You can now visit the studio where Iowa artist Grant Wood worked and lived for a decade in Cedar Rapids. Terry Pitts is the executive director of the Grant Wood Studio and Visitor Center that opened to the public for the first time this past weekend. Pitts says the studio is a two story carriage house that belonged to a mansion that had been turned into a funeral home. He says Wood was given the opportunity in 1924 to convert the upper story of the building into a studio and place where he could live with his mother. He says Wood created a one-thousand square foot studio and living area. He lived there until 1934. Pitts says Wood’s “American Gothic” painting done in 1931 is one of the works the artist completed while living in the studio. He says many of the most recognizable Grant Wood paintings were made in this studio, in a period in which Pitts says Wood was the most prolific. The building is now owned by the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and Pitts says they’ve been working on the visitor center for two years. He says they had to do some major work on the sagging beams supporting the studio. He says the floor was going to be in jeopardy, so they had to insert an 18-inch I-beam to support the floor. They also had to put in new wiring and convert the three-car garage downstairs into a visitors center. Pitts says the center and studio will be open Saturdays and Sundays for right now.He says they expect a lot of interest as people learn about it, and are starting out being open just on the weekends in the winter and will gauge the interest. The studio will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to four p.m., and Sundays from noon to four p.m., except major holidays. Guided tours of the actual studio where Wood worked are offered on the hour, with a price of five dollars for adults and three for students (18 and under) and seniors (62 and over). There is no admission charge to the visitor center and gift shop. Wood, who died in 1942, also painted “Arbor Day” which was chosen to go on Iowa’s state quarter.
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