Arts on Central: Artist combines children’s art into unified works

ORANGE CITY — It was a hands-on project last summer at Arts on Central in Orange City.

IMG_1084 arts on central (emilee berry project)Emilee Berry, a recent Northwestern College art graduate, provided kids with canvases, plus tools. They painted with combs, plastic forks, fingers, sponges — “everything but paintbrushes,” she said. “I encouraged them to explore.”

Then, after the event last August, Berry unified the 14 children’s acrylic explorations. “I didn’t want to take away from what they did, but bring them together.” She used a pallet knife and eraser to paint with white acrylic paint and gel medium — on top of the colors painted by the kids. She added more texture and dots, “a fun way to give a unified look without hiding what’s behind it.” The finished artworks have a windmill theme. IMG_9995 Emilee berry medium C

The finished creations are being unveiled at Arts on Central — exhibited at Centrum Foto Studio on August 24 and the rest of the week.

Arts on Central 2016 is Wed., Aug. 24 in downtown Orange City. The interactive arts festival is 4:30-7:30, followed by a concert featuring Omaha Street Percussion at 7:30. For more information, contact 707-4885,

For more info about Arts on Central, click HERE.

IMG_5881 Emilee Berry project 2015 AoC E

Exploring acrylics… Arts on Central

Abby Wallinga experimented with acrylics on canvas at Arts on Central last year— creating a design with a variety of tools — but no paintbrushes. Afterwards, artist Emilee Berry added her touches with white paint, and put together the 14 child-painted canvases into three unified works of art. See them on August 24 at Centrum Foto Studio.

Arts on Central 2015… by Gail Van Grouw

To inquire about participating as a visual artist, performing artist or live mannequin in Arts on Central August 24, 2016, email

Where were you on August 26, 2015? I was in Orange City, Iowa attending Arts on Central. Not sure what to expect, I hoped it would be a fun Wednesday night downtown.
What did I experience? Sensory overload, so much to take in! People arriving, trickling in and then: folks of all ages everywhere. A band of middle aged rock ‘n rollers set up on the south end of Central Avenue. On the north end, two blocks over, the street is anchored with a water spray station to cool visitors off. In Windmill Park a little girl is creating giant bubbles next to lush, colorful flowerbeds. It’s a joyful atmosphere of bumping into friends and chatting on the sidewalk.
IMG_1199 arts on central water medsize
There was so much going on that I was overwhelmed. My eyes couldn’t take it all in. My ears heard many kinds music from various directions. Wafting aromas of delicious food mingled around everyone. Everywhere I turned something intriguing was happening. A buzz of excitement and hearing folks say, “Did you see….”
In the midst of it all were Orange City Arts volunteers and staff— ringleaders to this 3 ring circus of art, music and live mannequin displays. They coordinated all this.
arts on central 2015 IMG_5830Children were busy drawing with fat pieces of colored chalk on the street. A chalk artist and crew had started scenes and hopscotch games all over Central Avenue’s smooth light gray concrete street. Scattered near the scenes lay chunks of chalk for anyone to pick up and add their own flair. In one spot I noted the directions: add an animal to the forest. Well, in my opinion, the tree needed a blue bird in a nest. Tan chalk for nest, blue for bird, not quite done, pink for beak. Yes, I added my touch. Another young man drew mushrooms. He was excited because he contributed to the artistic scene.arts on central string quartet 2015 IMG_5774
Next I focus on the music: a string quartet in the courtyard behind the Little White Store. Violin and piano duet inside Holland House. A rousing Irish ballad from the rock group. The boisterous street organ blows notes over the crowd. That large antique organ was also visual overload with so many colors painted on the carved figures. Party vibe of electric guitars. IMG_1153 arts on central accordion playersAn accordion player wearing a beret sitting on a bench in front of the bakery evoked European flair. The young man played songs I’ve never heard before. Boom box blasts dance music and teen age girls laugh and move to it. I wouldn’t call it dancing exactly, mostly goofing around. Adding to the cacophony were voices over the public address system announcing prize winners. Lots of unusual things given away, like locally composed hymns, adult coloring books and Northwestern College theatre tickets.
Looking across the street, a girl I know from church is sitting in a window display doing sign language to music I can’t hear. It makes me pause and smile. Next door another store front has a huge canvas displayed. An oil painting of crab apples in fall comes to life, actually larger than life size, by the brush of a master artist.arts on central 2015 IMG_5821
My neighbor comes up to me and exclaims about a fantastic window display. Thrusting her smartphone at me she shows photos of the kids posing like mannequins. Meanwhile, in front of the tuxedo rental shop, couples are in formal attire and pose as parents of the bride and groom, alongside the happy couple. Later another couple slowly, mechanically clink goblets to celebrate.
In July when I learned about this event, I volunteered to be a judge in the visual arts category. After searching for the headquarters table and finally locating it I took the clipboard with lots of papers on it, read my instructions and looked at each display. I saw photographs from near (Iowa) and far (Italy). I examined quilted wall hangings on a makeshift clothesline, swaying in a slight breeze. I reached out and was scolded, “Do NOT touch.” Quickly I pulled back my hand, feeling like a little girl who was put in her place.
arts on central 2015 IMG_5867Village Northwest Unlimited had a large display of so many beautiful things, I could barely take it all in. The woman there explained items were not for sale, but created by handicapped individuals as part of art therapy. I loved it! In the downtown park next to the big old windmill an extensive display of silk scarves flutter in the breeze under large shade trees. It is a riot of color and the silks mimic butterflies floating above flowers, flowers tumbling over the edges of flowerbeds that are only a few feet away. At an artist’s booth I marveled at a collage of grains. Colored rice, seeds and corn were painstakingly arranged into beautiful scenes. Right beside the art is raw material on a table for budding artists to create with. Later I spot people carrying around their seed creations.arts on central 2015 IMG_5763
Standing next to a simple display is a woman who is giving her art away. The delicate drawings are about 5×7 or 4×6, a convenient size for carrying. She explains she has more than she can use in her scrapbooking hobby. “Go ahead and take one,” she urges each person who walks up.
One particular grouping of paintings caught my eye. This young woman had classic landscapes and farm scenes. However each work had one unusual character in it. Tranquil Americana street scene had a robot walking a dog. Pond with a sea monster peeking above the water. There is a giant bear napping on a barn roof. They were hilarious! Not a typical classy painting to hang above the sofa. She’s an artist with a sense of humor.arts on central 2015 IMG_5881
After I looked at 20 art displays, the time had come to meet with the other two judges. Our favorites were announced as the top three winners.
For those who like their art on a large screen television, short films from the Prairie Grass Film Challenge played at Joe’s TV & Appliance store.
Mother Goose made an appearance with her puppet friend, a colorful dinosaur named Jemima. Under the bank canopy she told stories to kids of all ages. Her helpers included a shy white rabbit and not so shy children. I love the sound of little kids laughing and it echoed all around this group. A magical Humpty Dumpty complained about how his story usually ended. To conclude her show, Mother Goose persuaded her audience to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.Arts on Central 2015 IMG_5778

Arts on Central took place during the supper hour. To satisfy the hunger of spectators strolling along, the meat market grilled bratwurst and the Little White Store made little Dutch pancakes. Pizza, tacos, Chinese food and more choices tempted taste buds. Some businesses offered free frankfurters, cookies or other treats. In the same way that music overlapped from one area to the next, the aroma of Mexican food blended into Chinese cuisine and all-American hot dogs.
People who attended were having so much fun that the concert in the Windmill Park band shell was a perfect way to end the summer music series. As the sun set on this lovely summer evening audience members Arts on Central 2015 IMG_5803appreciated the talents of the six a cappella singers performing a high energy show. Thank you to Orange City Arts — who made such a fun event come to life.

–by Gail Van Grouw

Photos by Doug & Janine Calsbeek


artsOn Arts on Central logo cropped

Artists win awards at Orange City Arts’ Regional Exhibition

ORANGE CITY – Three area artists recently won awards at the juried exhibit, Artists’ Showcase: Orange City Arts’ Regional Exhibition. Awards were announced at the closing reception April 30 at Northwestern College in Orange City.IMG_7600 oc arts exhibit 2016

Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath of Okoboji won Best of Show, with his work of crocheted yarn and printed fabric, entitled Breezy. (pictured below right)

Honorable Mention awards went to Rein Vanderhill and Brian J. Damon.

IMG_7625 Arand-McIlrathVanderhill, of Alton, received an award for his acrylic on canvas, The Color of Plum. (pictured below left)

Damon, of McCook Lake, SD, was honored for his colorized screen print, Just Another Back Story. (pictured below right)

The three award-winners received cash prizes of $100 for best of show and $40 for honorable mention. Jurors were artists Linda Porter of Hospers and Matthew Drissell of Sioux Center.

IMG_7615 oc art exhibit VanderhillTwenty-two additional artists’ works were selected for the exhibit, including works by Randy Clark, Pauline Sensenig, Judy Thompson, Emily Bunch, Michael Vander Schaaf, Kevin Bierbaum, Robert E. Gillespie, Joanne Alberda, Jerry L. Mennenga, Pam Harp, Lynae Dadisman, David Versluis, Margo Vanderhill, Kwan Yong Park, David Lammers, Ya-wen Liu, Emily Stokes, Dabin Jeong, Emilee Berry, Youra Song, Alissa Sinclair and Nancy Becerra-Balbuena. They are from Sioux City, Brookings, Alton, Sioux Center, Sioux Falls, Orange City, and Northwestern College, Dordt College and Buena Vista University.

IMG_7643 oc art exhibit DamonThe exhibit was held at the Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre. Sponsor of the show was Orange City Arts, in conjunction with the Northwestern College Art and Theatre Departments.

Onstage Orange City: another fantastic line-up

ORANGE CITY — It’s another fantastic line-up.

Onstage Orange City 2016 features 13 performances from June through August, plus four shows during Tulip Festival May 18-21. It’s a varied line-up of musicians and entertainers from Iowa and across the country.

Take a look at a few of the shows. Details on each show HERE.TheCactusBlossom_AlexanderThompson_300ppi

The Cactus Blossoms, Doreen’s Jazz and Kenny Ahern have all received national attention. The Cactus Blossoms are two brothers performing “retro-leaning country,” reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. The have “gorgeous harmonies and ageless sound,” said National Public Radio. The Cactus Blossoms perform in Orange City’s Windmill Park June 22.

Doreen’s Jazz has represented New Orleans on five continents, on PBS, HBO and MTV, and has entertained four U.S. presidents. Doreen’s daughter Dorian, who plays percussion with the band, recently filmed a music video with Beyoncé. Watch for their concert July 20.doreen's jazz A

Kenny Ahern’s crazy antics and physical comedy will come as no surprise, since he worked with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for years. He’s been known to balance objects as large as a Christmas tree on his chin. Sign up for his 5:15pm workshop, prior to the 7pm show June 1.Kenny Ahern, Photo 2015

The summer’s entertainment actually begins during Tulip Fest in May — with Orange City’s own Usual Suspects performing May 18 in Windmill Park. The Riverblenders Barbershop Chorus of Mankato takes the stage May 19, Now Serving 7 bring their electro-coustic pop-rock May 20, and on May 21, don’t miss Bella Ruse’s “stunningly beautiful minimal rock.”

The rest of the summer will include additional world-class performers. The Awful Purdies, from eastern Iowa, bring banjo, accordion, mandolin, bass, guitar, cello and the washboard to the stage, accompanying their modern folk harmonies. Hector Anchondo and band return to Orange City, after earning a finalist spot in the International Blues Challenge 2016.

Midnight Pilot 5040_ADLeditSalem Mass Choir, from Omaha’s Salem Baptist Church, will bring their Grammy-nominated choir to Orange City August 3. Midnight Pilot comes from Nashville for a night of folk-rock Americana. The SchoolHouse Company brings music, humor, conflict and romance to the stage in the musical Radio Gals.

The Orange City Area Community Band will perform three concerts, and Festival Latino will bring activities and ethnic food to the park, plus the Parranderos Latin Combo. The summer ends on August 24 with the second Arts on Central — with Central Avenue taken over by local artists, a mannequin contest, food vendors and more, from 5-7:30. The interactive art fair ends with a 7:30 show by the popular Omaha Street Percussion.

Contributions by local businesses and individuals, with help from Orange City Arts, fund the shows, so they’re free to the public. Most shows begin at 7:00pm in Orange City’s Windmill Park. Tulip Festival shows begin at 6pm on Wednesday and 7:30pm Thursday through Saturday.Hector Anchondo 2016 band photo

For details, click here or call or email: 712-707-4885,

A printable version of the Onstage Orange City information. Print on one 8.5 x 11 sheet, both sides:  Onstage OC brochure 2016

Thank you, sponsors, cosponsors & contributors!

Ambank Insurance
American State Bank
Center Fresh Eggs
City of Orange City
CIVCO Medical Solutions
D & L Plumbing & Heating
Diamond Vogel Paints
Iowa State Bank
Joe’s TV & Appliance
Northwestern Bank
Old Factory Coffee Shop
Orange City Area Health System
Orange City Communications
Pizza Ranch Restaurant
Quatro Composites
Revival Animal Health
Stange Chiropractic
State Farm: Matt Weg Agency
Van Engelenhoven Agency

CONTRIBUTORS: Ag Partners, LLC; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Blue Mountain Culinary Emporium; Doug & Janine Calsbeek; CASA; Casualty Insurance; C & H Body Repair; Art & Doris De Hoogh; De Jong Chiropractic; De Jong Oil & Repair; Dutch Mill Pharmacy; Family Eye Care; Hair Clinic; Hands Around the World; Joiner & Zwart Dentistry; Jubon Juweelen; Al & Carol Kramer; Mark & Sherry Lundberg; Kevin & Lynne McMahan; Natural Food Holdings; Neal Chase Lumber Co.; Fran & Bev Nieman; Leona Noteboom; Oolman Funeral Homes; Orange City Chiropractic; Orange City Dentistry; Pluim Publishing; Rensink, Pluim & Vogel Law Office; Sfumato Pizza; Siouxland Travel & Tours; David Ter Beest; Town & Country Implement; Jane & Renee Vogel; Weber Law Office; Jan Wilbeck; Woudstra Meat Market.

ONstage poster 2016

REGISTER for a class.

Act. Write. Paint. Create.

Register for Orange City Arts summer classes. Find your class HERE.

ORANGE CITY — Grab a friend and try your hand at painting. Create delectable international cuisine, or learn an easy way to bake bread. Join a children’s summer choir. Bring your young one for a parent-child paint date. Do a theatre workshop or join this year’s children’s production, Wizard of Oz. Try yoga by the lake on a Saturday morning. Become an expert in face painting. Learn to juggle and more (Circus Skills for the Klutz)!

Or do it all, under the guidance of artists teaching classes sponsored by Orange City Arts. Check out classes here.

IMG_4352 summer class 2015




IMG_7028 guided painting uncorked fall 2015

Advance registration and payment are required. (Register a week in advance for a reduced fee for some classes.)  For more information, call 707-4885 or email

Flier below features classes for older youth and adults.

2016_summer classes poster

Orange City Arts awarded grant

The Orange City Arts Council is among organizations in 13 communities who were awarded grants from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs — totaling more than $160,000.

Twenty-nine artists and organizations were awarded grants to sustain “culturally vibrant” communities in the state, according to Mary Cownie, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Orange City Arts was awarded a $2500 stability grant to hire two consultants in early 2016, to assist in the development and execution of a fundraising plan integrated into current strategic priorities.

Stability grants, which help organizations achieve fiscal stability by instituting best practices in strategic planning and management, are funded through the Iowa Cultural Trust. The grant program is administered by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

IMG_0219 nutcracker rehearsalPictured above are Rachel Te Grootenhuis and Ardene Huisman, participating in a guided painting class taught by Rein Vanderhill. Pictured to the right are young dancers rehearsing for The Nutcracker.

Iowa Dept of Cultural Affairs LOGO


The United States of Arts…

In collaboration with the Iowa Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts looks at the arts and culture of Iowa. The project is called The United States of Arts.

Orange City Arts happenings are included briefly in the NEA video below…  beginning at minute 1:19. Featured are three short clips taken in Orange City: Moon Hooch and Omaha Street Percussion at Onstage Orange City 2015, and Shanren from China, performing in a local school as part of Arts Midwest World Fest in January 2015.

Since the beginning of 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts has been gathering stories from the general public and grantees, elected officials and agency directors, artists and art lovers across the country about the importance of art in their lives and their communities. You can find the stories in text, audio, or video formats. Check it out here.


CALL FOR ART: Artist’s Showcase: OC Arts’ Regional Exhibiton

Artist’s Showcase:
Orange City Arts’
Regional Exhibition
Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre Arts Center
Orange City, IA
Exhibit: April 22-30, 2016
Submission Deadline: March 18, 2016
The fifth Artists’ Showcase: Orange City Arts’ Regional Exhibition offers an opportunity for artists to exhibit their work April 22-30, 2016 at the Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre Arts Center in Orange City IA, in conjunction with the production of Rabbit Hole. Regional artists (from Iowa or within a 350-mile radius of Orange City, IA) are invited to submit work to the juried exhibition.

March 18, 2016IMG_3392 OC Arts regional exhibition

DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, Northwestern College, 809 Albany Ave. SE, Orange City IA 51041

This exhibit is open to any adult, college or high school-age artist, from Iowa or within a 350-mile radius of Orange City, Iowa. Artwork must be original in concept, composition and execution, and must have been created in the past three years. Artwork may not have been shown previously in an Orange City Arts exhibit. All 2-D and 3-D media will be considered, and must be ready to hang/present. Sawtooth hangers are not allowed. If you have work that you feel need not be framed, please email Emily Stokes ( to inquire about that.

No theme. All submissions are welcome.

Orange City Arts will exercise all reasonable care in handling and hanging the art, and does have limited insurance coverage. However, Orange City Arts assumes no responsibility for damage or loss to works submitted. Insurance is the responsibility of the exhibiting artist.

IMG_1279 art exhibit honorable mentionAGREEMENT
Works accepted for exhibition may not be withdrawn prior to the close of the show.
Orange City Arts reserves the right to install the works in any manner deemed necessary for exhibition or security purposes.

Orange City Arts will finalize any sales of exhibited artwork at a price that is set by the artist. Sales are subject to a 20% commission, so prices should be set accordingly. Works not for sale must be clearly marked “NFS.”
The submission of entries presupposes that the right is granted to photograph accepted works for education and publicity purposes. Otherwise, taking photos of the artwork during the exhibit is prohibited.

Entrants are limited to three entries. Sets, e.g., diptych, may be classified as one entry.
There is no entry fee.
We request digital images only. Submissions for jurying must be quality jpg images – 200 dpi and no larger than 2 MB.
Email the images to
The image must be a true representation of the work submitted. Orange City Arts reserves the right to reject work accepted which does not conform to the quality represented by the submission.IMG_3401 OC Arts Regional exhibition
With each submission, also include artist’s name, address, email, phone number, title of work, medium, size, and date of production.

1. jpg image. In email subject line, put: Artist’s Showcase submission
2. artist’s name, address, email, phone number.
3. title of work, medium, size, date of production.

Email: (in subject line, put: Artist’s Showcase submission)
Contact: Ann Calsbeek, exhibit coordinator
Or Janine Calsbeek, Orange City Arts director
Orange City Arts Council, 125 Central Ave. SE, P.O. Box 202, Orange City IA 51041.
Phone: 712.707.6514 or 712.707.4885

IMG_1263 oc arts regional exhibitionNOTIFICATION
Artists will be notified of acceptance by email by April 6, 2016

Art accepted for the show is to be labelled on a 3×5-inch paper on the upper left corner, backside of the artwork. Include name of artist, title of work, media and sale price or NFS. If your work is a diptych or triptych, please note whether the pieces are to be displayed horizontally or vertically.

The award-winning theatre department at Northwestern College is presenting Rabbit Hole at the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center. By David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole is a Pulitzer-Prize winning drama revealing a couple’s struggle to rebound after an unspeakable family tragedy. Becca and Howie must navigate past well-wisher’s unknowingly hurtful advice, survive their inability to comfort one another adequately, and struggle to find a new normal where they can live with grace and hope. April Hubbard is director.

All artists accepted for exhibition will be given two complimentary tickets to the Northwestern College Theatre Department’s production, Rabbit Hole.
Jurors will select the “best of show” with a $100 cash prize and “honorable mention,” $40 cash prize.IMG_1243 oc arts regional exhibit
Additional tickets to the Northwestern College Theatre Department’s production, Rabbit Hole, may be ordered by phoning 712-707-7098 or emailing Tickets are $8 adult and $4 student. Production dates are April 22, 23, 28, and 29 at 7:30pm and April 30 at 2:00 and 7:30pm.

Friday, March 18, 2016: Deadline for submission. All entries must be received via email.
Wednesday, April 6: Acceptance notification emailed to artists.
Wednesday, April 20: 9 a.m. to noon: Art must be hand-delivered to DeWitt Theatre Arts Center, Northwestern College, Orange City. Or prior arrangements may be made to ship or hand-deliver art to arrive by noon on April 20 to Orange City Arts Council, 125 Central Ave. SE, Orange City IA 51041. Contact Orange City Arts Council, or 712.707.4885.
Friday, April 22: Exhibition opens.
Saturday, April 30: 6:00-7:00 p.m.: Artist reception prior to the production of Rabbit Hole.
Saturday, April 30: Exhibition closes. Artists must pick up their artwork between 9:30-10:30 p.m., unless prior arrangement is made. Contact Orange City Arts Council, or 712.707.4885 or 707.6514.

The exhibit will be juried by artists Matthew Drissell of Sioux Center and Linda Porter of Hospers.

Orange City Arts is the sponsor of the exhibit, in conjunction with the Northwestern College art and theatre departments. We appreciate your submission. Please share this Call for Entries with other area artists.

August 10 Onstage OC moved to Unity Knight Center

The SchoolHouse Company show, RADIO GALS, featured at Onstage Orange City August 10, has been moved to Unity Christian Knight Center. More info about the show here.

ARTS on Central!

ORANGE CITY — Arts on Central. It’s the brainchild of Orange City Arts, and is set for Wednesday, August 26 from 5 to 9pm in downtown Orange City.artsOn Arts on Central logo cropped

Orange City Arts is pleased to announce that it has received an Art Project grant for Arts on Central, from the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

IMG_5372 Kat & Dog arts on centralPart of Central Avenue will be blocked off for the summer’s final Onstage Orange City event. “We’ll fill the streets and businesses with artists, musicians, kids’ activities, workshops, food and more,” said Elsa Kooiker, event planner along with Janine Calsbeek of Orange City Arts.

IMG_6362 Lisa Laird summer suites largeKooiker, Calsbeek and the Arts on Central planning committee have found a variety of visual and performing artists… including Mary Jane Davidson of Sioux City, who paints on silk (below right); musicians Kathy Vaughn and Scott Amsberry — “Kat and Dog” (upper left); ventriloquist Lisa Laird (upper right); chalk artist Bradley Smith; artist Emilee Berry (above), and many more. Several of the artists will offer mini workshops, so the public can participate. Visual artists will have work for sale.

The evening also includes a live mannequin contest. Food will be available for purchase, with the Dutch Heritage Boosters offering half-price poffertjes to college students.

Prizes will be awarded, including people’s choice awards.IMG_2928 Mary Jane Davidson summer suites

The evening ends with a concert by the Twin Cities a cappella group, Six Appeal, at 7:45pm.

In addition to the $4,000 grant from the Iowa Arts Council, sponsors of the Onstage Orange City event are the Van Engelenhoven Agency and Orange City Arts.

Artists and participants in the mannequin contest must register by August 10. Email Elsa: or Janine: or get more info/ register at .


VEA 2 color          iac-color-dca