February 11, 2019

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.

Grant Wood, Imagination Isles (1924-25), Cedar Rapids Community School District

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