When Tillage Begins*:
The Stone City Art Colony and School

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Grant Wood Country - Matsell Bridge County Park
© Linda & Robert Scarth

The 1930's were both the depths of the Great Depression and the time in which Regionalism in art flourished, especially in the U.S. Midwest. The Stone City Art Colony and School (1932-1933) was one of the nurseries to artists of the Midwest. Some of the artists of that time remain almost household names, Grant Wood among them. Some went on to careers in teaching as well as practicing their art.  Untold numbers of their students benefited by the summers their teachers had spent in one of the most picturesque spots in Iowa. Other colony participants were known only to their families and local communities. 

This electronic work is dedicated to the group of artists who were The Stone City Art Colony and School.  This art colony, situated in a small rural, eastern Iowa community, was one of the more interesting endeavors of the time. It, like most utopian or idyllic efforts, was short-lived, operating only for two summers. Its contributions were longer-lived, if little known. It is our hope that those who read about the colony members included here will contact us with additions, corrections, photographs and information on others connected with the colony so that this can be a living and growing tribute.

In May 2008, we added another collection of individual pages of artists known to have participated in the Stone City Art Colony and School. The project started with the well known photograph by John W. Barry, Jr. of some of the artists who attended in 1932. Many of those added were found because of lists published in newspapers.

We also took this opportunity to make some additions, corrections and cosmetic improvements to the entire work. The pages for the original group from the Barry photograph still have cream backgrounds. The added artists have soft sage green backgrounds. The wonder of electronic works is that they continue to be a work in progress in the best sense of the phrase.

LLS - Editor

When Tillage Begins: The Stone City Art Colony and School
ISBN 0-9718109-1-5
Published online October 2003 by the
Busse Library
Mount Mercy University
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Telephone: 319-368-6465
Email: library@mtmercy.edu

Researcher & Author: Kristy Raine
Library Director: Marilyn Murphy
Editor & Web Designer: Linda Scarth
©Busse Library 2003-2017

* from a speech by Daniel Webster




This electronic work in the second published by the Busse Library.  The first - Iowa: A Literary Landscape - is a bibliography of fiction in which Iowa is the setting.