Pearson Lakes Art Center

I Explored Art
by Rebecca Peters

This week I visited the Pearson Lakes Art Center.  I explored the multiple visual arts galleries, classrooms, performing arts theatre, and gift shop filled with original artwork from local artists.  Then, I went back later in the day to take the Wine 101 culinary arts education class!

Holly, the Education Director at the art center, gave me a great tour of the entire building.  We started in the Bud & Bev Pearson Gallery to explore the 3rd largest collection of Russian Impressionist art outside of Russia!  Holly told me about Russian artists of the time, and why their work was so unique.  They painted images of landscapes and common people in normal environments.  Unlike art found in other other parts of the world at the time, Russian work showcased normal people, not the elite of society!

We then moved on to four additional galleries that rotate artists every 2-3 months.  Currently, there is a great collection of pottery from Beth Cathcart that was paired with paintings from local visual artists.  There is also a wonderful exhibit by Beverly Pearson with complimenting pieces from the Pearson Art Foundation Collection.  This exhibit illustrates the inspiration and evolution of an artist.  My favorite pieces were Bev’s floral watercolors!  Yet another gallery was filled with the works of longtime collector, Patty Davis.  The variety of work she collected consists of tiny paintings, pottery, bronze sculptures, watercolors, and more!  It’s a wonderful addition to the Pearson Lakes Art Center.

Then we toured the classrooms!  The art center aims to not only inspire people to appreciate art, but also to create it!  Classes (normally) take place all year long to give everyone from children to adults an opportunity to learn more about art and create something beautiful.  There is a weekly pottery class coming up in April that I just might try!  To my friends & family, if I take this class you will all get one-of-a-kind pottery created by me next Christmas!!!

We also toured the the 288 seat theatre that has welcomed Grammy award-winning musicians year after year.  The theatre creates an intimate environment that allows audience members to feel a part of each show!

I had such a wonderful tour that I stopped back later in the evening to participate in the latest culinary arts class – Wine 101.  Our class was limited in size to allow for social distance, and we learned the basics of wine while we sampled a number of varieties.

Hear more about this adventure in the Vacation Okoboji podcast!

I hope you visit the Pearson Lakes Art Center.  It’s fun (and FREE) to take a stroll through the galleries and look at beautiful art. Some pieces will make you smile, and some will make you wrinkle your forehead and wonder what the artist was thinking.  That’s ok!  Visit the Pearson Lakes Art Center to find some paintings that make you smile, and consider signing up for a class to inspire you further!  Learn more about the Pearson Lakes Art Center and other fun adventures in the Iowa Great Lakes area at

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