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The Art of Living Well

November 7 - June 15, 2014

The Art of Living Well

The Muscatine Art Center will open its new exhibition, The Art of Living Well, on Thursday, November 7th with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The Art of Living Well is an opportunity to showcase the Art Center’s permanent collection while exploring some of the principles from the Blue Zones Project™.

 Muscatine is among ten communities in Iowa that have been chosen as Blue Zones Project demonstration sites. The purpose of the Blue Zones Project is to encourage principles that make it possible for people to live longer, healthier and happier lives. The Art of Living Well is presented in five sections – Work, Play, Relax, Belong and Eat. Visitors will explore each of these sections and discover examples of “move naturally,” “know your purpose,” “down shift,” “loved ones first,” “right tribe,” “plant slant” and other core principles of the Power 9®.

“The approach to this exhibition is somewhat different from the way art exhibitions are often organized,” says Director, Melanie Alexander. “The staff was challenged to find examples of people spending time in nature, gathering with friends, being physically active. The Art Center’s collection of photographs, paintings, drawings, artifacts, postcards and other objects is full of examples of people in the past leading active lifestyles.”

 “In this exhibition, we put together works by well-known artists such as Grant Wood, John Bloom and John Steuart Curry to be displayed next to photographs of families picnicking, ice skates from the 1870s, Musser family scrapbooks and advertisements from the Muscatine Oatmeal Company. The Art of Living Well showcases the Art Center’s collection of original art and historic artifacts.”

 The Art Center recently received a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs that will make it possible to provide a variety of experiences for elementary through high school students when they tour the exhibition. The Art of Living Well is intended to re-enforce some of the healthy eating initiatives of the school district. While at the Art Center, 1st grade students will use collage materials to create a healthy meal; 4th graders will make prints from fruits and vegetables; 6th graders will make fruit and vegetable still lifes in the style of Grant Wood. Visitors will also imagine themselves in a painting or photograph and carry out the movements of the people depicted.

 “We hope that students will be attracted to the colorful depictions of fruits and vegetables and will enjoy thinking about what people in the past did to keep physically activity, relax or connect with one another.”The Art of Living Well runs from November 7, 2013 through June 15, 2014. Hand-outs and pledge forms for the Blue Zones Project will be available as part of the exhibition. Families can also put together a picnic using toy fruits and vegetables.