Bruce Walters has created another massive vertical painting to adorn the side of the German American Heritage Center at 2nd and Gaines streets in Davenport.
His 30-foot-by-10-foot painting on canvas of a male gymnast on the rings is now displayed on the building's north exterior, in conjunction with a new exhibit at the center, “Sound Mind Sound Body: Turnverein Traditions.” Both will remain up through Sept. 15. The museum exhibit was made possible by Humanities Iowa.
Walters did a similarly sized mural of jazz great and Davenport native Bix Beiderbecke on the side of the center for an exhibit three years ago. He has been an art professor at Western Illinois University for the past 21 years, and has taught art for 33 years.
The new exhibit pays tribute to the Turnverein, nicknamed the Turners in the U.S., which began as a fraternal organization in Germany. The group focused on physical education, acrobatics, and exercising the mind.
German immigrants brought to the Quad-Cities the teachings and organization of the Turnverein, which fit well with American teachings on liberty, according to the museum.
Turnverein -- from the German "turnen," meaning “to practice gymnastics," and "verein," meaning "club or union" -- was founded by the German teacher and patriot Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in Berlin in 1811, according to Britannica.com.
“Their teachings of a sound mind in a sound body reverberated within American culture, and many of the Turner teachings permeated into schools, politics, and business,” according to information from the museum.
The exhibit is on the third floor of the center and included with regular admission: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children, free for members. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. It is closed on Mondays. For more information, call 563-322-8844 or visit gahc.org.
Walters’ artwork is in prominent local museum collections, including the center, Augustana Teaching Museum of Art, Bix Beiderbecke Museum & World Archives, Figge Art Museum, John Hauberg Museum of Native American Life, the Rock Island Arsenal Museum, Rock Island and Bettendorf Library collections, and Western Illinois University.
Regionally, his work has been exhibited at the Des Moines Art Center, Madison Art Center and Millennium Park, Chicago. Internationally, his work has been included in the Uster Festival of Art & Design, Ulster University, Belfast; Geddes Institute for Urban Research, University of Dundee, Scotland; and Tate Modern, London.