Iowans know of Grant Wood as an Iowa “son” and many know the significance of his art. Much of his legacy reflects his rural farm background near Anamosa and the love of the land and the people of this State. As a farm boy he did all of the chores that were required and filled his spare time drawing pictures and tinkering. Like farmers, artists and other professions, they each have a special language of their own, along with unique “tools of the trade” related to their profession.
The farmer has the implements required for farming and in the case of Grant Wood – his “tools of the trade” and toolbox became an artist’s palate, paint brushes and a wide variety of paint types and colors. With this toolkit he prepared and presented some of the most beautiful images of our Iowa landscape and countryside. These images remain with us today on canvass – his legacy for all of us.
The rural property owner and farmer have a totally different toolbox in working the very same landscape and countryside that Grant Wood painted. Their toolbox consists or farm equipment, tractors, livestock and tools to make all of them work in producing the agricultural products that we all enjoy.
How each landowner and / or farmer deals with that landscape tends to be somewhat different. We are all hopeful, that the legacy they leave is that of a beautiful countryside. The image as that seen by Grant Wood. It is their choice and most of them have the desire to leave the land in better condition than they received it. They are also concerned with leaving a beautiful and attractive legacy for future landowners and farmers and the public.
Providing some additional tools to the property owner and farmer is the goal of Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB). KIB is developing a guide with tools that can be helpful to every farmer and rural landowner in keeping their property clean and attractive. This guide ranges from land restoration assistance, tree and prairie plantings, guidance on the technology of farming that will enhance the property, to improvements of waterways , wetland development and water quality management along with a wide range of ideas and tips for beautification and other improvements.
A cleaner and more attractive Iowa is not only important to the landowner but in addition has economic and cultural values. Those values include raising pride and a renewed respect for the land, decreasing blighted areas that have a negative impact on land value, enhancing the environment and natural resources, providing a basis for education and service learning, encourages entrepreneurial development and enhances rural tourism, increases recycling and reduction in waste and provides a renewed connection to the land by absentee land owners.
The assembled “Rural Beautification Guide” is one that landowners, rural residents and farmers can utilize to increase the beauty and effectiveness of their property and the countryside around them for future generations. These tools will help property owners and farmers leave a Grant Wood countryside.
This guide is available on our web page to rural residents and property owners providing them with another set of tools expanding their toolbox and helping to make Iowa the cleanest and most attractive State in the nation. That is a legacy of pride and respect for the place where we live, work and play – a Grant Wood Image!