The space that was both the home and studio for Iowa’s most famous painter for more than a decade is reopening today for free tours. The Grant Wood Studio and Visitor Center in Cedar Rapids was the artist’s residence and work space from 1924 through 1935.
Cindy Motsinger, communications coordinator for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, says the studio attracts art lovers from around the world. “They will see where Grant Wood actually worked and lived for most of his time in Cedar Rapids,” Motsinger says. “It is where ‘The American Gothic’ was created as well as many of his other outstanding works.”
You won’t any of Grant Wood’s paintings in the studio. To see those, you’ll have to walk a few blocks down the street to the art museum. It’s home to the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works.
Still, Motsinger says if you are a fan of Grant Wood, the studio is a must-see. “What they will see is his living space which includes unique decorative details in craftsmanship that he custom made,” Motsinger says. “Some of the things include what they call the ‘hot dog stand,’ which is really interesting.” That hot dog stand is actually a pull-out area for the kitchenette and living space which demonstrates his effort to maximize all of the room he had.
She describes it as a light-filled, inspirational loft. “He was trying to be very utilitarian but also it portrays some of his unique humor,” Motsinger says. “During the time he lived there, he had a sign on the door that would say what he was doing, if he was in or out or taking a bath. It was interesting how he used that space and made it his studio as well as his public area to entertain guests.”
The studio will now be open noon to 4 P.M. on Saturdays and Sundays through December at 810 Second Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is at 410 Third Avenue Southeast.