Current Exhibitions

Handmade Craft Invitational

June 2, 2018 - September 9, 2018

Handmade Craft Invitational

The Handmade Craft Invitational includes works by a select group of regionally-based craftspeople working in ceramic, wood, metal, glass, leather, and fiber arts. The more than 65 original works on display push the boundaries of skill, sophistication, and artistic concept, with an emphasis on functional works and utilitarian objects.

The exhibition – the first regional survey of contemporary craft organized by DUMA – is also intended to bring greater recognition to craft artists at a time when there is a broad resurgence of interest in skill and craftsmanship. The Craft Invitational compliments the DUMA Biennial, which takes place every other year and generally highlights traditional fine art media such as painting, sculpture, and photography.

DUMA Associate Curator and Registrar Stacy Peterson organized Handmade with the assistance of ceramic artist Delores Fortuna and textile artist Maureen Bardusk, both of Galena, Illinois; and boot maker Paul Opperman of Dubuque. Special thanks to Heidi Austreng, Program Coordinator of the Smithsonian Craft Show, for her guidance on the exhibition. Thank you also to our sponsors Premier Bank, McGraw Hill, and Humanities Iowa.

“With this exhibition, the museum was interested in exploring functional craft – objects that have artistic conception as well as a practical and physical purpose,” said Peterson. “Handmade underscores the variety of accessible art forms that can easily be incorporated into daily life.” Peterson added, “We will also explore the life of an object, from the creation process to how the object goes from maker to user to collector. Living with art is possible in many ways that are familiar, fun, and enriching.”

Many of the 23 craft artists featured in Handmade are represented by galleries and have been shown in leading fine art and craft fairs and juried exhibitions. At least ten craft artists have been selected for inclusion in the prestigious Smithsonian Craft Show and Craft2Wear.

Exhibiting artists (place of permanent residence) include:

  • Barbara Briggs (Hanover, Illinois)
  • Ann Marie Cianciolo (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Paul Eshelman (Elizabeth, Illinois)
  • Mary Frisbee Johnson (Oregon; formerly Cedar Falls, Iowa)
  • Amara Hark Weber (St Paul, Minnesota)
  • Robin Kittleson (Geneva, Illinois)
  • Aaron Laux (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • Patricia Lehnhardt (Galena, Illinois)
  • George Lowe (Decorah, Iowa)
  • Aaron Macsai (Morton Grove, Illinois)
  • Kelly Marshall (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Elisabeth Maurland (Decorah, Iowa)
  • J. P. Miller (Fairbank, Iowa)
  • Martha Monson Lowe (Decorah, Iowa)
  • Karen Morris (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Barry Newstat (Western Springs, Illinois)
  • Paul Opperman (Dubuque, Iowa)
  • Susan Otterson (Janesville, Wisconsin)
  • Gina Pannorfi (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Luke Proctor (Mt Horeb, Wisconsin)
  • Connie Roberts (Iowa City, Iowa)
  • Sam Schold (Sherrard, Illinois)
  • Trish Stevenson (Black Earth, Wisconsin)
  • Laura Weber (Cedarburg, Wisconsin)


Lost in the Midwest

May 26, 2018 - September 9, 2018

SANDRA DYAS Lost in the Midwest

With an eye for the strange and beautiful, artist Sandra Dyas presents an immersive experience in her latest series of photographs documenting people and places in Lost in the Midwest, a visual diary of contemporary Midwest life embellished with a sense of nostalgia. Dyas looks closely at the Midwest’s cultural landscape and the complexity of living here, with the intent of showing what is present and what is slowly vanishing.

Dyas is an intense observer and often finds that she becomes fully absorbed by her subjects, lost in the places and the lives of the people in the images. Popping colors, timeless details, and sensitive portraits define her best known works in the exhibition. Presented with dozens of new images, Lost in the Midwest continues to grow and evolve over time while maintaining a palpable intimacy and familiarity.

Sandra Dyas is a Lecturer in Art at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where she teaches photography, performance art, and video. She was raised on an eastern Iowa farm in rural Jackson County and has lived in Iowa City for over 30 years. Sandra received her MFA in Intermedia from the University of Iowa. In 2007, the University of Iowa Press published her first book of photographs, Down to the River; Portraits of Iowa Musicians. She subsequently self-published two books available through, my eyes are not shut, 2012 and Lost in the Midwest, 2016. She has exhibited extensively at galleries and museums regionally and nationally. As a freelance photographer her work has been seen in the New York Times, Vogue, People, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, and Redhouse Records.