Featured Artists

Emily Verdoorn

Emily Verdoorn has loved drawing and making things for as long as she can remember. As a child, it was simply unselfconscious enjoyment which encouraged me to make. Gradually, she discovered drawing as a means to more deeply engage with the world around her. Most often, her drawings come from time spent paying attention to the seasons and liturgies of places. Through this she collect marks, textures, patterns, colors, and lines which inform her process.

 

For Emily, making is a process of listening and observing; a quiet conversation with the places, spaces, and the natural world around her. Emily received a BFA in Visual Art from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS, in 2017 and she continues to develop her process living and working in Des Moines, Iowa.

Jen Loeb

Jen Loeb was born and raised in Iowa, where she still resides today. She attended Wartburg College and earned a degree in biology. She started focusing on volunteer work in 2006 with a trip to Ghana. Over the years she's made it a point to volunteer locally, nationally and internationally. She has been involved in all different kinds of projects from building schools, houses and hiking trails to cleaning up rivers, removing invasive plants and even collecting data on endangered species.

In 2010, Jen started mountain climbing. Since that time, she's climbed peaks all over the world including Mt. Everest in 2016. Her dream is to climb The 7 Summits, (the highest peak of each continent) of which only one remains to date. Most recently, Jen has released a book of photographs and journal excerpts from her travels both near and far. Later this year, she hopes to accomplish her final summit which had been put on hold during the pandemic. Jen will be showing both photography prints from her travels as well as copies of her book, "Shots from the Heart", at Colony Arts this July.

Ughism

In my work my focus is primarily on my relationship to death and beauty and how they are solidified in our everyday lives. I believe the two are cohesive and its reflective of our inner thoughts and actions. When we are left alone with these thoughts without access to the outer world, how do we handle these sensations?

Your Great Aunt Belva

When Your Great Aunt Belva was 10 years old she discovered that puzzle companies used the same stamp to cut puzzles with different pictures. Sixty-seven years later she continues to combine, collage and design visual art from 'jigsaw puzzles': but nowadays, she cuts her own puzzles with a laser!

 

Your Great Aunt Belva, taught Art at grade school, high school, college, and university levels. Belva retired from her 'night and day' teaching job on January 1st, 2020, and for the first time in her life she is experiencing being a full-time Artist.

Emma E. Walker

Emma E. Walker is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist born and raised in Eastern Iowa. Since 2012, she has owned and operated a freelance photography and graphic design business known as Emma’s Cellar Door. Her range of mediums include photography, graphic design, web UI/UX design, mixed media drawing, and abstract painting. In 2013, Walker was one of two artists chosen to paint a historical mural commissioned by the USAF located on Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. Since 2018, Walker has been CRPrideFest’s exclusive photographer of events including their annual pride festival in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. As a volunteer, Walker has worked alongside Last Hope Animal Rescue of Cedar Rapids, IA to photograph fundraising events and animals up for adoption in an effort to find them permanent homes. In May of 2021, Walker presented her work in the Iowa Pop Art show at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library of Cedar Rapids, IA. Witnessing the success of that show, she decided to accept an invitation to curate her own. Thus Colony Arts was born, a new kind of art experience bringing diversity to Amana, IA.


In addition to her freelance work, Walker manages Communications at local nonprofit for the arts, CSPS, and Chairs the board of Lavender Legal Center, an LGBTQ+ inclusive nonprofit legal firm.

Throughout her life, Walker has experienced a multitude of great losses. She uses art as a way to connect with and free herself from that loss, while capturing and interpreting human experiences. She believes the artistry of self expression is directly linked to one’s sexuality, sensuality, trauma and pain. Each of these things are uniquely personal as well as uniquely beautiful. Walker is deeply inspired by the empathy found within nature and humankind. She has been influenced by some of the greats such as Salvador Dalí, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni and Leonardo da Vinci. Walker also believes that art is a place where the soul goes to rejuvenate itself and hopes her audience can experience even just a taste of that to take back out into the world with them. 

Alysia Seaver

Alysia Seaver is a born and raised Eastern Iowan who divides her time between the working

world, motherhood, and her love of art. She finds inspiration in her young son, loving husband, and the beauty of the Iowa landscape she grew up in.

Self-taught, she enjoys both writing and painting in her spare time and has collected years of experience in many mediums and styles. Though partial to Impressionism and mixed media pieces, she considers herself a jack of all trades when it comes to personal expression through art.

LeNixx

Ever since receiving their BFA in Graphic Design in 2020, Shannon Allison has been producing graphic art and illustrations under the alias, LeNixx Art. Their specialty lies in both digital and traditional artwork, featuring a growing cast of animated and whimsical characters.

Claire Thoele

I am an illustrator and graphic designer, who studied at the University of Iowa. I have continued my education in the Adobe CC Suite programs with a focus on Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, staying current with updates. I am happy to take commissions and especially enjoy working with local Iowa bands. I enjoy working with pen and ink, and watercolors as well as digitally.

 

I find myself drawn to clean lines and small unexpected details. Some of my work is about making a drawing with a strong grounding in reality and anatomy, and sometimes I just like to take a silly idea to completion.

Mike Weber

Mike Weber is a Cedar Rapids based photographer that works with both film and digital. He has been photographing for close to 2 decades. His work focuses on capturing the music community of eastern Iowa and night scenes from around Cedar Rapids.

 

In addition to my personal projects I also do weddings, portraiture, and commercial work. I like to think of myself as a documentary photographer who emphasizes realism and accuracy in my photography— be it a concert, wedding, or anything in between. I don’t believe in overzealous editing; photography should be an extension of reality. Life, unfiltered.

 

I have always been drawn to photography. I got my first camera when I was 7, but it wasn’t until I bought a DSLR as a teen that I started to take photography seriously. Over the last 15 years, photography has slowly encapsulated my life and it informs who I am as a person. Photography is a way of life, not just a job, career, or hobby. I think this quote from one of my favorite photographers, Richard Avedon, sums up my philosophy for photography:

 

“And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.”

Barb Thompson

I am a Cedar Rapids based artist who loves to study florals and vegetation. I am drawn to recreate these beauties and capture their brilliance. Working off of photographs from my own garden as well as bouquets I curate from local floral shops, I aim to capture the blooms and color for year round enjoyment. These creations are meant to lighten hearts and bring sunshine for days to come.

 

Growing up in Keystone, Iowa; it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t help my Mom in the garden. Planting, watering and harvesting in my own backyard grew my love for Midwest staples such as peonies and rhubarb. My life quieted down in some ways this past year due to the pandemic, and I rediscovered my passion for painting. Translating the beauty found around me into colorful moments of Iowa life is a joyful experience. I work with watercolor, acrylic, and oils. My wish is that you are able to delight in these moments as well; and to find joy in the small things.

Kelsey Turnis

Kelsey Turnis is a part time artist and full time student studying environmental science at the University of Iowa. Nature is a constant inspiration for her work and she hopes to use her art to raise awareness for environmental issues, as well as to bring color and joy to the existing world around her.