Rockin’ For the Arts fundraiser enjoyed community support

Food, music, artwork and raising money for art preservation and programs constituted this weekend’s Rockin’ For the Arts fundraiser hosted by the Central Iowa Art Association (CIAA) at the Fisher Community Center.

A live and silent auction was held to raise money to build and maintain the organization’s youth art programs, as well as preserve its Ceramics Study Collection that recently saw the acquisition of 76 new pieces.

The ceramics collection, established in the 1970s by Eason Eige, former CIAA director, has been expanded to include pieces from Canada, Cameroon, Egypt, England, Spain and other countries. Works range in age from 1,500 years old to the Funk Art Movement of the 1960s and ’70s. An Egyptian “Answer” statue dates to 500-600 B.C.E. and is covered in an expansive amount of hieroglyphs. The newly acquired pieces were on public display for the first time during the event.

Board members Dennis Houlihan and Mike Gilchrist secured the pieces by making a journey to Eige’s home in New Mexico last month, when it was learned the former director was in possession of pieces he wanted to be given to the collection he once oversaw.

“This is one of the most complete ceramics collections in the world,” Houlihan said in a previous interview with the T-R.

In addition to the new ceramics pieces, attendees got to tour the Impressionist Art Gallery of artwork which includes pieces from legendary art world figures including Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas and Henri Matisse.

“I can honestly say the CIAA and focus on art this community has is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else I have been,” said CIAA president Mary Ellen Mondi.

A live auction included a three night stay in London, original artwork, Zeno’s Pizza for a year and more.

The silent auction had original artwork starting as low as $10, and included paintings, stained glass and photography.

Private golf lessons and meal packages were offered as well.

CIAA board member Renata Pecar was presented with a framed rendering of the Marshalltown courthouse to serve as a souvenir of her time living in the community.

Hors d’oeuvres included tomato/basil/cheese on skewers, mini cupcakes as well as meatballs made by Jack’s Pho House.

Live entertainment was provided by Nightwings, playing hits from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

An exhibit was on display to include the artwork of children who participate in the organization’s art programs, complete with posters containing the quotes of these youngsters on what art means to them.

Mondi said she was pleased with the diverse turnout of folks from the community coming out to support the arts.

“I love that there are individuals who are reconnecting with the CIAA seeing the new ceramics … we are putting the CIAA back on the map … The renaissance is afoot,” she concluded.

The organization is working towards securing museum status accreditation.