweany show at the Raccoon Motel\u00a0

Need a mid-week pick-me-up? Patrick Sweany, a soul, rock and blues musician from Nashville, will perform with opener Dickie, from Iowa City, on Wednesday at the Triple Crown Whiskey Bar, 304 E. 3rd St., Davenport. For tickets, visit raccoonmotel.com

8 p.m. Wednesday, Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel, $10 in advance\u00a0

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Davenport's original skyscraper is rising again as The Current Iowa hotel.

In the former Putnam Building at Second and Main streets, Amrit and Amy Gill's\u00a0Restoration St. Louis has renovated a tired downtown office building into a modern luxury hotel that champions the building's past and will be a showplace for the Midwest art scene.\u00a0

The $33 million Current, which opens Wednesday, July 26, is the latest Quad-City historic restoration by the St. Louis developers and part of their $62 million City Square redevelopment that includes the former M.L. Parker Building, just east of the new hotel.

The artful hotel is what Amy Gill calls \"the younger, hipster sister\" of the nearby Hotel Blackhawk\u00a0\u2014 the first Davenport project tackled by Restoration St. Louis seven years ago.

\"It's not just about being an artsy hotel; it's about bringing that artful approach to everything we do,\" she said.

Look inside the Current Iowa: From construction zone to luxury hotel

That artful approach is grounded in 500-plus pieces of Midwest-generated art, including a wooden cut-out wall map of the Quad-Cities, blown glass resembling waves on water and a life-size cow sculpture Gill calls \"Bessie,\" which all are in the lobby. Original paintings and sculptures by Midwest artists are found throughout the Current, including in its Baja Mexican restaurant off the lobby \u2014 called Viva \u2014 and in the region's largest indoor/outdoor rooftop restaurant and bar, known as Up.\u00a0

In addition to the two new restaurants, which are open to the public, the Current features 78 suites. It has 14 luxury apartments, meeting space and a host of amenities in the hotel and adjoining Center building.\u00a0

Built by Davenport construction company Russell, the Current joins Hotel Blackhawk as part of the Marriott's luxury Autograph Collection. It was designed by Checkmate Design, Restoration St. Louis' architectural and design firm.

Borrowing the Autograph Collection's branding tagline, Amrit Gill said the new hotel \"is exactly like nothing else.\"

\"Our experience is art,\" he said, adding that the artful experience begins from the time visitors walk through the door, \"to how we bring them food and how we clean the room.\"\u00a0

'Less art museum, more art experience'

The 1910 building, the last designed by iconic Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, makes for a fitting palate for the art-filled hotel.

The building's appearance prior to the overhaul? Not so much.\u00a0

The Restoration St. Louis team gutted the former office building, \"giving it a lot of love,\" Amy Gill said, and followed a simple, yet sleek interior design, mostly white, grey and black colors, to allow the artwork to take center stage.

\"The palate is so bland to make the art stand out,\" Amy Gill said.

\"Amrit

Amy and Amrit Gill, owners of Restoration St. Louis, pose in the lobby of the Current Iowa, the couple's latest historic renovation project in downtown Davenport.\u00a0

Meanwhile, she and her husband searched the Midwest for all kinds of contemporary art.\u00a0

They toured art fairs, museum galleries and small private collections, hand-picking pieces that fit into a specific vision: \u201cA Midwestern, fun, local approach to an art hotel.\u201d

\u201cI was trying to buy pieces from all kinds of people,\u201d Amy Gill said. \u201cI want everyone represented, all walks of life and all types of humanity. That\u2019s what art should be about.\u201d

Gill says 40 artists are represented from places such as Chicago, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana and Texas as well as St. Louis and the Quad-Cities in what she calls \u201can art museum in flyover country.\u201d

\"The whole impetus is we can find artists here \u2014\u00a0really good artists \u2014\u00a0and bring them to the forefront,\" she said.\u00a0\u00a0\u201cThis is for the underappreciated artists from the Midwest.\"\u00a0

Their team got a few leads from Tim Schiffer, executive director of the Figge Art Museum, which is just a block from the hotel.

\u201cIt\u2019s a great match to be so close,\u201d Schiffer said. \u201cI\u2019m glad they\u2019re supporting local artists. When you see art that is created nearby, you get a flavor of a place. It\u2019ll make the hotel special.\u201d

The proximity creates a natural relationship with\u00a0the Figge, Schiffer said. Plus, a handful of artists who have artwork in The Current also are featured in the Figge\u2019s collection. That includes Iowa City- based artist Nancy Purington, Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, the chair of Augustana College\u2019s art department and Michael Meilahn, who created the popular blown-glass installation, called \u201cCorn Zone,\u201d often on display on the ground floor of the museum.

Still, Gill says the hotel is \"less art museum, more art experience.\"\u00a0

\"The

The lobby of the Current Iowa hotel features artwork, such a hot glass installation which resembles water waves. In all, over 500 pieces of art is inside the hotel and more will be added in the upcoming months.\u00a0

\"People may not think it's fancy enough art, but we're not going for fancy art,\" she said. \"We have that across the street at the Figge.\" \u00a0

\"We're serving $3 tacos here,\" she added. \"It's cheap as chips.\"\u00a0

Introducing a trend

The Current Iowa is part of a trend that appears to be making a home in the Quad-Cities: Boutique hotels.

Two other projects in downtown Moline fit the bill, including Heart of America Group's 5th Avenue Historic Block project and the Amin Group's nearby Element by Westin. The Element is an extended-stay hotel that is part of The Q multi-modal station development.

The boutique concept was introduced to the Quad-Cities by the Gills, who led a $35 million renovation of the historic Hotel Blackhawk in 2010.

\u201cA boutique hotel is a smaller, more intimate place where the guests get to know the people who work there,\u201d said Amy Gill. \u201cThey\u2019re huge right now. They appeal to millennials who travel and want to have this unique experience.\u201d

The Gills, who have been in the restoration business since the early 1990s in St. Louis, say the Blackhawk paved the way for the Current.

\u201cWe would never have been able to finance this if the Blackhawk had not been successful,\u201d she said, recalling the financing challenges in the Hotel Blackhawk project.\u00a0

But just seven years later \u2014\u00a0with the Blackhawk\u2019s occupancy rates sitting in the mid-70 percent range \u2014\u00a0there\u2019s room in the market for another boutique hotel.

\u201cNow downtown Davenport is thriving, booming and everybody wants to be here,\u201d she said.

Restoration St. Louis not only restored the Blackhawk but followed up with two office-building conversions into housing, along with a warehouse-loft conversion and now City Square.\u00a0

Gaining momentum

In the years since the Blackhawk opened, the boutique trend has gained momentum in medium and large markets.\u00a0

\u201cOver the last several years we\u2019ve seen the trend, at least regionally, to move away from large 200- to 300-room hotels along the interstate to downtown, smaller hotels,\u201d said Joe Taylor, the president and CEO of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau.

\"The

Over 500 pieces of Midwest-generated art are displayed in the lobby of the new Curent Iowa hotel, seen as \"an art hotel in flyover country.\"\u00a0

In the 1970s, for example, larger hotels were built along the interstates, such as Holiday Inns and Jumer\u2019s Castle Lodge in the Quad-Cities, he said.

\u201cThen we were trying to capture a leisure visitor on the interstate, and now the dynamics have changed,\u201d Taylor said. \u201cWe have more meeting space, different niche markets we\u2019re going to, and our downtowns are developing.\u201d

Heart of America founder Mike Whalen, who is excited about his own 5th Avenue hotel project in Moline, said the industry has now \u201cwoken up\u201d to the research that shows travelers want an experience.

\u201cIt\u2019s different than 30 years ago when the traveler was looking for consistency,\u201d he said. \u201cNow the traveler is going on TripAdvisor and other (websites), and they want to find a cool place to stop.\u201d

As Amrit Gill said, boutique hotels attract the traveler who isn't concerned with sticking with one brand and collecting hotel rewards.\u00a0

\u201cSixty percent of the transient business comes from people who collect hotels like foodies collect restaurants,\u201d Gill said.

The Gills, however, say their small and unique touches make the Blackhawk and now Current Iowa stand out among the boutique landscape.

During one of her many recent visits to Davenport from St. Louis, Amy Gill watched a guest arrive at Hotel Blackhawk and overheard staff say to him, \u201cYou haven\u2019t been here in a month.\u201d

\u201cYou don\u2019t get that feeling in a regular hotel,\u201d she said, \u201cThat feeling of \u2018I belong here.\u201d

Economically huge

When The Current Iowa opens, it will mark \u201cthe achievement of a massive goal\u201d for downtown Davenport, according to Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an initiative of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

\u201cIt may be lost on people how unlikely this seemed for many years,\u201d he said. \u201cThe cost and complexity of the project was enormous, and the building was vacant for 30-plus years.\u201d

Beyond that, the Current\u2019s opening marks another step in completing City Square, which encompasses the block that stretches along 2nd Street between Main and Brady streets. Phase one was renovating the former M.L. Parker Building into Class A office space and luxury apartments.\u00a0

When the $62 million makeover is done, Carter said it will be a \u201cbigger deal than the Blackhawk opening.

\"The

Seen here in late June, the rooftop of the Current Iowa hotel will serve as the area's largest rooftop bar and restaurant, called Up, which is open to the public.\u00a0

\u201cThe Blackhawk had a special place in people\u2019s hearts on an emotional level,\u201d he said. \u201cFrom an economic point of view, this block\u2019s completion is a bigger project.\u201d

That block also will house the future Urban Campus being built by Scott Community College.\u00a0

City Square emerged in 2011 after the Gills\u2019 proposal for a land-based casino in downtown was not selected. Still, the project incorporates ideas proposed in their casino bid.\u00a0They also were drawn by the building's history, being designed by Daniel Burhnam.

Amrit Gill said they envisioned the Putnam building as a hotel since the beginning. That was in part because it helps meet a need of the RiverCenter for more available hotel rooms to help the convention center draw more and larger events to downtown, he said.

\u201cJust adding a hotel is really necessary,\u201d Carter said. \u201cYou could argue there's room in the market for another one.\u201d

While converting the Putnam into housing would have been less work and less expensive, Amrit Gill said, The Current Iowa \u2014\u00a0with its lodging, restaurants, art and skybar \u2014\u00a0is filling a void.

\u201cThe community needs more hotel rooms. The community needs that excitement in downtown,\u201d he said. \u201cWe do what the community needs.\"

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Opening of the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archives has been delayed to put the finishing touches on the tribute to Davenport's \"young man with a horn.\"

The\u00a0museum's opening has been delayed until Thursday Aug. 3. Previously, the museum in the basement of the River Music Experience, or RME, in downtown Davenport, was scheduled to open to the public on Monday.

According to Howard Braren, museum board president, there are still a few finishing touches to sort out before visitors can check out the 1,500-square foot museum, the result of a\u00a0$450,000 construction project.

\"All of the info relating to Bix is completed, but we just have a few kinks to work out,\" Braren said.\u00a0

During a ribbon-cutting celebration Friday afternoon, Braren announced that Quad-City Times associate editor and columnist Bill Wundram will be an adviser to the museum board.

The museum is slated to open its doors at 10 a.m.\u00a0Aug. 3, which\u00a0aligns with the first day of the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, slated for Aug. 3-5 at the Rhythm City Casino, Davenport.\u00a0

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The Element by Westin, a 96-room extended-stay, Marriott-branded hotel, is on track to open in December. The project is converting a circa-1917 warehouse at 4th Avenue and 12th Street in downtown Moline into a luxury hotel. The Element is being privately developed by the California-based Amin Group with help from Russell Construction, Davenport. It will share space with the future rail station, a separate project supported by local, state and federal funding. 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Another boutique hotel\u00a0\u2014 the Quad-Cities' third \u2014 is on its way.

The Element by Westin, a 96-room extended-stay, Marriott-branded hotel, is on track to open in December. The project is converting a circa-1917 warehouse at 4th Avenue and 12th Street in downtown Moline into a luxury hotel.

The Element is being privately developed by the California-based Amin Group with help from Russell Construction, Davenport. It will share space with the future rail station, a separate project supported by local, state and federal funding. Together, they will be known as The Q.

Across the country, there are 65 hotels under the Element by Westin brand. But the Moline hotel won\u2019t be just like the others, according to Adrienne Pumphrey, executive director of sales and marketing with C-Two Hotels, the hotel management company also owned by The Amin Group.

\u201cWhile it is a brand, I would say it's a boutique hotel in the sense that it\u2019s unique in character, with interesting design elements that you wouldn\u2019t find in an Element anywhere else in the country,\u201d said Pumphrey. \u201cIt will give the customer a very different and memorable experience.\u201d

Part of that experience comes from the building itself, which is the first historic renovation for an Element hotel.

\u201cThe history of the O\u2019Rourke building truly drove the design of the project,\u201d Pumphrey said. \u201cThe historic elements of the building were an asset to the overall project, giving the hotel a certain charm while at the same time reminding guests that they\u2019re actually staying in a 100-year-old warehouse that's been converted to a hotel.\u201d

Designers \u201cwere tasked with preserving as much of the original building as possible,\u201d working under historic-distinction guidelines, Pumphrey said.

For example, the windows were custom-built to mimic the historic windows on the south facade. The design also exposes original columns and incorporates bricks that were removed to expose original windows.

Construction, which began last June, still has a few months to go.

\u201cThe Russell team is working hard at finishing the lower floors to be ready for finish work,\u201d Pumphrey said, adding that painters are on-site, and flooring and tile work soon will begin. \u201cThe next few weeks will be very exciting as the actual furniture and materials start to arrive.\"

The hotel developer, which also owns the nearby Radisson on John Deere Commons, chose the Quad-City market, and this location, for a reason, she said.

One reason: the \u201cdesire to bring something new, exciting and exclusive to downtown Moline.\"

\u201cThere is a lack of modern, detailed and extended-stay-type product in downtown Moline,\u201d she said. \u201cOur intention is the hotel will act as a catalyst for further development and interest in the Quad Cities and downtown Moline.\u201d

"}, {"id":"dfbf6459-be78-554e-a3dd-698ed7db1545","type":"article","starttime":"1500666300","starttime_iso8601":"2017-07-21T14:45:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1500774188","sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"The Current Iowa houses a lot of history","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_dfbf6459-be78-554e-a3dd-698ed7db1545.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/the-current-iowa-houses-a-lot-of-history/article_dfbf6459-be78-554e-a3dd-698ed7db1545.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/the-current-iowa-houses-a-lot-of-history/article_dfbf6459-be78-554e-a3dd-698ed7db1545.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":6,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Amanda Hancock\nahancock@qctimes.com","prologue":"When the Current Iowa opens on Wednesday, it will reveal the new life being pumped into a downtown landmark. 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When the Current Iowa opens on Wednesday, it will reveal the new life being pumped into a downtown landmark.

Hailed as Davenport\u2019s first skyscraper, the eight-story Putnam was built at 2nd and Main streets in 1910. It later housed department stores, such as H.E. Schraff Store and Simon & Landauer, and, more recently, served as an office building.\u00a0

The Putnam was the last building designed by Daniel Burnham, the iconic architect who pioneered the skyscraper and is credited with creating the plan for Chicago's lakefront. The developer was W.C. Putnam Estate.

The Burnham name caught the attention of Kelly Duepner, vice president of design with Checkmate Design, an architecture firm for Restoration St. Louis. Burnham designed Duepner's favorite building, the Flatiron Building in New York City.

\u201cTo rehab something he designed really excited me,\u201d she said. \u201cIt\u2019s my favorite thing.\u201d

Over the years, much of the building's original identity was stripped away, she said.

\u201cThe stairs are one of the only things that were kept,\u201d she said, referring to the original marble staircase and railing. \u201cIt\u2019s been renovated over the years, and the historic fabric of the building disappeared.\u201d

Built on a brick foundation, it features a steel skeleton covered in red brick, stone backing and terracotta panels.

\u201cThe shell and core is where we got our historic fabric from,\u201d Duepner said. \u201cThat\u2019s where you see Burnham's touches.\"\u00a0

The Putnam was intended as a first-class office building, a 1910 marketing brochure noting, \"The beautiful and substantial building justifies the confidence placed in the development of Davenport and the Three-Cities,\" according to a 2003 Quad-City Times article.

Beyond that, the original site of The Current was the LeClaire House, built in 1839. It was the first hotel in the area and opened by Antoine LeClaire, the founder of the city of Davenport.

The building\u2019s last major tenants include Ruhl Insurance and Butler Insurance. They have been relocated to Class A office space in the renovated Parker Building. Together, the Putnam, Parker and Center buildings will become City Square.

"}, {"id":"abf08f4d-8a29-53a3-9bc3-e3aebd7c0061","type":"article","starttime":"1500666300","starttime_iso8601":"2017-07-21T14:45:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1500674523","sections":[{"local":"news/local"}],"application":"editorial","title":"A look at the 'not cookie-cutter art' on display at The Current Iowa","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_abf08f4d-8a29-53a3-9bc3-e3aebd7c0061.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/a-look-at-the-not-cookie-cutter-art-on-display/article_abf08f4d-8a29-53a3-9bc3-e3aebd7c0061.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/local/a-look-at-the-not-cookie-cutter-art-on-display/article_abf08f4d-8a29-53a3-9bc3-e3aebd7c0061.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Amanda Hancock\nahancock@qctimes.com","prologue":"One defining feature of the Current Iowa's artwork is that the 500-plus pieces are \"not cookie-cutter art,\" said Amy Gill, CEO of Restoration St. Louis.\u00a0 \"Everything is made by someone,\" she said. \"It's all unique.\"\u00a0 Each hotel room will showcase artwork, and some pieces are straightforward while others, as Gill says, \u201care a little edgy and weird.\u201d","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["restoration st. louis","amy gill","hot glass studio","iowa","steve jones","mississippi river","nancy purington","ceo","jerry tovo","executive director and lead artist","davenport","midwest","artist","joel ryser","the current iowa","architecture","art","gill","hotel room"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a","description":"The lobby of the Current Iowa hotel features artwork, such a hot glass installation which resembles water waves. In all, over 500 pieces of art is inside the hotel and more will be added in the upcoming months.\u00a0","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD_CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1257,"hiresheight":1649,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/67/c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a/597240f90db12.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1257","height":"1649","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/67/c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a/597240f90cd62.image.jpg?resize=1257%2C1649"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"131","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/67/c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a/597240f90cd62.image.jpg?resize=100%2C131"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"394","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/67/c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a/597240f90cd62.image.jpg?resize=300%2C394"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1343","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/67/c67c7867-3ed2-52e2-8330-c1200c26c13a/597240f90cd62.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1343"}}},{"id":"9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a","description":"Visitors will be welcomed inside the Current Iowa with several pieces of Midwest-generated art in the lobby.\u00a0","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1143,"hiresheight":1813,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/e5/9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a/597240f97e02c.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1143","height":"1813","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/e5/9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a/597240f97d1d7.image.jpg?resize=1143%2C1813"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"159","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/e5/9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a/597240f97d1d7.image.jpg?resize=100%2C159"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"476","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/e5/9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a/597240f97d1d7.image.jpg?resize=300%2C476"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1624","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/e5/9e53366e-0392-57ca-9f6f-255786f61f6a/597240f97d1d7.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1624"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"abf08f4d-8a29-53a3-9bc3-e3aebd7c0061","body":"

One defining feature of the Current Iowa's artwork is that the 500-plus pieces are \"not cookie-cutter art,\" said Amy Gill, CEO of Restoration St. Louis.\u00a0

\"Everything is made by someone,\" she said. \"It's all unique.\"\u00a0

Each hotel room will showcase artwork, and some pieces are straightforward while others, as Gill says, \u201care a little edgy and weird.\u201d

That\u2019s the case for one prominently-featured St. Louis-based artist: Steve Jones, who teaches middle-school art, creates ceramic sculptures of dogs, monkeys and horses with \u201chuman emotions and features,\u201d such as porcelain teeth, wooden legs and glass eyes.

\u201cThey\u2019re cute from afar and kind of raw when you get up close,\u201d Jones said.

Jones was surprised when the Gills bought 110 handmade pieces, each requiring eight hours of work, to display in their hotel rooms.

Also in the rooms are for-sale pieces made by Hot Glass, a not-for-profit located in downtown Davenport.\u00a0

The Gills visited the Hot Glass studio last year to meet with its executive director and lead artist, Joel Ryser. The couple then commissioned 110 pieces to be made by him and by at-risk students and veterans who takes classes at Hot Glass.

Ryser\u2019s reaction?

\u201cWow, that\u2019s a lot to get done,\u201d he said. \u201cI thought it would be a great opportunity to be more visible in the community.\u201d

The Gills also hired Ryser to design and create a large glass installation, which has the look of water, that\u2019s hanging from the ceiling in the lobby. It\u2019s called \u201cThe River.\u201d

\u201cIt\u2019s a great concept and opportunity for Midwest artists,\u201d Ryser said. \u201cIt\u2019s not every day you get to make a big installation that so many people will see. We\u2019re lucky if somebody wants to buy a vase or a glass pumpkin.\u201d

Being featured in a hotel is not an everyday thing for Nancy Purington, who grew up north of Davenport. The Gills bought 130 prints from her photography collection, called \u201cTwelve Views of Water,\u201d depicting the Mississippi River.

\u201cAs an artist, I\u2019ve always been critical of hotel art,\u201d Purington aid. \u201cIt\u2019s generic. I think a lot of people see a picture on the wall and go to bed and don\u2019t think about it.\u201d

The artwork in The Current, Purington has learned, is anything but generic. She counts being featured in the hotel as an \u201cabsolute miracle,\u201d adding, \u201cThis is a cultural treasure, especially when you\u2019re featuring artists from the community and the region. I feel pure joy to be a part of it.\u201d

Additionally, the tequila tasting room will serve as an exhibit space where art will be regularly rotated, beginning in August with a collection of black-and-white photographs titled \u201cThey May Have Been Heroes: The Homeless Veterans Project\u201d by Jerry Tovo, of St. Louis.

\"We have art that makes you feel something,\" Amy Gill said. \"I think that's what art is about.\"

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It might seem like a new thing for the Q-C, but the Putnam building had a rooftop lounge back in 1912. \"With the addition of modern amenities and a glass railing, we did everything we could to recreate the historic patio,\" according to Theresa Greene, Restoration St. Louis' marketing coordinator.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["iowa","mississippi river","jones county","iowa highway 150","wyoming","theresa greene","north liberty","colorado","michigan","energy","putnam building","st. louis","chuck taylor","kelly duepner","buzzy energy","midwest","marketing coordinator","moxie solar","texas","missouri","amy gill","lead architect","ohio","davenport","illinois","kansas","wisconsin","building industry","railing","employee","building","rooftop","hotel","patio"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"images":[{"id":"a916825a-ece5-517f-95a8-3e6ed48fa8cd","description":"LED lighting has been installed on the outside of the Current Iowa, the hotel that opens on July 26 in the former Putnam Building. 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Before it was the Putnam Building, the site at the intersection of 2nd and Main streets was the LeClaire House Hotel, Davenport's first hotel.\u00a0","byline":"Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES","hireswidth":1958,"hiresheight":1057,"hiresurl":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04bf8c8-54a6-5643-9d8f-213d5a28de15/5972527f1aba3.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1958","height":"1057","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04bf8c8-54a6-5643-9d8f-213d5a28de15/5972527f19adc.image.jpg?resize=1958%2C1057"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"54","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04bf8c8-54a6-5643-9d8f-213d5a28de15/5972527f19adc.image.jpg?resize=100%2C54"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"162","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04bf8c8-54a6-5643-9d8f-213d5a28de15/5972527f19adc.image.jpg?resize=300%2C162"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"553","url":"https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/f/04/f04bf8c8-54a6-5643-9d8f-213d5a28de15/5972527f19adc.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C553"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"f09b6e6d-25d5-531a-80ce-f40539039be1","body":"

1. The Current Iowa sits on the site of the first hotel built west of the Mississippi River.

2. Up, The Current's rooftop bar and restaurant, provides unmatched views of downtown Davenport and the Mississippi River from its outdoor patio, outfitted with six fire pits, and glassed-in restaurant. From the ground, passersby cannot see it, because historic guidelines prohibit it from extending to the roof's edge. It might seem like a new thing for the Q-C, but the Putnam building had a rooftop lounge back in 1912. \"With the addition of modern amenities and a glass railing, we did everything we could to recreate the historic patio,\" according to Theresa Greene, Restoration St. Louis' marketing coordinator.

3. Current guests need not worry about ice or snow at the main hotel door off Main Street. The sidewalk was removed, and heating coils were added to keep it from freezing.

4. The hotel generates its own power with a solar array installed by Moxie Solar, a North Liberty-based company with Davenport operations. On a partially-sunny day, it produces enough energy to power the hotel.

5. Even the staff uniforms are seen as pieces of art. Employees will wear dark jeans, gingham-style shirts and converse Chuck Taylor shoes. Contrary to traditional company policy, employees' tattoos are allowed to be visible.\u00a0

6. Amy Gill's definition of Midwest art pulls from at least 10 states, including Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming and Michigan.

7.\u00a0The Current Iowa's architects also got into the artistic spirit. A geographic-designed wall in the lobby is a concept created by the building's lead architect, Kelly Duepner.\u00a0

8. The Reserve, the hotel's private tequila aging and tasting room (there's wine, too), offers every brand the State of Iowa is licensed to sell.

9. In the lobby, you'll see a set of the building's original and intact marble steps and iron railing, as well as marble floors.\u00a0

10. What's in a name? The Current, according to marketing staff, comes from the \"buzzy energy that imbues every square foot of the building,\" the hotel's focus on offering a contemporary experience and \"the literal movement of the nearby majestic Mississippi River.\"\u00a0

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iWireless is extending its sponsorship with the iWireless Center in Moline for at least the next two years.

The company previously announced it would end its 10-year contract with the arena that shares its name. The original contract ended in July.\u00a0

\"The name isn't changing,\" iWireless Center executive director Scott Mullen\u00a0said. \"At the end of the day, iWireless is the best path to go down right now. We had that in our back pocket as an option if we didn't get an attractive deal.\"\u00a0

Shortly after the April 2016 announcement that iWireless could cut ties with the arena, the Illinois Quad-City Civic Center Authority board hired\u00a0a consulting firm, Impressions Sports & Entertainment, to\u00a0find a new naming-rights partner.

Mullen said deals were considered with four area companies, including Genesis Health Systems, but each of those deals \"ultimately wasn't anything that made sense to both parties.\"\u00a0

\"Genesis, like most of the other organizations in the area, considered it and determined it wasn't an appropriate fit,\" said Ken Croken,\u00a0chief marketing officer of Genesis Health Systems.

In the meantime, iWireless Center staff and the consulting firm will continue the search for a new naming-rights partner.\u00a0

\"If we see something better, we'll go for that,\" Mullen said. \"In that case, iWireless would have no problem stepping aside.\"\u00a0

Mullen did not disclose specific financial arrangements for the two-year sponsorship extension, though he said, \"iWireless has more than fairly compensated us.\"\u00a0

The previous 10-year sponsorship with iWireless included a contract of $4.25 million, or $425,000 in annual support.

The partnership began in 2005, when iWireless acquired naming rights, changing the venue's name from The Mark of the Quad-Cities. The Mark opened in 1993 at a cost of $33.4 million.\u00a0That was about the time the mobile network operator shortened its title from Iowa Wireless.

iWireless initially wanted to step away from the contract because the company moved to the Des Moines area, Mullen said.\u00a0

\"They're not here to take advantage of the suites, so they wanted to spend their money in other places,\" he said.\u00a0

Mullen said the iWireless Center announced the contract's end last year \"to stir up some interest.\"\u00a0

At this point, he's glad \"they agreed to stick around for awhile.\"\u00a0

\"It costs a lot of money to change the sign outside, the logos and the uniforms when when you're rebranding,\" Mullen said. \"You want it to be the right deal if it's a long term deal.\u00a0We didn't want to change the name just to change it again.\"

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As a \"nervous first-time mom,\" Caroline O'Sullivan-Jens remembers being picky about preschool.

After asking around and \"polling other parents,\" she sent her two kids to the Family Museum's preschool program.\u00a0

\"I wanted them to have a well-rounded education and that's what they got,\" O'Sullivan-Jens\u00a0said. \"My kids knew who Jackson Pollock was when they were 5. It's amazing what they were exposed to at such a young age.\"\u00a0

Her kids, Ever and Gibson, are now in middle school and high school, but O'Sullivan-Jens hasn't left the Family Museum. She has served as the facility's guest services coordinator since 2010.\u00a0

\"I got a job here because I love it so much,\" she said. \"I've seen it from both sides, as a patron and employee, and there's just something so special about this place. It's magical.\"\u00a0

O'Sullivan-Jens, a native of Canada who moved to the U.S. in 1998, worked her way up from a part-time position, working at the museum on the weekends, to her current role, where she manages the front desk staff, stocks the museum store, helps plan events, monitors memberships and more.\u00a0

\"My favorite part is what other people would say is scary about my job,\" she said. \"I never know what's going to happen each day \u2014\u00a0there's always so many things going on.\"\u00a0

Even more is going on this week, as O'Sullivan-Jens and other staff get ready to celebrate the museum's 20th anniversary on Learning Campus Drive with Paint the Lot, an event on Saturday in which the public is invited to paint the facility's parking lot with splashes of color.\u00a0

The idea came from Kim Kidwell, who has served as the museum's director for two years and has worked full-time there since 2007. She still co-teaches a 3-year-old preschool class.\u00a0

\"We were looking for something fun that families can do together, rather than parents just drop off the kids and leave,\" Kidwell said. \"We also like to do stuff you wouldn't do at home because it's too messy.\"\u00a0

The paint won't fade away anytime soon.\u00a0

\"We're using house paint, so it's pretty permanent,\" O'Sullivan-Jens said. \"Visitors are going to see it every time they park here until the salt trucks and snow plows come out in the winter.\"\u00a0

Because of that, the first-time event is \"a little risky.\"\u00a0

\"It's something we've never done before and I'm sure we'll have everything from hand prints to names being written to masterpieces,\" she said.\u00a0

It's worth the risk to celebrate \"20 years of play\" in a big way.

\"This is an expression of what we do,\" O'Sullivan-Jens said. \"We let families express themselves. No\u00a0matter how old you are, you can come here and be creative -- and you can\u00a0leave your mark.\"\u00a0

The community event also is a chance to spread awareness about the Family Museum's offerings, including an outdoor play area, permanent exhibits, drop-in classes, dance classes and family nights.\u00a0

\"Even though people think of it as a Bettendorf museum, it's for everyone in the Quad-Cities and all over,\" she said.\u00a0

She said people from across the country have in recent months visited the Family Museum to see its traveling exhibit,\u00a0\"Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit.\"\u00a0

\"It's astounding to me that for 20 years this museum has been enriching people's lives in this spot,\" she said. \"I'm just really proud of it.\"\u00a0

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River Music Experience hosted Kidstock, a summer music program for kids ages 8-18, again this summer, sticking to a simple note: Letting kids be rock stars.

Campers are wrapping up a week of workshops and lessons taught by area musicians and led by Bret Dale, RME's director of programming and education. The students formed a band with fellow campers and will finish the program with a performance in front of their friends and families at noon Saturday at the Redstone Room, 129 N. Main St., Davenport.\u00a0

Similar to Kidstock, RME will hold its\u00a0annual Winter Blues program, featuring vocal and instrumental workshops with a focus on blues music composition and improvisation, in December. Sessions are open to area musicians ages 8-18. The program, which cost $175,\u00a0runs the last week of December and concludes with a blues jam in the Redstone Room.\u00a0

For information about Kidstock and other educational programs offered by RME, visit rivermusicexperience.org.

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