You might not expect a world-renowned Australian artist to have his work displayed in Fort Dodge, Iowa - but that's exactly the reality. In fact, Guido van Helten's work is not displayed in some museum or art gallery - that's too predictable. Instead, it's displayed on something that is very familiar to the landscape of Iowa.
Guido van Helten has turned the sides of aging 110 foot tall concrete grain silos into a masterpiece that is now the tallest mural in the entire state. Fort Dodge commissioned van Helten to complete the project in late 2018 and they paid him over $132,000, through grants and donations, to do so. It took him over a month to complete the 360 degree wrap-around project. The images are of all local residents.
On a recent Saturday, I made a stop in Fort Dodge to check it out. Located in an industrial area near the Des Moines River and a small city park, it's truly a striking addition to the neighborhood.
You truly do have to see it for yourself to really appreciate it. Even though it was snowy, windy, and cold, I walked all the way around it. Literally every side of it is beautiful. It's really quite astonishing.
The piece has not been finished very long, but I hope the community adds to the project by having something nearby where visitors can learn more about the silos, the artist, and the process of getting it completed. Maybe they could have a guest book too, because I believe people would travel from all over just to see this. It is not something you would see anywhere else - that's for sure. This is a real feather in the cap for Fort Dodge. I hope to come back sometime when it's not so cold, so I can appreciate it without the fear of getting frostbite.