- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The removal of flood-damaged buildings at the University of Iowa has enabled views of a historic art building not possible for decades.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports (http://icp-c.com/1mH9QBy ) demolition work ended in February on the former Arts Building complex, which was severely damaged by 2008 flooding. Over the fall and winter, workers demolished wings and additions that were built as the School of Art and Art History expanded.

Those four buildings hid parts of the Art Building, a brick structure built in 1936, including portions facing the Iowa River.

“It’s like going back in time,” said John Beldon Scott, director of the university’s School of Art and Art History. “For 40 years, no one had seen the river facade of the old building unimpeded by that later addition. Visually, it’s a tremendously positive addition to the campus.”


The old Art Building was built as part of an effort to bring together the study of art history with studio work, a concept conceived of in the 1920s and called the “Iowa Idea.” That concept was put into reality in the building designed by campus architect George Horner.

Artist Grant Wood, known for his painting American Gothic and other scenes of the Midwest, taught and worked in a pavilion in the building from the time it opened until the early 1940s. He died in 1942.

The building is closed and officials are still deciding how to use the structure. It won’t return to its original use, as that will move to a new $77 million Art Building being built nearby. The new structure should be completed in 2016.

Regardless of how it’s used, Scott said the old Art Building will serve an important role for students.

“It will always be an icon that not only represents the campus and the university’s historic commitment to the visual arts, but also to our history as an academic unit,” Scott said.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/