Governor Tom Vilsack today announced a painting by Iowa native Grant Wood is the design he’s chosen to appear on the back of the state quarter. The “Arbor Day” painting features a one-room schoolhouse with a mother and children planting a tree off to its side. In the design approved by the U.S. Treasury, the schoolhouse sits in front of a rolling farm field, and the words “Foundation in Education” are locate above it.Vilsack says it was a difficult choice, but he says the choice was based on the values that’re important to Iowans — the value of responsibility to educate our children, the value of responsibility to our environment, and he says it shows our agricultural heritage and the opportunities of the future. Vilsack says the design he chose represents Iowa values.He says it was committed to education, committed to the environment, committed to our agricultural heritage and painted by a well-known Iowa artist. Vilsack’s other choices included a couple of versions with an outline of the state that included pigs, corn and soybeans. Another Grant Wood painting, “Young Corn” — featuring the state of Iowa with a rolling field was also a choice. Designs featuring the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting didn’t make it through to the final choice. Vilsack says he understands everyone might not like the choice he made. Vilsack says “unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m the one who has to make that decision, and what I tried to do was to make the decision that’s best reflective of the values of Iowans and put our best foot forward.” He says the other quarter displays were great, but he felt this was a bit more comprehensive and reflective of a broader set of values and priorities for Iowans. The Iowa quarter will be put into circulation in August of 2004. The state quarters are released in groups five based on the year in which states entered the union.
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