second glance A look back at the weekend in the tri-states

Artists make quick work of their projects during Art Slam.

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Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 12:00 am

Art Slam at Voices from the Warehouse District was a bit like a moving painting Saturday night.

The space was sparse with people as eight teams began their mission: to create a painting based on a theme in 90 minutes.

But as the easels filled in, so did the warehouse.

More than 300 people mingled and marveled at the artists' quick work, waiting to see who would win the night's two $1,000 prizes.

"It's very compelling to watch the creative process unfold and to watch a blank canvas go through conceptual changes," said Sam Mulgrew, a member of the Voices committee. "There's a lot of adrenaline since money is on the table."

This was the second time Art Slam has been a part of Voices. The theme this year was "Rust Belt Decadence."

"It's kind of a spin on factory belt and how the economy's changed, and how that might be interpreted aesthetically," Mulgrew said.

As music pumped, the crowd circled the eight easels, eyes occasionally flitting to the timer's glaring red numbers.

Four teams were made of college students, from Clarke University, Loras College, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and St. Ambrose University, and four were professionals.

Amanda Fuller won the professional category with her painting of a fox and raven dancing amid a dark forest-like atmosphere.

"The only decadence in the Rust Belt is green things coming back," Fuller said. "That was the decadence happening -- the animals we kicked out coming back in."

The UW-Platteville team, made up of Laura Grotjan, Michael Ward and Christina Harris, won the student division with a painting that depicted tree roots growing into a machine, then blooming into leaves.

"It's dealing with the idea of revitalization and areas that are part of the Rust Belt," Grotjan said. "It transforms into something natural."

The People's Choice Awards went to Clarke University and Will Purcell.

The event was sponsored by Premier Bank and the Dubuque Museum of Art.

Legacies event

About 350 people took part in the Linwood Legacies Living History and Trolley Tour Saturday and Sunday at Linwood Cemetery.

The event featured local actors playing the roles of prominent Dubuque citizens buried in Linwood, including Mathias Ham, A.Y. McDonald, Richard Bissell and more.

"I think that folks in Dubuque are very interested in their history," said Lenore Howard, who co-directed the event with Colin Muenster. "Folks that are buried in Linwood Cemetery are part of that history, and to bring them alive ... is a very engaging way to get folks into history."

This was the most extensive tour at Linwood in years, said Tim Butler, a board member with the Linwood Cemetery Association.

"We're delighted with the response," Butler said. "People seemed to enjoy the living history, and of course we had gorgeous weather.

Howard played Mary Newbury Adams, while her husband played Mary's husband, Judge Austin.

"We all tried to engage people in it," Howard said. "We tried to keep them involved. It wasn't just a resuscitation of facts, although we certainly got information in there. We were trying to have a conversation with people."

The event was sponsored by the Linwood Cemetery Association.

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