American artist Grant Wood is a native of Iowa, and his home state has embraced his art and his memory. Perhaps best known for “American Gothic,” Wood had a knack for capturing the essence of rural life. Traveling through Iowa, there are several places where enthusiasts can learn more about this folk artist and his life. You can follow Grant Wood’s trail through Iowa in these places:
- Grant Wood Studio, Cedar Rapids: See where Grant Wood created many of his famous pieces of art, in his studio/apartment in downtown Cedar Rapids. Here you can learn how he got his start, how he spent his time when not painting, and about his family life while standing in the same sunlight he used while painting his famous works.
- Stone City, Iowa: The painting was named after the city, and if you drive slowly while approaching Stone City from the southwest, you can see Stone City as Grant Wood depicted it. Today the tiny town honors Grant Wood with a replica of the American Gothic House where you can pose for your own photo. Grant Wood also started an art colony and school in Stone City.
- Grant Wood Art Festival, Anamosa: The city where Grant Wood was born honors its native son with an art festival each June, and the Grant Wood Art Gallery offers another look at the local artist.
- Art Museums: The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art boasts the largest collection of Grant Wood art in the world, but other pieces can be found in art museums in Dubuque and Davenport as well. (If you want to see American Gothic, you’ll have to drive out of state to its home at the Art Institute of Chicago.)
- American Gothic House Center, Eldon: The house that inspired American Gothic is still standing in the small town of Eldon, Iowa, and a museum provides more information about Grant Wood as well as free loans of costumes and a pitchfork if you want to be featured in your own American Gothic photo.
To learn more about Grant Wood, see the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art’s Grant Wood Trail page.
Photos courtesy of the author.
Linda (minnemom) writes about family travel
at Travels with Children.