Silo mural wins statewide award

Travel group honors massive artwork

The towering figures painted on an old grain elevator in Fort Dodge catch the attention of anyone who goes by them.

Now that mural has caught the attention of a statewide travel industry group as well

The grain silo mural along Hawkeye Avenue at the southwestern entrance to Loomis Park has been given the 2024 Arts, Culture and Heritage Award by the Iowa Travel Industry Partners.

“It’s a beautiful art piece for anywhere, but you just don’t expect to see it in a community of our size,” said Kerrie Kuiper, the executive director of Visit Fort Dodge.

She said the mural is “getting a lot of attention from travel writers, content creators and the public.” It is not unusual, she said, to drive by the silos and see people there looking at the mural.

Artist Guido van Helten completed the mural on the 110-foot-tall silos in 2018. His artwork features life-like images of five Fort Dodge residents holding pieces of pottery from the Fort Museum and Frontier Village. It wraps all the way around the silos.

The mural was paid for entirely with donations.

Kuiper said she believes people are impressed by the artwork’s immense size and its realism.

“The people look like they can walk off the silo,” she said.

She recalled talking to a visitor from Omaha, Nebraska, who commented on how realistic the figures looked and added that their hands appeared to be perfect.

Getting an Iowa Travel Industry Partners award is a significant accomplishment, according to Kuiper.

“There’s usually pretty stiff competition for those,” she said.


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