Art exhibit in Oskaloosa is part of a bigger plan

The Oskaloosa Art Center is hosting an exhibit with art from eight different states around the country. Photo courtesy of Matt Kargol.

Artists from across the country will have their work displayed in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Its part of the “Visible/Invisible” opening exhibition at the new Oskaloosa Art Center and Studios at 115 1st Avenue in Oskaloosa. A reception starts at 6 p.m. today with over 20 artists from eight states will have work in the new space, which features a professional and hallway gallery.

The exhibit closes with another reception, from 6-8 p.m Oct. 28.

Matt Kargol curated the show and is a native of Oskaloosa. He’s the Oskaloosa Art Center gallery coordinator and a high school art teacher at Oskaloosa High School for six years.

He said the new space once belonged to the Eagles Club but now has a ceramic and printmaking studio, large classroom and the Oskaloosa Art Store.

“Being a teacher here I realized that with my students how they haven’t been anywhere to see what’s out there,” Kargol said. “So we’re trying to bring that to Oskaloosa.”

The art center is part of the nonprofit organization FACE (Fine Arts and Cultural Events) of Mahaska County.

Kargol said he didn’t want this art exhibit to be super representational and that he wanted to give his hometown something that will stretch their understanding of art.

Especially his students.

“There’s something special about communities where there are a lot of creative type people,” Kargol says. “We (His wife and him) have lived in places where they have invested in the arts and in their artists, it makes such a difference in the community.”

A salon for artists

Valerie Van Horne is one of several artists from Iowa having work in the show and the founder of River View Artist Salon, which hosts monthly meetings for artists to network and promote their work.

She said Kargol is a member of her salon that’s hosts its monthly event at the Des Moines Social Club; It has nearly 300 members.

“He was shocked by the outpouring of people who are participating in his show,” she says. “It’s his first major fine art show in this brand new art center.”

And Van Horne says more towns like Oskaloosa are hosting art shows.

“This isn’t the first town that’s reached out to me,” she explains. “In Jefferson, the same thing. They reached out to me through Facebook and just rolled out the carpet for artists that day.”

She said community members in Jefferson told her they are hoping to have murals painted on the tops of buildings and had already started one.