Let’s celebrate Grant Wood’s birthday with an evening of art and music. The composers of CROpera’s original commission, The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius, will introduce the pieces performed by soprano Jessica Pray Patel, tenor Jared Rogers, and performer Jhe Russell. Participate in the re-creation of “Imagination Isles,” a frieze Grant Wood and his students painted for the McKinley school cafeteria in 1924. Light refreshments and punch will be served.
Grant Wood Birthday Bash
Wednesday, February 13, 6-8 pm
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
410 Third Avenue SE, Main Floor
Free and open to the public
Composer librettist Michael Ching chose Imagination Isles as inspiration for a chorus in his one-act opera Eight Woods and a Van. In 2018 the Whitney Museum in New York mounted a new Grant Wood exhibit: American Gothic and other Fables. The frieze was was replicated by Whitney teens, and the process was documented in this short but beautiful video.
Imagination Isles, 1924–25
When Wood was an art teacher at McKinley Junior High School in Cedar Rapids from 1922 to 1925, he designed a frieze—a long, narrow artwork—for his ninth-grade students to paint. When the painting was finished, the class presented it in a theatrical performance, unrolling it across the stage as a student read a script that Wood had written, celebrating the dreamlike imagination of childhood. The frieze was installed in the school cafeteria.
Content courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art