Big Grove brewing up local art

Big Grove will host its first mini art festival this weekend, inviting 12 different artists and poets to show off their art.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben A

Big Grove Brewery & Taproom is seen on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Naomi Hofferber, Senior Reporter

Big Grove Brewery is putting local art on tap this weekend, hosting their first mini art festival Jan. 26 at 3 p.m.

Ophelia Flores-Carr, the marketing and design assistant for Big Grove, is a former University of Iowa art student who became inspired to host the mini festival after seeing another brewery host a large scale one.

“I was like, ‘you know what? Big Grove has this huge space, I just want to give artists this space to create,” she said. “I also feel like a lot of people don’t know what happens inside the studio.”

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The mini art festival will feature 12 different artists whose crafts range from jewelry-making to metalwork, painting, and poetry. The artists, rather than simply showcasing their work, will show the creation of it as well, inviting attendees to ask questions as they go.

“I think that a lot of people don’t realize that art is problem solving,” Flores-Carr said. “I think a lot of times people don’t understand that, especially because they’re not seeing the process. It is a hands-on thing, no matter what kind of art you’re doing, it’s hands on.”

Flores-Carr said she is hoping to have a large turnout, and especially encourages younger crowds to come out and see that art can be a viable occupation.

Participating in the event are poets Aiden Spurgetis, Ruth Thomas, Katherine Hirsch, Claudé Clark, Charlie Hall, and Nancy Nahra from IC Speaks, a local program that aims to bring together young writers and performers in Iowa City.

Caleb Rainey, the director of IC Speaks, said that when Flores-Carr reached out to them, it made sense to showcase the young writers in the community.

“Having a platform for poetry is vital to both the writers and the community,” he said. “Poets have all of these emotions and thoughts building up inside of them and sometimes the only way to really feel whole is to share those with someone else.”

Rainey said that by sharing work, a human connection is created.

“The artist speaks their truth and the world listens, and in times like these, we all need more truth and more listening,” he said. “Connection is how we grow.”

Attending the festival with her physical art is Tracy Titus, a local artist who creates under the name of Peaceworks. While she works across various media, Titus will be bringing her jewelry expertise to the market, creating bracelets with leather cord and beads.

“I’ve been doing (art) all my life,” she said. “I’ve actually started making my own buttons out of metal clay now, they’re pretty cool. I’ve been learning some metal working.”

Titus has attended four other local art festivals this past year, and said she hopes to add more shows this year.

“I think (the festival) was a great thing to start and I hope it turns into something bigger,” she said. “I think it will be interesting for people to see how artists create.”