The Ames underground is still alive in the summer months

Borrowed from The Ames Progressive

Nate Logsdon and the Ames Progressive continue to be active during the summer months, even when many other venues slow down or even fall off the map.  Logsdon continues to book shows and recruit local musicians throughout the summer and doesn’t let the opportunity to see live music die out.

“Ames is doing great, there are tons of great bands and artists and they really embrace it… from my perspective, Ames has an amazing music scene.” said Logsdon.

The Ames Progressive is a non-profit organization whose purpose to help to provide resources for local artists and musicians and to help stimulate the local cultural economy. It’s a hidden gem tucked away behind the Subway in Campustown but is strikingly active in the art and music realm of the Ames underground.

“It’s definitely to stimulate culture in Ames and provide resources for local artists.” says Logsdon, “There are resources for people in Ames who are looking to perform or publish, or are looking for an outlet for their creativity.”

The venue is an extremely active stage and hosts bands 3 or 4 times a week. Although they most often stage local bands, the Ames Progressive is proud to have showcased bands from all over the United States and the world including touring groups from New Zealand, Australia, England, and Canada.

Fortunately for local bands, Logsdon actively seeks out local talent and tries to recruit them for his stage, “If you’re in a band and you want to play a show, we’ll host you at the Ames progressive.” says Logsdon.

Although it is best known for its music, it also hosts art shows, workspace classes, and even rents rehearsal space to bands. The Ames Progressive also publishes a magazine that prints every month while school is in session and once during the summer.

The magazine itself contains articles about Ames culture, music, art, and political commentary along with poetry and short stories. It also features interviews on occasion, with notable guests like Ralph Nader and Bill Ayers.

Logsdon built the Ames Progressive from the ground up.  It all started in January 2008 with just a few of his friends donating their time and money to help boost the Ames music scene. It began to grow, and eventually picked up to the point that it could be its own self-sustaining organization through sponsorship and ticket sales.

Logsdon spends most of is time performing and promoting local bands and strongly disagrees with the common perception that Ames has no good live music.

“I feel that Ames as a music scene has progressed in the past few years and I feel that there have been a lot of good vibes and good music and I feel very proud to be from Ames.”

The Ames Progressive employs a rotating cast of about 12 to 15 volunteers and continues to grow and has even hosted major underground musicians like Ancient Ribbons, Paeleo, and Dr. Manhattan.

Logsdon encourages anyone interested in booking this intimate venue to contact him via

When: Almost every night of the week

Where: The Ames Progressive:

How Much: $5 for most shows, some are free


80/35 is here!

Source: 80/35

Compiled by Kaleb Warnock

80/35 is a summer music festival hosted by the Des Moines Music Coalition that features prominent regional and national musicians.  The festival is a celebration of musical culture in Des Moines that incorporates a wide variety of acts including rock, blues, punk and hip-hop.

There will be 3 different stages to showcase some 40 acts that will be performing 12 hours of music on both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend.

Along with over 40 other acts, the headlining acts at the Wellmark Main Stage will include:


–       Slightly Stoopid

–       Spoon


–       The Cool Kids

–       Modest Mouse

–       The featured Ames band, The Workshy

Check online for specific performance sequences and times.

The festival will also feature attractions like local art, food and drink vendors, band merchandise, and resting places for weary attendees.  Western Gateway Park is in the heart of Des Moines and within walking distance of shopping, food, and Grey’s Lake Park.

As always, Des Moines has an astounding variety of food to offer.  80/35 will have everything from corn dogs, steak, Mexican food, pizza, and barbecue along with a sweet variety of cold drinks and alcoholic beverages.

If you’re looking for a place to park, there are garages and lots nearby and there are also places for free bike parking as well.

Anyone who still needs tickets can get them online at $35 and $60 for one and two day passes respectively.  The ticket prices go up the day of the event, so be sure the get them early.

Largest mural on campus tells more than one story

Photo by Bob Elbert

Iowa State University’s largest mural The Healing Tree by Minnesota artist Michaela Mahady was recently completed at the new Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center.

The project was set into motion in fall of 2007 and was completed this May under the Art in State Buildings Committee. The mural was part of the Art in State Buildings law that requires that .05% of all funds for public buildings be set aside for public art, according to the committee chair Kevin Flaming.

“One of my goals was to be able to not be ashamed of our artwork. I feel good about this artwork… I want to have something we can be proud of.” says Flaming.

The Healing Tree is an etched glass portrait that covers much glass in the front of the Lloyd Center and depicts the history of the veterinary medical School.  The largest image is in the front window of the animal hospital and takes up over two stories of glass and continues down the window of the front corridor.

The artwork is based on what Mahady calls the “web of life” and the circular motif that dominates the form stems from the idea that the sun is the giver of all life through photosynthesis and the transfer of its energy. The circle is completed by the consumption of the plant life by the animals, and their eventual return to the soil from which they came.

The mural is an intricate piece of art that draws in passers by and poses questions about the nature of the images. As the mural continues down the front corridor to the small animal hospital, it progresses backwards in the history of the school concluding with an old horse and buggy veterinary ambulance.

Along the bottom of the corridor is a series of detailed etchings that depict photographs of medical instruments, x rays, and views through a microscope that not only draw in viewers for a closer look, but also lay the foundation for the artwork to reaffirm the responsibilities of the profession. The larger images above the small etchings depict the different aspects of veterinary medicine and progresses backwards in the history of the school. The mural concludes with an old horse and buggy veterinary ambulance.

Although Mahady was the primary designer of the work, she also collaborated with faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine and the student body. Actual photos from the school, and some suggestions from the faculty inspired many of the images in the mural.

Michaela Mahady was chosen as the artist because of her previous artwork at Iowa State and her sensitivity as an architect. Mahady has also done the etching at LeBaron hall and the dairy barn here on campus. The windows at Lloyd, Lebaron, and the dairy barn was all done through sandblasting. The process was done through a series of overlaying stencils that were then sandblasted layer by layer to create the different textures and designs.

Mahady also has an appreciation for the work of Christian Peterson, the sculptor of the Fountain of the Four Seasons and The Marriage Ring in front of Mckay Hall along with many other human sculptures on campus. He is known for his lifelike sculptures and emotional depth within his works that inspired the characters and detail in Mahady’s artwork.

“Petersen sculptures are people… the figures speak to people because they are so emotionally reverent.” says Mahady.

Her admiration for the work of Petersen is apparent in her works on campus and helps to contribute to the emotional depth and personality that maintains the strong public art tradition here on campus.

Market Day promotes aspiring local art scene

A vintage Johnny Cash LP plays above the mellow din of voices muffled by the whitewashed walls, worn wooden floor and exposed insulation on the ceiling. The bare bones vibe was the intention of the make/break — a Des Moines based art platform to promote local creativity and critique — and their Market Day event.

The monthly event aims to give local artists who would not normally think of selling their work the opportunity to showcase their craft.

Sunlight glimmers off stained glass and handmade jewelry through the huge factory window that offers the only significant source of light. The location is actually a working warehouse they clear once a month for Market Day.

The atmosphere offers a comfortable, but packed-in vibe, because of the close quarters of the narrow aisles, overflowing booths and lively conversation of patrons and artists.

More than 30 vendors were packed shoulder to shoulder in the warehouse shipping room — sometimes the vendors overlap, and are only distinct because of their unique objects.

There are no birdhouses or cornhusk art, picket fences or watering cans here — this event is intended to be different from the traditional Iowa craft show. The artists here offer something more avant-garde in the handcraft world.

Market Day features a variety of uncommon handmade items. The vendors offered items from jewelry and clothing to pottery and even things made from molded vinyl records.

Lara Newsom, a local freelance designer, introduced a product she called “cactus flower balls,” which is a ball pillow made from assorted types of recycled cloth and leftover materials from making children’s clothing.

“Basically I have piles of crap everywhere and they inspire me,” Newsom said.

Many of the artifacts at Market Day started as leftover material or a different idea that, through experimentation, evolved into a finished product. Like Newsom, many of the artists use recycled materials in their products.

Scott and Cat Kubie — also known as Scott and Cat Rocketship — organized this event through their art organization make/break.

They hoped to introduce hand-made goods as an alternative to department store products.

“We’ve noticed the community has a fear of shopping for creative goods,” Cat said. “We want to give them something to be a regular part of their lives.”

They also hope to boost the local art scene by combining handcrafts and art and introduce a style to the community not featured in the traditional art gallery. From what Cat calls “yelling about art,” she hopes to inspire local artists and educate through her studio and her own art.

Make/break invites more artists to apply to exhibit at Market Day because there is a rolling deadline open to anyone. It hopes to bring up the standards of local crafts and promote aspiring artists in the future.

Where: The warehouse, 300 Southwest 5th Street, Des Moines.

When: The last Friday of every month through October, and Black Friday

Cost: Free admission

Left Bank Studio breathes life into still life

By Kaleb Warnock

Left Bank Studio hosted its art show “All About the Garden” in cooperation with Wheatsfied Grocery last Friday at the Wheatsfield Grocery store.  It may seem like an unusual partnership, but it was a productive liaison through the discovery of an unusually intriguing, common denominator: vegetables.

Left Bank Studio is owned and operated by local artist Jo Myers-Walker.  Myers-Walker has taught watercolor in France, Cuba, and briefly lectured at Iowa State, and has been teaching and painting here in the Ames area for nearly 30 years.

Along with creating and selling her own art, Myers-Walker teaches a comprehensive art class in her studio that incorporates multiple aspects of painting technique ranging from composition and light, to depth and brush technique.

The assignment for this session of the class was to compose a still life painting based on an arrangement of vegetables donated to the studio by the Wheatsfield grocery store.

Still life is a genre of art that is based on simple subject matter, typically fruit or flowers, against contrasting objects such as pottery or glassware.  Although still life ranges between several mediums, the appointed medium for this show was watercolor.

Myers-Walker’s focus primarily on watercolor in her own work and has recently been studying the still life genre and developed a new appreciation for the style.  “I studied out in Connecticut and came back with an interest in still life I never thought I had.”  says Myers-Walker.

A new appreciation for still life seemed to be the theme at the art show last Friday.  At first glance, still life looks rather plain because it is afterall, still life.  However, after a close examination of each artist’s interpretation of the same subject matter, one may rethink what is truly meant by the term still life.

Although each of the artists present painted the same vegetable arrangement, one could be easily forget that they used the same subject matter because each artist took on a unique interpretation of the same pile of produce.

The student artist Ruth Graves explains the personal touches and individual interpretation of the assignment that bring the life into the still life.  “We got the old veggies from Wheatsfield, and we artists get to make them come alive again with a fresh view.”  says Graves.

The multiple paintings of the same subject matter brought out the differences in techniques and styles incorporated into each work.  Each of the artists described their compositions from their own perspective and revealed the true depth to still life art.

The Left Bank Studio is owned and operated by local artist Jo Myers-Walker from an old bank building in Gilbert, Iowa.  The building contains her studio and artwork and provides a unique atmosphere which as been described as a “creative oasis”.

This artwork will be shown later this summer again at the Ames Public Library.  Jo Myers-Walker can be contacted at and you can find more information on her watercolor class at

The next assignment for the Left Bank Studio promises to be equally as indulgent because it will be still life based on Stam

Ruth Graves describes the intricacies of her work.

chocolate and the show will be hosted at the Stam shop on Main Street toward the end of July.

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