The sculptures are beginning to land.
By May 7, there will be 11 student-made sculptures roosting in the Village of East Davenport as part of the fourth annual Village in Bloom arts festival.
The festival was founded by Donna Young, the artist who creates today's Isabel Bloom sculptures, as a tribute to the Blooms — Isabel, whose legacy is her concrete sculptures, and her husband, John, who also was an artist, creating paintings in the Regionalist style he shared with Grant Wood. The festival also intends to encourage young people to enjoy art.
As part of the festival, area art teachers are invited to apply for grants of $200 to help students create sculptures that are displayed on 11th Street during the festival, then auctioned.
Among the teachers involved this year is Stacey Houk, whose students in the after-school Stepping Stones program at Jackson Elementary School, Davenport, made a 5-foot creation named "Wacky Bird." It was delivered to the Bloom store on Thursday.
Sculpture guidelines require that the works be made primarily of repurposed and recycled materials because that is what Isabel did in her work, Young said.
"She melted broken glass from car windshields to form eyes for her sculptures and stored them according to size in empty egg cartons," she said while helping to unload "Wacky Bird" from a pickup. "We still do that."
Sculptures also must follow a theme — this year it is "Flight of Fancy."
Materials used to make "Wacky Bird" include a metal bucket for the body, a Styrofoam ball for the head, rulers and yard sticks for the tail feathers and a tripod for the legs.
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But the piece de resistance is a decorative windmill head that Houk found along the road as she was driving to school about a week-and-a-half ago.
"It was like it dropped from heaven. I really wasn't sure what we were going to use in that part," she said, gesturing to the tail end of the bird.
And because she used only $40 of the grant money to buy supplies, she had money left over to buy animal books for the school.
The festival will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7 in the Village, with 11th Street blocked off between Mound Street and Jersey Ridge Road.
In addition to the sculptures that will be displayed on large electrical wire spools, there will be live performances by singers, instrumentalists, puppeteers and dancers; student art work; face painting, mural making; clowns; and food to purchase.
Professional actor Tom Milligan of Des Moines will perform a one-person play on the life of artist Grant Wood, whose 125th birthday is this year, Young said.
And in the village's historic fire station, children will be able to color a page depicting one of John Bloom's paintings and create a flower sculpture by putting concrete in the shaped bottom of a plastic pop container.
Other schools contributing sculptures are Jefferson, Buchanan, Washington, Walcott and McKinley elementary schools, Sudlow Intermediate, North and Central high schools and the Creative Arts Academy, all in Davenport, and Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf.