Danielle Clouse Honored At Reception
The ever-changing land-scape of northwest Iowa is what provided Danielle Clouse with her inspiration to create several paintings. Now, those paintings are hanging in the offices of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor in the Statehouse in Des Moines.
Iowa Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge came to Spirit Lake last Wednesday night for a public reception to honor Clouse and sculptor Ken Peterson at the Pearson Lakes Art Center as part of the Iowa Artist Showcase. The showcase is held every four months in the Lt. Governor’s Formal Office in the State Capitol, and features works of art submitted by Iowa artists.
Lt. Governor Judge, who selects the arts to be displayed, explained the showcase program, during the reception.
“Every year, thousands of people come to Des Moines to visit the state capitol,” Judge said. “While most people think of the State Capitol building as the home of state government, it is actually a work of art in itself, as well as a showcase of art.”
Judge noted that from the gold dome to the Italian frescoes and other works of art in the structure, the Capitol provides a perfect showplace for art created by Iowans. But finding that art started out as somewhat of a challenge.
“Both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor get to choose the art that they want to have displayed in their offices on the first floor of the Capitol,” Judge said. “I went to the State Historical Building to look for this art, but I had a lot of trouble finding pictures that were not of old dead white men, with a lot of whiskers.”
Judge said after that, she decided to create the Artists’ Showcase, in order to use the display space for something good. “This gives Iowa artists a chance to showcase their art, and also it lets visitors to our capitol see what is going on in our state.”
According to the Lieutenant Governor, the Artists Showcase is all about showing what Iowa offers.
“It is so important that in this fast-paced world, where we work too hard and too long, that we take time to celebrate what makes us special, what makes us human,” Judge said. “That is that we have minds and we have spirit, so we need to understand and nuture those ideals for our children and for ourselves, and art allows us to do that.”
Judge continued, “The artwork we have chosen here is unique, diverse and it tells our story. It shows us that the arts are alive and well in Iowa. We know that when an area has vibrant arts, it prospers as well.”
For Clouse, who was born and raised in Ruthven and graduated from Ruthven-Ayrshire High School, the selection of her paintings is a unique honor. After receiving her Associate of Arts Degree from Iowa Lakes Community College in May of 2004, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Northwest Missouri State University with an emphasis in painting and ceramics in 2007.
“In college, my instructors told me to head for the cities to find work,” Clouse said, “But I knew right away that I wanted to come back to Iowa, especially Northwest Iowa and keep creating art, so I made that a challenge to myself to do that and I’m very happy that I’ve been able to do that.”
Drawing on the landscapes of Northwest Iowa, Clouse came up with the paintings selected by the Lieutentent Governor.
“I call this series of works rural abstractions,” Clouse explained. “All of these paintings are derived either literally or based on ideas of scenes here in northwest Iowa. It’s a treat for me to be able to pick out sections of Iowa in this way and present them in an abstract style. For me, this area just provides endless material to draw from. I’m influenced by my day-to-day experiences.”
The daughter of John and Rose Clouse of Ruthven, Danielle is the assistant curator at the Pearson Lakes Art Center and she currently works out of her home studio in Spirit Lake.
“I’ll never run out of ideas for paintings in this area. The change of seasons, the change of the day all provide me with an endless palette of colors,” Clouse said. “I’m just so very thankful for the opportunity to have my work displayed in the state capitol.”