Mt Vernon, IA is the 5th mural in my #50in50project ; the mural itself is located on the Cornell College campus. This piece was completed July 2022 & was a chance opportunity that occurred when another mural location ended up rescheduling last minute.
But enough about the project. Let's talk about why you should plan a visit to Mt Vernon .. ....Iowa?
If you love vacations that include downtown shopping, quiet restaurants, outdoor recreation, and historic landmarks. Mt Vernon is for you. Between the walkable downtown shopping and good coffee (check out Fuel - trust me) you are bound to have a peaceful weekend getaway! Not to mention the best antique store I've been in - to date. Polly Ann's featured above. Rest & Relaxation is not hard to find in Small Town America. One drive through Iowa backroads at sunset with the windows down will confirm that for you. Not to mention a change in landscape if you are from the east or west coast!
If you are anything like me and had never actually been to Iowa(before this trip). Here are some fun facts: Iowa is home to the world's largest strawberry, we have Iowa to thank for sliced bread, there are more hogs chilling in Iowa than people, and Iowa is home to the incredible bike festival Ragbrai - where you can bike and drink your way across the entire state with about 8,000 other humans! Mt Vernon, IA is home to the Chalk the Walk festival and if you are looking to have fun - you should plan your stay around it! I will be visiting for 2023 or 2024 myself!
Iowa is a hidden gem, that I am grateful to have discovered, but Mt Vernon is one of the coolest small towns I've ever been to. Between the Cornell College Public Libray - Cole Library , the historic Kings Chapel, and the recognizable American Gothic Barn. The free-to-visit sites are plentiful...you heard me right, FREE. & as a hobby - photographer myself these locations lend themselves to inspirtion!
That leads me into the selling point for you. Affordability. Let's hear some numbers. Iowa ranks 8th in the country for cheapest gas prices (avg/year-round $3/gal), food in Mt Vernon cost us about $10/person at sit-down restaurants, and finding gifts and unique items while shopping downtown was easily done on a budget of $20-$30 for the trip! If you stay for a night at theBlyth Cottage Inn (where I stayed & would recommend) depending on availability and time of year you would be paying around $97 a night. & that's for an unforgettable experience! If you book a few weeks in advance, you can easily find a stay for $90/night or under on sites like Airbnb & Expedia. If you are into the outdoors and enjoy camping Palisades State Park is your best option. You can stay with full hook-ups for under $20/night or at a cabin for $50-$80/night. I am a little partial to mother nature myself...
Mt Vernon comes alive during Cornell's school-year with students from all around the world. Their campus is a short 0.6mi walk from downtown, the local laundromat, bank, coffee shops, and restaurants. From local parades, Farm Events, and hot air balloons.... You a destined to have a memorable trip.
If you a sucker for road trips to new places, surprising adventures, and friendly small towns Mt Vernon, IA is for you! Mark it on your map here: Mt Vernon Iowa
I finished the final brush strokes 09/28/2022 on mural #6 of the #50in50project ! I am in love with the design we came up with & I can say with certainty that Jordan and I are in love with Gardnerville, NV.
Gardnerville, there are no words to explain how amazing this has been! But I'm going to try anyway.
This has been 9days start-finish. Starting with an incredible first meeting with Jen Nalder (Jen, you're AWESOME!) walking around downtown and learning so much about the history of this area. That first meeting inspired everything from design to last brush strokes & without Jen Nalder and Geoff Lacost from @mainstreetgardnerville.... this piece wouldn't have been possible!
When I arrived, the structure was still being built..... I blinked and it was completed and primmed for me to begin! Thank you to Eric Matus, Geoff, Carson Valley Groundwork, Curtis and Sons, and Erik Nilssen for all of your hard work! Without you this piece literally could not have been completed!
Massive thank you to everyone here in Gardnerville for being so kind and welcoming! Thank you to the amazing owners of The Historian Inn for sponsoring our first few nights! After 40hrs on the road we needed that rest and your hospitality! We are so grateful.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This is not meant to sound like a shout-out post, but it didn't feel right to post the final photos without including the people who really made it happen.
I have felt from the beginning of this project that the relationships and communities were going to be the biggest wow-factor for me, and I am turning out to be right. Beyond what I thought originally! I am so blessed to be able to share my work in this way and to get to know all of you!
P.S. Thank you to my aunt LeAnna for nominating Gardnerville! It started with you!!!
Main Street Gardnerville #thehistorianinngardnerville #nevada #cheyennerenee #gardnervillenevada #50in50project #painting50muralsacrossall50staes
Above you can see the first two murals in my 50-in-50 Project, painted in my hometowns of Covington & Clifton Forge, VA.
The Inspiration for the Covington mural was heavily based on retro Blue Ridge Parkway postcards. Sharp lines with rich color and this very recognizable blue ridge mountain scape. The wall stretches along an alley between the Wells Fargo Bank and the Alleghany Foundation. It is within walking and viewing distance of the Covington Farmers Market open Spring - Fall. It took me a total of 3 painting days, about 5hrs each, with a few changes to color and the subject matter. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to paint in Downtown Covington, and a huge thanks goes out to Mary Donnan with the Alleghany Foundation for initially mentioning the location to me!!
CFSOTA- Clifton Forge School Of The Arts
The mural in Clifton was discussed a few separate times with the school of the arts. They had thrown around the idea of an interactive mural of bold butterfly wings that could be posed in front of. After the initial mock-ups and viewing some of my other pieces they decided they definitely wanted to see a landscape in the painting as well and we went with a design that allows some interaction still but can stand alone as a viewing piece! The mural sits between one of the schools' workshops and their main garden area located across from the Clifton Forge Ampitheater. This project only took about 4-5 days of painting but was stretched out over the course of Feb. and March due to weather. I could not have asked for better people to work for on the Clifton placement and I am grateful for their patience throughout the project! It is by far one of the most fun paintings I've done in the past few years!! You can enjoy the piece on any given day via the Smith Creek Hiking Trail or walking by the school. Throughout the year CFSOTA host a number of events that would allow direct access to the mural as well, such as: The Kris Kindle Market, The May Fair, and quite a few kids programs throughout the summer months.
Thanks again to everyone who made these two paintings possible! I couldn't have done it without you!