Dutcher appointed to Iowa Arts Council
‘I am pumped about the potential’
Jennifer Dutcher, a Fort Dodge native, has been instructing art in some capacity for almost 20 years.
Dutcher, visual arts coordinator at Iowa Central Community College, will now look to use that experience to represent the Fort Dodge region at the state level.
Dutcher has been appointed to the Iowa Arts Council, an agency designed to “empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by cultivating creativity, learning and participation in the arts.” She was informed of the appointment on Oct. 7.
“I am just really excited about the opportunity to serve as a voice for our region and I just think a lot of amazing things are happening in our region,” said Dutcher, a 1997 St. Edmond High School graduate. “I am pumped about the potential, so this will be a really great way for me to serve as a voice for our community in terms of the art.”
Dutcher holds a Bachelor of Arts in visual art, art history and art education from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She earned her master’s degree in art education in 2004, also from Iowa.
It was in Iowa City where Dutcher was able to decide the right path for her.
“Initially I wanted to be a graphic designer and was taking courses in graphic design and while I loved them, I quickly learned that at the University of Iowa I liked too many other things also,” she said. “Art education allowed me to work with so many different types of mediums it seemed like a much better fit for me. I wanted to do a little of everything.”
After her education, Dutcher taught at Iowa before later teaching art in kindergarten through 12th grade in Arizona.
She has extensive experience working in museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.
“I’ve always done art education just in different ways and and with different age groups also,” Dutcher said.
She moved back to Fort Dodge in 2010. Around that time she worked at Fort Dodge Senior High School for four years before taking a position at Iowa Central in 2014.
One visible project Dutcher was involved with can be seen inside the DART bus station at Central Avenue and South Ninth Street. In 2015, Dutcher’s students painted a mural as part of a service learning project. The mural was inspired by Vincent van Gough’s painting “The Starry Night.”
Dutcher has experience in the following mediums: printmaking, ceramics, painting, drawing, illustration, graphic design, and fibers. She has work in various private collections across the U.S. and Canada.
“I just think I’m drawn to the creative experience no matter what way you want to look at, whether it’s the act of creating something or learning about creating something,” Dutcher said. “Teaching, especially at Iowa Central, allowed me to use a variety of mediums. I didn’t have to have an area of emphasis. I can teach a drawing class, a graphic design class, or art history, which is what I truly love. I just like so many different aspects of the visual art. Art education allowed me to explore areas that I just could not otherwise do in any other area of study.”
Dutcher currently serves on the Fort Dodge Public Art Commission and the Blanden Memorial Art Museum board.
As a member of the Iowa Arts Council, Dutcher will be able to help create opportunities for others and encourage participation in the arts.
“They offer grants — they also serve as a platform for artists,” she said. “A lot of entities go to the Iowa Arts Council when they are looking for an artist to complete a project. Networking is a huge part of what they do.”
Dutcher said she takes pride in being from Fort Dodge.
“I have lived many places and ultimately I think Fort Dodge is a strong community that I’m proud to belong to,” she said. “I think we have great people and a lot of positive things are happening. What’s most exciting is the potential that is here.”