November 2020

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Voices from the Prairie

A publication of Humanities Iowa   •  Fall / Winter2020 Upcoming Programs

Interview With Photographer Bob Campagna

Voices from the Prairie Fall / Winter Voices from the Prairie Contents

Humanities Iowa Board of Directors & Staff

Humanities Iowa Mission Statement

Title: A Letter from the Board of Directors 3

President Kurt Meyer, St. Ansgar

The mission of Humanities Iowa is to

Upcoming programs

Vice - President Vacant

of the people, communities, cultures, and


Brief Interview w/Photographer Bob Campagna


Grants Awarded in 2020


Statement of Activity


2020 Donors


Cover: J.I. Case By Bob Campagna

Secretary Karen Mitchell, Cedar Falls Secretary Vacant Directors Courtney Craig, Winterset Rick Crowl, Council Bluffs Peter Drahozal, Eldridge Mark Felderman, Polk City Dick Moeller, Sioux City Amy Nolan, Waterloo Steve Siegel, Ottumwa Rosemarie Ward, Des Moines Jack Wertzberger, Dubuque

Follow Hum a nities Iowa on Tw it ter a nd Facebook Get Tweets on events and news: View our Facebook page: Follow us on Instagram:

Find news and information on speakers, grants and ways to get involved with Humanities Iowa on our website: 2  ·  Voices from the Prairie

promote understanding and appreciation stories of importance to Iowa and the nation.

Join other Iowans and support Humanities Iowa. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Humanities Iowa also accepts gifts of stock or securities. To make a donation or receive more information please contact our office at 319335-4149 or or visit our website:

About Voices from the Prairie Voices from the Prairie is published annually by Humanities Iowa and distributed

Humanities Iowa Staff Executive Director (Interim) Kurt Meyer: Grants and Finance Director Heather Plucar: Grants and Program Officer Gary Sheppard: Art Director David Richmond:

to its friends and interested Iowans.

To subscribe please contact us: Humanities Iowa 100 lib rm 4039 Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420 phone: (319) 335-4149 fax: (319) 335-4154 email:

A Public Statement From the Board of Directors regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities

The Board of Directors of Humanities Iowa is profoundly disappointed that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has decided to terminate its longstanding ties with Humanities Iowa, the venerable Iowa organization that has helped launch and supported public programs dedicated to inclusion, equity, and the spectrum of cultural heritages in Iowa for almost 50 years. Humanities Iowa vigorously disputes the accuracy and veracity of claims made by NEH leadership in support of its decision. Meanwhile, Humanities Iowa remains committed to humanities programming of exceptional quality and to providing support and funding for nonprofit organizations through our state. Please to not hesitate to contact us with any questions via email or phone.

Image: Dubuque Downtown Murals Project A Humanities Iowa Council-Conducted Partnership with Voices Productions

Fall 2020  ·  3

Upcoming Programs

Back In March We Had A Wonderful schedule of programs for 2020, including a robust summer of Speakers Bureau events, museum exhibit openings, play premiers, and many others. Jazz composer and musician John Rapson was preparing to take his dozen or so professional musicians on a tour of Western Iowa performing his critically acclaimed Hot Tamale Louie composition based on The New Yorker article of the same name. Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart likewise was readying a tour, one designed to effectuate an inter-disciplinary understanding of “environment” in the arts and humanities. And this was only some of the great programming we had in store. Then COVID-19 came to town and forced most of us all indoors for most of 2020, tossing all of our plans out the window. Some of these programs and events have transitioned to online platforms in lieu of live audiences (hey, we miss you too, but we’re looking out for you here), while others have gone back to the drawing board. Some we’re keeping in the hopper until we can all safely get back together in person. Despite the setbacks, we’ve got plenty of opportunities coming your way that you should be aware of; here’s a look at what we’ve got in store: New Episodes of Poems Across the Distance with Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart When the pandemic forced cancellation of Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart’s planned tour, she came up with the idea for launching a new web series called Poems Across the Distance, a program featuring poetry readings and brief ruminations on 4  ·  Voices from the Prairie

Image: Debra Marquart

poetry as a way of understanding our new lives living under the disruption caused by COVID-19. In addition to Marquart, former Poets Laureate Marvin Bell and Mary Swander contributed videos of themselves reading their poems from their homes during the lockdown. This winter the series resumes with new episodes featuring Marquart reading her own recently anthologized work as well as episodes devoted to interviewing other poets such as Indigo Moor. You can find these videos by visiting and following the link from the main page, or by entering “Humanities Iowa YouTube channel” into your favorite search engine. We will continue uploading new episodes of the series throughout the winter and into the spring. For more information on

Debra Marquart, please visit her website: John Rapson’s New Project Exploring the Life of Esteban, the Voiceless Enslaved Person on the Cabeza de Vaca Expedition Yet another project we’ve re-imagined in the wake of the global pandemic, John Rapson (composer, pianist, trombonist & professor emeritus of Music at the University of Iowa) was scheduled to take his band of over a dozen musicians to Western Iowa for multiple performances of his critically-acclaimed Hot Tamale Louie, a multi-genre, multi-modal composition exploring the life of a twentieth century Pakistani immigrant to Wyoming. Prior to the shutdown, Rapson had already begun research into a new composition centering on the American expedition of the conquistador Cabeza de Vaca. While diving into the research during the shutdown,

Rapson found the narrative of this new composition changing its focus from de Vaca to the enslaved person, Esteban, who was deprived of a voice in the de Vaca narrative. Rapson’s research sought out some eighty or so musical examples from Spain but also, anachronistically, from the new world. He discovered texts from the converging cultures in Seville during the 1520s as well as Catholic liturgical material for the use of language in the piece. He created a catalogue of images for use in the performance of the piece that includes images from conquistadors themselves, paintings by later artists, facsimiles of 16thcentury cartography, as well as film footage of Gulf Coast landscapes.

Image: Conquistador From Catalogue

Image: John Rapson The musical research has found further influences of Moors, Sephardic Jews, Romany Gypsies, the Spanish renaissance, flamenco and New World folk traditions. The final, recorded product will involve an ensemble of professional musicians and will rely on an improvisational method of composition. Since the initial research, Rapson has found collaborators with the group Flamenco Fusion in Denver and with the blues singer Kevin “BF” Burt, who will portray Esteban. A further collaboration has been struck with a fusion group from Morocco (Esteban’s home) Oum. These groups are helping Rapson and his musicians understand how to blend contemporary elements with

traditional music germane to the story. Additionally, Rapson will also be accompanied by collaborators Tara McGovern (violin), Dan Padley (guitar), Blake Shaw (bass), Danyel Daglione (mandole), and Dave Moore (Harmonica). While still in production, the project will be completed and recorded premiered in the spring of 2021. Keep following our social media and website updates, as well as our e-newsletters to track this project and other Humanities Iowa programs under development.

Image: Pete Grady portrays U.S. Grant for HI Speakers Bureau

Speakers Bureau After a successful pilot program of Zoomfacilitated Speakers Bureau events this summer, we’ve re-opened applications for events. For now we’re only accepting applications for events that will take place via Zoom. For a complete list of Speakers and complete guidelines for submitting applications, visit speakers-bureau. Stay tuned to our social media for announcements about upcoming events and new Speakers and topics.   Fall 2020  ·  5

Bob Campagna

A Brief Interview w/Photographer Bob Campagna

Earlier this year we welcomed fine art photographer and educator Robert Campagna as the newest addition to the Speakers Bureau roster. Robert as created over 500 workshops, reaching over 12,000 students. For 25 years he created photography workshops in several Iowa communities under the auspices of the Iowa Arts Council. He is a founding member of the Artworks Center for Creative Arts in Loveland, Colorado. A Cedar Rapids native, Campagna has lived in Dubuque, Iowa City, Muscatine and Mount Vernon. He has taken over a million images and published four books. His current Speakers Bureau offering, “Art of Seeing,” offers Campagna’s expert insights into how photography might be used for community and publishing purposes. He discusses, among other topics, how we may view the world as photographers and make great adventures through photography. Humanities Iowa: Pretty much everyone, especially in our age of the smart phone, has taken photographs. But for most people, the camera at the very least is an app on their phone and at the most a personal hobby. How and why did you choose photography as a profession? Bob Campagna: Oh my! From 1972 – 1977, as director of Muscatine’s public housing authority, I worked in either a cubicle or office. However, life felt too short and the world was to be embraced and seen. So I resigned, bought a camera and traveled. Having never taken an art course, the camera seemed a natural fit as my artistic tool. In 1978 I joined the Mount Vernon 6  ·  Voices from the Prairie

Image: Bob Campagna and Photo Wall SUN weekly paper. There I sufficiently honed my skills, becoming a freelance photographer in 1980. I thought photography could be used for a wider purpose and common good. The passion and vision-making involved in photographing has never left. Humanities Iowa: You never studied art formally. You’re an autodidact in the field, so what is your photographic style? How did you come about finding it? What are some of your influences? Bob Campagna: I am an auto-didact in the sense that I taught myself how to take photographs. I experiment a lot, keep buying photo books. I now have a 500+ volume personal library. I am fascinated by the “Americana” style, the study of social fabric and how people live. My first influence was David Plowden through his visual insight of America. Another is Ansel Adams and his meticulous landscapes. As for conceptual,

interpretive and creative photography, Jerry Uelsman remains of inspiration. My own journey is to document, interpret, create, and always find a point of balance. Humanities Iowa: In a sense, being a photographer is kind of like being a rock n roll guitarist: your gear matters. For the aspiring and practicing photographers our there, can you tell us what format do you shoot? Why that particular format? Bob Campagna: Heck, I use a cell phone just like everyone else. But I also use a Hasselblad, which shoots medium format film (2 ¼ square). That requires me to see square and backwards. It’s demanding. A joy in shooting with a Hasselblad is that it’s a box camera. Looking through the top, I often can shoot underneath a subject’s reflexive defenses. However, negotiated photos are more meaningful and interesting than stolen images. Bob Campagna: Since 1982 I have created

and taught well over 500 photography workshops in eight states, Scotland and Nicaragua. I have taught over 12,000 students (by comparison, Ansel Adams taught only 5,000). I love the process of education and working with youth. My successful format is “excursionary learning,” that is, using the camera as a tool of exploration. It’s an American Studies style. In that context I have taken students over many parts of Iowa, particularly Northeast Iowa. I brought my darkroom and set it up in schools, sometimes in locker rooms, closets or windowless classrooms. I also have been fortunate enough to take students photographing in Colorado and northern New Mexico. Publishing is an additional sideline, helping students create books with their images. All of these activities give students a sense of wonder and powerful voice through the art of photography. Humanities Iowa: You’ve taken over a million images. How do you begin to sort through all of that material? What are some of your more memorable photographs? Bob Campagna: I have taken over a million images, each for a reason. Some have changed my life, such as when I photographed an October sunrise over Mount Vernon in 1983. To accomplish the image I scaled a 140’ water tower and was arrested for the climb. Thankfully charges were dropped. It was a moment where I had a vision and acted to achieve it! Another was in August, 1999. I photographed a ballerina in a hog lot. It was a

Image: Bill Young Feeding Hogs serendipity! A farmer invited us to his pig pen. We couldn’t decline such a wonderful invitation. Serendipity is a photographer’s friend. To quote Ansel Adams, “[c]hance favors the prepared mind.” I know that to be true. I prefer to work on projects, not just individual images. Projects more thoroughly tell stories. For example, in September 2013 the city of Evans, Colorado hired me to photograph its massive flood devastation. Another intermittent project is when I work with tribal historian Johnathan Buffalo to produce images of Iowa’s Meskwaki people.

Bob Campagna: Digital photography is useful, especially for advertising and news purposes. Going digital allows anyone to take pictures, especially with most everyone using a cell phone. Some images can be quite creative. Many are snapshots or funny face selfies. I use digital photography out of

Belly of the best is my favorite photographic motif to get into the heart of matters. This takes me into challenging places, such as abandoned structures, prisons, demonstrations or moments of restorative justice. Humanities Iowa: At a time when a new iPhone (and camera!) comes out every five minutes, the word “traditional” is almost a dirty word. But you’ve been known to self-identify as a traditional photographer. What’s been your adjustment to the digital age, speaking as a traditional photographer?

Image: Lorencita and Reycita Luhan

Fall 2020  ·  7

Interview With Bob Campagna Continued

economic necessity. However, as an artist, I seek a purposeful vision and archival quality. To my understanding, a well-preserved black and white can last up to 2,000 years, whereas the current rating for color imagery is 100 years at best. Art collectors know the value of b/q photographs. I consider my photos to ultimately be a gift to history. I may never realize their value in my lifetime, but I believe our descendants will someday look deep into today’s image and see the detail of life as we currently know it. Humanities Iowa: What took you away from Iowa to Colorado? What brough you back home? Bob Campagna: For seven years I had been invited – and thus commuted – to teach in Loveland to create b/w workshops. I met Susan Hoyler, a counselor at a school there. We eventually married. Since she had the day job and I was self-employed, I moved there and then commuted to Iowa to continue my workshops here. Upon her retirement plus the gathering of family in Mt. Vernon, we returned to be near family and friends. Humanities Iowa: Do you consider that time away from Iowa important for you creatively? How did things change during that time? Bob Campagna: Two major artistic influences happened. First, I volunteered five times in Yosemite National Park. There I was able to access archives held in the Ansel Adams Gallery. I studied Adams’ style and materials and have incorporated those into my work. 8 · Voices from the Prairie

Second, while in Loveland, I was a founding member of the Artworks Center for Contemporary Arts. Artworks is a collective of 30 diverse artists who work in paint, metal, fabric, clay, glass, writing and mixed media. From fellow artists I learned processes and vision-making. I grew in diversity and taking risks. I became more skilled and confident in my traditional photography. My time at Artworks is my MFA equivalent. Humanities Iowa: Out of all of the photographs you’ve made, who do you find values them? If you can stand the question, what do you think will become of your work in the long run? Bob Campagna: Good questions. My photographs capture moments in time, images which eventually become places that change or disappear. They are historic and artistic. When I print older negatives I become a time traveler and can recall sounds, smells and temperature. Art patrons hopefully will purchase these images. My images usually provide an immediate service for publishing or customer use, but ultimately they are records of my life’s journey. I have had contact with the State Historical Society of Iowa. Some of my collection may end up archived there.

Humanities Iowa: Retirement is an alien concept. Evolving and inventing make me artistically thrive! Though I still love traditional printmaking and teaching, to my repertoire I have added the design and self-publishing of books. It’s all part of the same energy: telling stories through image and word. I plan to create an exhibit and write a book about my 40 years of photographing the American west. I have already published a book celebrating my 25 years photographing northeast Iowa, a fine art book which integrates my haiku and images, and a children’s book. Shooting with films makes the photographer slow down and look. The convenience of digitally photographing and then hitting the delete button is not available with film. Thus, photographing with film is an act of discipline, keen observation and ultimately faith that one has properly accomplished an image. Through traditional photography, I am “keeper of the old magic.” In my new Iowa home I built the “last darkroom in the world” by converting a basement theatre room into a workspace. Soon I also must either donate or dispose of my negatives and images. Or maybe I could bury images in random spots to provide someone’s future treasure discovery. My wife Susan recognized these changing times. She astutely reminds me that Ansel Adams ushered in black and white photography, and Bob Campagna will escort it out. She is probably right. C’est la vie.

Image: Bob Campagna in His Studio

Grants Awarded 2019 - 2020

Ames Iowa State University—$4,430 Ames Prairie Rivers of Iowa —$3,000 Cedar Falls University of Northern Iowa—$23,988 Cedar Rapids Linn County Historical Society—$14,400 Council Bluffs Pottawattamie County Conservation Board —$1,350 Council Bluffs P.A.C.E. —$5,920 Davenport Azubuike African American Council for the Arts — $7,000 Davenport Figge Art Museum — $18,700 Davenport Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science— $10,000 Des Moines Des Moines Art Center— $10,000 Des Moines Des Moines Public Library Foundation— $10,000 Des Moines Downtown Events Group— $15,000

Dubuque Dubuque County Historical Society— $500 Dubuque Dubuque Museum of Art— $3,000

Council Conducted Partnerships 2020

Fairfield Fair Field Productions—$3,000 Iowa City Public Space One—$3,000 Moline, IL The Moline Foundation— $8,927.50 Pomeroy Pomeroy Historical Society —$5,700 Rock Island, IL Fresh Films —$9,700 Sioux City Tolerance Week —$8,963.46 Urbandale CultureALLMuseum— $20,000 Waterloo Grout Museum District  — $3,000 West Branch Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association— $3,875

Cedar Falls University of Northern Iowa —$3,000 Council Bluffs PACE —$30,000 Davenport River Action —$6,000 Decor ah Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum —$15,624 Fairfield Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. —$12,000 Okoboji Okoboji Summer Theater—$20,000   Fall 2020  ·  9

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Humanities Iowa Debuts New Donation Page HI

Statement of Activity for the year ended October 31, 2019

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NEH & private grants Gifts & membership Dividends & interest Fees In-Kind Contributions Net Assets released

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10  ·  Voices from the Prairie

Donors 2019-2020

Violet M. Barker Ferenc Beiwel Suesan Berger Tom and Liz Boyd Willard Boyd III Margaret Brennan Gale Brubaker Richard and Ann Burton Richard Carlson Hal Chase Rick Crowl Thomas Dean Duffy De France J.P. Dietrich DNE Caplan Family Foundation Ron and Bar Eckhoff Gary Frost George and Lois Eichacker James Erb Susan Frye Elizabeth Garst Carol Gronstal William Hamm Mary Lou Hanley James P. Hayes Jeff Heland Beverly Hinds Margery Hoppin Marsha Hucke Sidney and Elizabeth Huttner

Dr. James and Mary Ellen Kimball Randall Lengeling Henry and Sherry Lippert Cedric and Marcia Lofdahl Marcia Lohmann Alma Long Esther Mackintosh Charissa Menefee John Menninger Kurt Meyer Tom Milligan Karen Mitchell Richard Moeller Jane R. Morrison Mary Noble Carrie Z. Norton Russell and Martha Noyes Armond and Polly Pagliai Tracy Perry Davd Plath Chris and Heather Plucar Walter Pyper Christopher Rossi Ronald Schechtman Robert and Anna Mae Schnucker Mary Jo Short Steven Siegel Dale Simon Cynthia Smith Eldon and Mary Snyder

Rosa Snyder Rebecca Soglin Larry Stone Alan Swanson Dr. Richard Thomas Rhoda Vernon Brian and Vicki Walshire Rose Marie Ward Joan Weis Michael Welsh

2019-2020 Partners

Pathfinders RC&D Iowa West Foundation HTLIC Media, Iowa City Blanden Art Museum, Fort Dodge Vesterheim Norweigan-American Museum

Fall 2020  ·  11


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Murals In Dubuque A Humanities Iowa Council Conducted Partnership with Voices Productions