News Column

The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Eye on the Arts column

August 17, 2014

By Craig Neises, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

Aug. 17--The locomotives don't whistle their way through town anymore, and they don't stop here for repairs anymore, either. But it still can be argued Burlington is a railroad town.

As such, "Railroads and Landscapes," the new exhibit at the Art Center that opens a monthlong run today, no doubt will attract its share of interest.

Work by Ankeny artist Stewart Buck will be on display at the 301 Jefferson St. art gallery through Sept. 20. Buck, a retired high school art teacher, will be present for a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. today.

"As I made selections for this show, I chose both historical pieces and examples of more creative interpretations of the railroad scene," Buck wrote in a description of the exhibit provided by the Art Center. "Although I love to produce pieces requiring extensive historical research, there's a side of me that's equally interested in the aesthetics of the railroad industry, a vision not always concentrating on just the trains or locomotives.

"These images are less concerned with the 'nuts and bolts' of railroading and more in capturing a graceful curve of tracks disappearing into the woods, the ethereal effect of wispy columns of steam rising into the early golden morning sky or the honest 'form follows function' industrial geometrics of a steam locomotive's driving wheels."

Buck, who taught 36 years in the Bondurant-Farrar School District northeast of Des Moines, grew up in Ames and attended Iowa State University, where he earned master's and bachelor's degrees.

The award-winning artist and photographer has received commissions from a number of railroad companies, including Union Pacific, Iowa Interstate and the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway. He is a charter member of the American Society of Railway Artists, and his work will be included in an upcoming exhibition of railroad art at the Station Art Gallery in New York.

In addition to being the first exhibit of Buck's work in Burlington, the show represents the last to be organized by Jim Hilkin and Judy Smithson-Hilkin, volunteers who for the past four years have managed the main gallery at the art center but now will retire from those duties.

Garrison feted

Burlington artist David Garrison has been recognized with an award for a painting featured in the Northeast National Pastel Exhibition in Old Forge, N.Y.

Garrison's pastel, "Colorado Falls," impressed the judge, who wrote, "I have to admit that I am a little envious of artists that can paint water in movement so well. The feeling that you are looking at a mountain stream crashing over the rocks to a mountain pool is very well done."

Author up for award

A memoir written by former Burlington resident Bonny Brookes is a finalist in two categories of the Readers Favorite awards.

"Linked Lives," a memoir about the importance of close friendships, is up for recognition in both the memoirs and relationships categories of the contest. The author lives near Austin, Texas.

Winners will be announced in September.

Eye on the Arts is a weekly column highlighting the people and events on the cultural scene in and around the Great River Region. If you have an item for this space, email it to


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Source: Hawk Eye, The (Burlington, IA)

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