It sounds like four valuable paintings will stay in Cedar Rapids. The paintings by Norman Rockwell, Grant Wood, and Marvin Cone are owned by the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber planned to auction off the artwork in New York City, unless a minimum bid of $500,000 was placed locally by 5 p.m. today and the local bidder vowed to donate the artwork to a local agency like the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
Now, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, has announced it has raised the necessary half-million dollars. Dan Baldwin, with the foundation, calls the paintings cultural assets and says it’s important they stay in Cedar Rapids. About 250 donors responded to the foundation’s ad in the Cedar Rapids Gazette asking for money to keep the paintings in town.
Most people responded with donations in the $100-500 range, but Baldwin says there was also one "six-figure" donation. It’s unclear how the chamber came to possess the paintings. There’s no mention of the paintings in the minutes from board meetings dating back to 1917.
The works have been in a climate controlled setting at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art for 24 years. Baldwin says he’s heard the museum now plans to place the paintings on exhibit.