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DEWITT, Iowa – Sharon Larson calls herself a “baby artist.” That is, she has spent a lot of time learning about art, taking some small steps and perhaps stumbling a bit, all in the name of art. But in February, the “baby artist” took a big step by opening the Homestead Art & Studio at 520 8th St. in downtown DeWitt. The studio showcases works by Iowa artists (and an Illinois artist or two). In early April, Homestead was showcasing works from 52 artists with a goal of having about 100 artists eventually show off their works in her studio shop. “We’ve handpicked creations made by artists from all around Iowa. From quirky to classy, the art we carry is sure to brighten your home and soul,” the studio’s website boasts. “I’m getting really good feedback from the community,” said Ms. Larson. “Sales have been good. … People have been telling me DeWitt needed something like this. It was a niche DeWitt didn’t have.” Every corner of the small shop – about 950 square feet that once was a bakery – features something from the art world. Some of those creations include: Abstract paintings created by a Clinton man. “This is one of my favorite stories. This man (who created the art) had these in his basement and asked to show them here,” Ms. Larson said.
- Wire art made in the form of wind-blown trees from an artist in Fairfield, Iowa.
- Little girls’ dresses made by a Davenport woman.
- Turkey feathers with wildlife images painted on front of the feathers.
- A photo of an old red barn mounted on canvas.
- Hand-painted oak tiles transformed into artistic coasters.
- Pottery, jewelry, quilts, candles and soap.
- And lots of images of dogs created by Ms. Larson. ”Most of my commissions these days are of people’s dogs,” she added.
Sharon Larson at a glanceSharon Larson of Long Grove, Iowa, opened Homestead Art & Studio in DeWitt, Iowa, a few weeks ago. Here are some facts about Ms. Larson:
- Ms. Larson said she doesn’t have a lengthy background in art. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and writing from the University of Wisconsin and had the goal of becoming an editor.
- She says she does not have any artistic role models. Her grandfather, however, did create art with his oil paintings. Ms. Larson tried her hand at oil painting, but found it was not for her and eventually found her artistic calling with watercolors in 2014.
- She is a member of the Beaux Arts executive committee that helps support the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.
- Her artwork has been displayed at the Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport, the Opera House in DeWitt and regional art fairs.
- She is the only full-time employee at the Homestead Art & Studio. However, she gets some assistance from her daughter-in-law.