Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 11, 1999

Fragile Giants exhibit to go to D.C.

by Marilyn Vaughan, University Museums

Land of the Fragile Giants: Loess Hills in Western Iowa, an art exhibit exploring the unique aspects of Iowa's Loess Hills, has received an invitation from Sen. Tom Harkin for a stay in the nation's capital.

The exhibit, which was organized by University Museums and toured the state from 1994 to 1996, will be on display in the central rotunda of the Russell Building in Washington, D.C., for about a week, starting July 12.

Twenty-five Loess Hills landscapes from 100 works of art commissioned for the original exhibit will be on display. In January 2000, the exhibit will move to the Department of Interior Museum and stay there through March.

The Land of the Fragile Giants Washington exhibit is part of an effort by Harkin and Sen. Charles Grassley to generate awareness of the Loess Hills and support to turn the hills into a national park. They recently intro-duced a bill into the U.S. Senate calling for the National Park Service to appropriate $275,000 to study the hills.

The Loess Hills were created thousands of years ago by windblown grains of quartz silt. Stretching across seven Iowa counties for 200 miles, the hills are home to many endangered species, and plants and animals not common to the Midwest. There are only two other places in the world with similar silt-formed hills -- in China and Germany.

The exhibit, Land of the Fragile Giants: Landscapes, Environments and Peoples of the Loess Hills, marked a milestone in the hills' history. About 150,000 people viewed Loess Hills-inspired art in eight Iowa locations, from Moorhead, a town of 250 in the heart of the hills, to the State Historical Museum in Des Moines. In addition to the artists, the project involved scientists, poets, farmers, historians and musicians.

The artists whose works are on display in Washington are Keith Achepohl, William Barnes, Gary Bowling, Dennis Dykema, Douglas Eckheart, Steve Hernnstadt, Keith Jacobshagen, Carl Kurtz, Richard Leet, Bobbie McKibbin, Elizabeth Miller, Concetta Morales, Genie Hudson Patrick, Don Poggensee, John Preston, John Spence, Tom Stancliffe and Don Wishart.

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